Snapshot: Andrea Galbreath and her Resilient Roots

Andrea Galbreath started a business with succulents, where she puts a witty twist on her role of underdog against a corporate giant.
Photograph by Emily J. Davis

San Juan Capistrano resident Galbreath was born in Canada to a Jamaican mother and French Canadian father. During the pandemic, the single mother lost her social worker contracts. Having left an abusive marriage, she prides herself on her resourcefulness. “I’m able to come up with five alternative solutions to any problem.” 

She developed a business offering succulent arrangements as corporate gifts and workshops as team-building activities. Her name for her new company? Just Succ It. “Most people who hear the name pause, then laugh.” She went about locking down the name. “I hired an attorney last April (2021) because I wanted to avoid any potential conflict. My trademark would not have been approved had there been any identifiable conflicts. It published Jan. 4.” Two and a half weeks after the trademark published, sportswear giant Nike demanded she drop the name. Lawyers for the company claimed Just Succ It infringes on Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” 

Galbreath refused to cease and desist. She identified another entrepreneur who had received similar letters from Nike, but lacked Galbreath’s natural verve and nerve. She led the charge in a legal battle she was sure she and the others could win. “Nike goes to the mat when they discover a business using any type of wording they think infringes on their slogan. Most attorneys I consulted thought I could win, but it would cost $100,000, and Nike could still sue me. But they seem to be leaving me alone because of my social media presence.”

A TikTok post in January challenged Nike’s premise: “Welcome to another episode of ‘Is this really happening?’ It is! Trademarks help protect a brand from confusion and dilution, or both. Obviously, there is zero confusion between my products and theirs. (That) leaves dilution—but what is that, exactly? Even if there’s not consumer confusion, a famous brand can claim that the distinctiveness of its brand is weakened by another mark. You know what I think when I hear that? I think they need to hire me for their marketing! If my small, tongue-in-cheek succulent business in San Juan Capistrano dilutes a global, billion-dollar corporation, they might need to rethink their marketing strategies.” 

In weeks, Galbreath’s upbeat delivery, broad smile, and David-vs.-Goliath crusade to keep her name garnered 25,000 additional followers. “I understand trademark laws. I love my business name. People buy from me because they get a kick out of the name. I’m not out to bad-mouth Nike, but this is just harassment. It’s hard to imagine anyone will mistake a succulent company for a sneaker maker. Nike can just suck it.”  

Ultimately, Galbreath rescinded her trademark claim for Just Succ It but continues using the name. “I learned a lot from this. For one, people will come together to fight for the underdog. They want to see each other win.”

Galbreath urges others to take chances. Just Succ It and her workshops blending humor, life tips, and horticultural advice have been showered with interest. “I’m always telling people to be like a succulent and adapt and thrive. If I didn’t, I’d be a hypocrite.”

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