IMPORTANT: How I Got in Trouble on Ebay for using, “shabby chic style”


We all know the style of furniture and accents we like.  Some like Country French, Victorian, Cottage, Shabby Elegance, French Provincial, Modern, Eclectic OR *Shabby Chic (name trademarked).  I have an ebay store that specializes in shabby elegance (new term for *shabby chic- “Comfy Cottage Gifts”.  I own a boutique called Simply Shabby Elegant and a wholesale company called Cozy Cottage Wholesale.  I have always used the term shabby chic as a style along with millions of internet users.

Shabby Chic not to be used on Ebay

I had the cutest distressed white corner cabinet with a title of, ” New Shabby Chic Distressed White Corner Cabinet”.  Out of no where, my item was taken off of ebay and my compliance level for my store was dropped from excellent to moderate due to a violation of trade marked use.  Ebay said it wasn’t them that had a problem with it, but for me to contact Rachel Ashwell at Shabby Chic website.  This is who insisted that “her” name could not be used.  What?  I received this huge document telling me how I violated her trademark name”shabbychic”.  Trademarked? Yes indeed she has a trademark on Shabby Chic. Now everyone is using Shabby Elegance and you will find tons of this style under a google search.

I fought this and got no where.  Ebay listed Shabby Chic in a drop down menu for styles of furnishings.  Yes!  I asked them how they could penalize me but use the term themselves as an option.  They could never give me a straight answer except they were working on it.  I just wanted everyone to be aware of this.  I have know of people who named their store with Shabby Chic as part of the name and were doing great.  I see now how they are having to remove shabby chic.  There is so much of it out there it will take forever to get this done, however just be aware as it could be your store that gets the notice.

Shabby Chic Trademarked

This is taken from the official Shabby Chic website: “All names, logos, images, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, brand identities, characters, and graphics appearing in this site, except as otherwise noted, are protected intellectual property of, or used with permission or under license by, SCB. In particular, “Shabby Chic,” “Simply Shabby Chic,” and “Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture” are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of SCB. All trademarks appearing on the Website are the property of their respective owners. Nothing contained on the Website should be construed as granting, by implication or otherwise, any license or right to use any of SCB’s trademarks, service marks or trade dress, and our trademarks, service marks and trade dress may not be used in any manner for any purpose without our express written consent in each instance. You are also advised that the SCB will aggressively enforce its intellectual property rights to the fullest extent of the law, including criminal prosecution, for any violation of the above.” This is just part of a long terms -of-use-Racel Ashwell Shabby Chic @ this URL  :  The official site home page is :

Wikipedia definition of Shabby Chic

Now, look at this definition, courtesy of Wikipedia, “Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their age and signs of wear and tear or new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, minimalistic, and feminine feel is emphasized to differentiate it from regular vintage decor; hence the “chic” in the name.

Shabby chic items are often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through obviously time-worn areas. The style is imitated in faux painting using glaze or by painting then rubbing and sanding away the top coat to show the wood or base coats. Fabrics tend to be cottons and linens, with linen being particularly popular, inspired by old French linens. Whites and worn or bleached out pastels are favorite colours. Fabric is often stained with tea to give it the look of old fabric. Bleached and faded are terms often applied to the style.

The essence of today’s shabby chic style is vintage and antique furniture with the original aged paint, or painted white (or another soft pastel color) and distressed at the corners by sanding.

Popular decor items are pillows made of vintage barkcloth fabric, vintage linens, chenille bedspreads, vintage chandeliers, and anything with roses on it. It is a soft, relaxed feminine romantic way of decorating that looks comfortable and inviting. Also called cottage style.

The style started in Great Britain and evokes the type of decoration found in large country houses where there are worn and faded old chintz sofas and curtains, old paintwork and unassuming ‘good’ taste. The end result of shabby chic is to achieve an elegant overall effect, as opposed to the sentimentally cute Pop-Victorian. Recycling old furniture and fabrics is an important aspect of the look and was especially popular with modern Bohemians and artisans that made up a sidelined counter-culture movement during the 1980s when expensive quality decor became very fashionable with the upper middle classes. The original shabby chic interiors were usually considered in themselves works of art.

The early forms of shabby chic were rather grand but the style has evolved taking inspiration from many forms of decoration. These range from 18th century Swedish painted decoration, the French Chateau as well as the American Shakers where simplicity and plainness was essential”…Wikipedia

Sounds like the style has been around for a while, huh?  Confused? Yes me too.

This blog was just for some information, especially for anyone having a store with the name Shabby Chic in it.  I know everyone will say it is all over the internet and I agree.  I just wanted to give you a heads up due to my experience of using the term”shabby chic style”.  If you look at Google keywords, Shabby Elegance is equal to that of Shabby Chic  in terms of search. This is due to the movement from shabby chic to shabby elegance due to the trademark.  When you are searching, you might try shabby elegance along with shabby chic.

Oh yeah, you might not want to use Shabby Elegance in the name of your store or items as I am trademarking “Shabby Elegance” tomorrow. lol   Maybe I will trademark , Cottage Style and Victorian Style tomorrow.  Check with me and I will let you know when they are registered. lol

Please know that I do know and understand trademark names and respect them.  It is just difficult to think of the style “shabby chic” as being trademarked, especially after all the definitions of it like in Wikipedia.

Come visit our store, Simply Shabby Elegant and browse awhile. We have video’s , blogs and even decorating tips.

Thanks guys for letting me rant and talk in circles as even I am confused on where I am headed now.  Have a great day.  Remember no one can make you feel bad but yourself.  It is all in our reaction and perceptions.  No more, “You made me…”.  Now you could say, ” I felt bad when you said”.  It is amazing how free one can feel when we realize how important our self talk is to our perceptions.

Be good to yourself today and have an amazing afternoon!


Cozy Cottage WholesaleCozy Cottage Drop Shipping and Simply Shabby Elegant



13 thoughts on “IMPORTANT: How I Got in Trouble on Ebay for using, “shabby chic style”

  1. Thank you for a superb summary of the whole ‘shabby chic’ farce.
    I had 60+ items removed from eBay with absolutely no warning – in fact when the message came through I thought it was a prankster …. I mean how ridiculous …. surely no one can trademark a style???
    I’m a Top-rated seller on eBay and have had an eBay Advisor assigned to me to help me get the most out of eBay and she had recommended that I emphasise ‘shabby chic’ more in my listings just five days before this happened …. grrrr!
    The term ‘Shabby Elegance’ is a superior alternative and suits your beautiful style!
    Kind regards

    • When I started trading in 1984 I heard the term “shabby genteel” to describe worn, faded, distressed antiques which were becoming trendy to buy instead of the extremely expensive perfect examples. Rachel Ashwell had the bright idea of calling “shabby genteel” the more positive “Shabby Chic” and to trademark it; with her unapologetic term attached, the trend took off and went global. It was her idea. You might like humming “Yesterday” but Lennon and McCartney wrote it; Paul and Yoko have the rights and get the money. That is fair.
      I found this page because I noticed eBay are using the term in “Item Specifics” and was wondering whether they had a deal with Ashwell. Maybe I should not use it.

    • Lesa, you sound so nice and i am so sorry this happened to you! Thank you for letting us all know about this!! I think rachel is ridiculous!! and also greedy! How sad for her when all of the craft world ( millions of people) find out about this!! she will not be in business much longer!! I will talk about this on every bit of social media to get the word out about her trademarking shabby chic!!! Shame on you rachel we have been using that description for years!!! Lesa i will buy from you from now on and also spread the word to check out your stores!!! I am going on them now. JUST CHANGE THE SPELLING TO SHABBIE CHIC! IT WILL CATCH ON!!

  2. The irony is that a lamp company trademarked the term in 1998 according to a trademarking website. Hope they sue Rachel Ashwell and the bureaucrate that approved her trademark application.

  3. Sorry I find this hilarious I think the deluded woman is causing a bad name for herself, think she should take her head from her arse and stop thinking she is something special, the queen doesn’t go round trademarking her wave or title does she. I didn’t realise Shabby chic was registered to her and don’t think it should of been allowed anyway! I have a company selling similar so will tread carefully Thanks for the heads up!

  4. So I am searching around for a name for my company and to my shock I find this. I also will have similar content as I love that style and that is what it is. It’s a style. How is the hell did it ever get trademarked? Can anyone just trademark anything? That is the real issue. She was allowed to take something public which she did not come up with and make it her own.

  5. I have just had an item taken off a preloved advert (in the uk) for calling it shabby chic. I’m furious and will be using the phrase now wherever i can, on twitter, facebook and where ever else loud and clear. And I look forward to receiving pages from her lawyers. I personally think she would be hard pushed to take you to court over it. She has lots of money and that is why she is scaring everyone.

    • Did anything get resolved from this? This is news to me. She seems like she needs to be “shabby chicing” versus stalking people. She has too much time on her hands.

  6. I wish there was an eBay alternative. I can’t stand their stupid rules and lack of help. I cannot sell on there because I m associated with some man I have never heard of. I have a used computer so I guess it’s from that. When I call I cannot get any help. I’m associated with some old seller and I just need to accept it and go away.

  7. Everyone try this instead; Shabby ‘WORD-OF-CHOICE chic. So ‘Shabby French chic’ or ‘Shabby Victorian chic’ or ‘Shabby Shaker chic’. Note the ‘chic’ is in small letters. Putting a word between like this seems to work on preloved. Haven’t tried ‘Chic’ with a capital but may also work.
    If anyone is willing to try this on eBay let us know.
    With you Linda – use Shabby Chic in conversations in your blogs etc.
    Hope someone will apply for the Trademark to be invalidated using the grounds that Shabby Chic
    ‘has become customary in your line of trade’ to

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