Artist accuses Anthropologie of stealing her mug design

An artist is accusing Anthropologie of ripping off her pottery designs after noticing that the retailer was advertising similar-looking heart-shaped mugs on its site.

Anna Sistrunk, an Anthropologie employee and an artist who runs a small handmade ceramics shop called Ivy Patch Cat, launched her brand’s Instagram page in June 2021. 

Although Sistrunk first showcased her heart-shaped mugs on Ivy Patch Cat’s Instagram in September 2021, she posted the product on her own public profile as early as January 2021.

In a recent TikTok, Sistrunk claimed to have noticed that Anthropologie was selling a mug that was very similar to one of her favorite original pieces in terms of design and color scheme. 

“Last year, Ivy Patch Cat Pottery — which is one of my art lines — came out with these heart mugs,” Sistrunk said. “They were a huge success; I was obsessed with them.”

“They were an original design by me. I was super excited because even though it seems like a really simple concept, I just had never seen anyone do something like this,” Sistrunk continued. “Today it all came to a crash when I saw this.”

Sistrunk then showed a screenshot of an iPhone camera roll with a row of three photos of her heart-shaped mugs followed by screenshots of two heart-shaped mugs listed on Anthropologie’s website.

As of reporting, there are no heart-shaped mugs listed on Anthropologie’s website under “Mugs & Teacups.”

In an Instagram post about the situation, Sistrunk said she was “heartbroken” over the discovery.

“I have screenshots of old posts of my heart mugs in which @anthropologie and/or @anthroliving liked the photo(s),” Sistrunk claimed. “I used to get so excited seeing that notification and now I couldn’t be more disappointed.”

In The Know could not find the @anthropologie and @anthroliving accounts listed as liking posts featuring the heart-shaped mugs on either Sistrunk’s art Instagram or her personal Instagram. As of Jan. 10, neither account follows @ivypatchcat or Sistrunk’s personal account on Instagram.

“This was and still is an original design by ME that has been stripped and slightly modified for mass production. I am at a loss for words,” Sistrunk alleged in the Instagram caption. “I will not let this get slept on.”

In a follow-up video posted on Jan. 9, Sistrunk thanked TikTok viewers for supporting her video and inquiring how to buy her mugs.

“I just don’t want to profit off of this situation,” Sistrunk explained. “I don’t think it would be prudent to make money off of something like this. I just wanted to raise awareness for it and point out where I was done wrong.”

In another video Sistrunk uploaded on Jan. 9, she referenced a news story from early 2021 when Vermont artist Jeremy Ayers also claimed that Anthropologie copied his mug design. In the video, Sistrunk specifically focused on Anthropologie’s response — which was to stop production of the mug.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible that such a large corporation took that stance with him and that’s how I’ve always viewed Anthropologie, as being an amazing place that … does support small [businesses], as evidenced by their collaborations,” Sistrunk said. “I’m worked up now though because I’ve spoken with someone with the company and I did not get that response … I’m furious.”

Sistrunk confirmed with In The Know that she is currently still an employee at Anthropologie, but didn’t want to comment further on the situation out of respect for her coworkers. She has, however, officially resigned and put in her two weeks’ notice.

“This situation has [thrust] upon me an opportunity to pursue my art career to the fullest,” she told In The Know.

In The Know has reached out to Anthropologie for comment but did not yet receive a response.

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