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Retail: Kmart blasted by small business owner in TikTok rant

A small business owner has lashed out at Kmart for “copying” her idea for Christmas-themed pool inflatables.

Mollie White from the White Christmas Co said she had the idea to create Christmas-themed pool floaties back in 2021.

Ms White took to TikTok to launch a spray at the retail giant after noticing they were selling a very similar product but at a cut-down price.

“Kmart just copied our unique Christmas product idea but I’m not going to let it get me down,” she said in a video which has now been viewed more than 60,000 times.

Ms White says she spent “months and months” researching quality manufacturers for her idea so the floaties would last for many holiday seasons.

“When I researched whether our pool floaties could be successful in 2021, no other business in Australia produced Christmas-themed pool floaties,” Ms White told NCA NewsWire.

The White Christmas Co began selling their festive inflatables in 2022.

“They are absolutely perfect, everything I envisaged them to be,” Ms White says in the video.

The White Christmas Co’s reindeer and gingerbread-themed pool floaties are currently listed for sale at a pricey $99.95 each.

Kmart’s offering comes in at a far cheaper $19.

“It is impossible for small businesses to compete with Kmart when it comes to prices, but it’s important that we realise the value small business bring our customers in terms of new products and their quality,” Ms White told NCA NewsWire.

“It’s tough as a small-business owner, but it’s important to power through and not give up.”

Ms White went on to say she did not have any lingering bad feelings towards Kmart, saying it was “frustrating” they had released a similar product but “expected”.

Despite Ms White’s claims that Kmart “definitely didn’t have them last Christmas”, it’s not clear when Kmart first listed their version of the pool toys.

It is understood the retail giant has sold pool floats in a similar shape for six years, starting with a unicorn, but whether they launched the reindeer before or after the White Christmas Co is unknown.

There was a divided response to Ms White’s video on TikTok.

Some commenters doubted her claims the themed inflatables were her idea.

“Christmas pool floaties have been around for years, please don’t say you ‘invented’ them last year,” one person wrote in g response to the video.

“You can’t be serious that you think it was unique? Google it, there are loads of places sell them,” another said.

Others people were more supportive of Ms White and her products.

“Happy to support small businesses and heading to your website now!” one enthusiastic customer wrote.

With a sweltering Christmas season forecast, festive pool inflatables could soon be in very high demand regardless of whose idea they were.