Informercial queen Suzanne Paul could face a Commerce Commission investigation after a complaint from an Auckland Greek family who invented the original Natural Glow cosmetic bronzer.
The Coumbias family of West Auckland says Paul is trying to pass off a new product as the original they developed and they've laid a complaint with the commission over Paul's TV, billboard and internet campaign which claims "Natural Glow is back and it's better than ever".
The commission has not indicated whether or not an investigation is to be conducted.
Paul declined to speak to the Sunday Star- Times but her husband Duncan Wilson said the couple had the rights to use the trademark name Natural Glow. "Natural Glow is a brand. [They're] trying to shut us down."
Natural Glow was created in 1990 by industrial chemist Michael Coumbias - now a Greek Orthodox priest at a Waterview church - and his son Alex, after Suzanne Paul's former partner Paul Meier asked them to make a bronzer.
Coumbias Laboratories spent three months developing the powder in pressed and loose versions for Prestige Marketing, then made it at a rented factory in Henderson. With Paul as frontwoman and her catchline "thousands of luminous spheres", the product became a huge success.
But after Paul and Meier sold the company in 1997, sales tailed off and in 2003 a new company, GN Networks, acquired the licence from Coumbias Laboratories to relaunch Natural Glow under a new name - Radiesscence. Paul also briefly promoted Radiesscence after a short-lived relationship with GN Networks but she ended the contract in 2006.
Last year she and Wilson launched a rival bronzer which they called Natural Glow. Her website says it is "based on Suzanne's original Natural Glow formula, but it's much finer".
But the Coumbias family says it's a different product. Says Michael Coumbias's son Richard: "She's trying to infer that her product she's currently selling is based on the original Natural Glow . . . the way she says it, it's like it was the original Natural Glow and now it's back again. Well, no, it's not."
Richard Coumbias said Paul's bronzer "bore no resemblance" to the original Natural Glow and had different ingredients.
And now the company which sells the original formula under the Radiessence name has also complained to the commission over fears the rivalry could threaten sales.
Wilson said he and Paul had asked Coumbias Laboratories to manufacture the bronzer again for a relaunch but had been turned down.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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