What happened to cookandkitchen?
It’s been a long while since my last post. I haven’t felt like writing anything except a tirade of blame, which would have served no purpose at all, since the middle of November. Earlier this week I got a tweet from a fellow food blogger asking what had happened to cookandkitchen, so I guess it’s time to explain.
cookandkitchen.com.au has been closed since the 28th of November. I am devastated. Our team’s efforts to reengineer and rationalise the ecommerce offering that we launched in April last year have failed. The site simply wasn’t doing enough money transactions and the underlying costs were too high.
We were let down by a number of partners; deadlines were missed, creative and copy failed to deliver returns and ultimately promises were not kept, but none of that explains why the business model didn’t work.
Some six figures worth of investment has been written off and after an incredibly traumatic month of returning goods to suppliers, selling off abandoned stock and shutting down systems I feel ready to do some personal reflection.
It’s been more stressful shutting down a business and more difficult than it was setting one up. There is a part of me that wants to involve the lawyers and start going after logistics partners, web developers and marketing agencies for breach of contract, poor workmanship and lack of integrity. On reflection the emotional energy and cash flow I would need to find to make that happen versus the $30-40k that we might eventually be able to claw back simply isn’t worth it.
Over 100,000 unique visitors, 469 different products (at our peak), 13,000+ paid for clicks and seven interns later I am looking to understand why things didn’t work in the way that we expected them to.
Maybe we tried too much at once, too much too quickly, maybe the research was misplaced, was the website badly designed, the marketing missing the mark, or the product set the wrong mix? Or maybe Australian foodies just aren’t out there and ready to share and spend money online in the volumes that we needed to make our business model work.
This week I am back in Byron. Where I came over 18 months ago to write the business plan and design briefs. Walking through the farmers’ market stalls yesterday and sampling organic coffees, stuffed figs and locally produced sweet sausages I enjoyed myself around food again for the first time in months.
We will have another crack at a foodie business at some point in the future, but for the next wee while you’re just going to get me, going back to basics, where Eatwright started; recipes, reviews and ramblings about food.
The entrepreneur in me hasn’t died, he just needs a rest.