French Company ‘Bilum’ Responds
Many of you have emailed me and commented on Tubuans & Dukduks about a piece I wrote in February this year regarding the French company ‘Bilum’ and their trademark of the Papua New Guinean word bilum. The piece caused a bit of a stir on the PNG blogging scene and the story was eventually picked up by Radio Australia’s In the Loop Program which resulted with an interview.
Finally in May, I received a response from Helene de La Moureyre, founder and owner of Bilum concerning the article. That response is outlined below:
I’m sorry to reply so late but I wanted to take the time for it, because it is very important for you, and for me.
My activity is pretty small. We are only 3 people and had a lot of work this last month.
I never wanted to steal the know-how and the word bilum to the NPG (she means PNG*) culture.
I use recycled advertising banners and car seatbelts to make my bags, which are completely different from NPG string bags.
I do not copy the NPG method of weaving.
So, there is no risk of confusion between my bags and NPG bags.
Furthermore, the word BILUM is a valid French trademark which was registered by the French Intellectual Property Registry in august 2005.
« bilum » is a brand name, an it will never be the name of any french bag.
Let me explain you our spirit :
Our signature is « unical – ethical – ecological ».
– Unical because each bag is made from a special part of recuperated huge advertising banner. So the apparence of each bag is very different.
– Ethical because they are made in special centers working with disabled people, or people with social troubles, to give them an opportunity to have a job and earn their life.
– Ecological because instead of wasting energy to produce fabric, we use banners which would be burned otherwise, and seat belt from broken cars, to carry the bag. Everything is made around Paris to avoid burning petrol for the transport. The banners are handly washed with eco friendly soap.
Here are our valours and convictions, I’m really sorry if there was any misanderstanding about that.
As you may know, I first received an email from Rick Brittain, who, first, reacted negativly to the use of the word bilum. We had a chance to meet each other. He understood my approach and integrity. We exchanged some NPG bags and my bags. I was very happy, a few weeks later, when I received some pictures of NPG’s women bags workers wearing my parisian bags. I thank them once again for the beautiful bags they offered me.
I hope, with this letter, having given you some ideas of the bilum’s brand spirit.
Hoping to hear from you soon
Helene de La Moureyre