04.09.12 1:31 PM ET
Association with Kate Middleton Costs London Jewelers Over $10m
Most brands have found that having Kate Middelton wear their products produces a rush of orders now known in fashion circles as 'the Kate effect', but British jeweler Links of London says that being one of Kate's chosen brands has actually cost them around £8.2m in revenue over the past year.
Links of London, whose £275 topaz Hope earrings were worn by the Duchess for her official engagement photos with Prince William, has fallen victim to hundreds of websites selling counterfeit copies of its products, according to a report in this weekend's (paywalled) UK Sunday Times.
Caroline Rolfe, Links of London's head of online sales, said, "The counterfeiters were a lot cleverer than we were at the time of the wedding. We didn't have that much stock so we started to sell out quite quickly ... The counterfeiters took advantage of that by saying they had stock and people were duped into buying them."
Links of London estimates that it has lost about £8.2 million of sales to the counterfeiters in the past year. The company has now hired an online brand-protection company, which has so far closed 1026 fake websites.