Filthy but Gorgeous owner Tina Winters has been contacted by E L James’ lawyers after announcing her intention to launch the UK’s first Fifty Shades of Grey parties, targeting the over 30’s market.
The Midland mum, who was inspired by the author’s bestselling ‘mummy porn’ novels, planned to use the concept to showcase her online store’s mix of lingerie and fetish wear.
However, she got into a bit of a bind after being contacted by Fifty Shades author EL James lawyers, a fortnight ago, who demanded that she call a halt to her party planning and remove any references to the book on her website.
Winters, 45, told the Sunday Mercury: “It’s unbelievable… This book has gone all round the world. Everyone has been using the book title to sell lingerie, fashion, catwalk shows, you name it.. yet I’m the one who gets a letter.
“I find it quite bizarre. I’ve told them that I only run a small business in the Midlands, and I don’t know why they have chosen to write to me. It’s like a battle between David and Goliath.
“You would think the author would be pleased with all the publicity. That’s what has made the book so successful in the first place.”
Author E.L James and her agent, Val Hoskins, signed a deal earlier this year with independent agency Caroline Mickler Ltd to license and build the brand.
Products covered in the deal include lingerie, cosmetics, apparel and fragrances, primarily targeted at adult women.
Valerie Hoskins told the paper that Winters was not the only individual to be contacted and that multiple firms around the world had been contacted regarding their use of the book’s name to launch products and services.
She said: “We’re sending letters out every day. This isn’t personal to Ms Winters.
“That’s what happens with brands that become big. You can’t just hijack something that someone else owns and use it for your own commercial adventures. She wouldn’t do it with Coca-Cola.
“We admire her entrepreneurship. If she wants to apply for an official licence then we are happy to discuss this with her. Our trademark application is moving through the various stages.”
Winters reportedly identifies with the book’s heroine, Anastasia, having once had an older love who dominated her – and was not dissimilar to the story’s main protagonist, Christian Grey.