6/13/2017 3:08pm cst — Robert Gifford has tweeted the following confirming that Geek Chic is closing shop:
They thought Geek Chic was going to be much bigger than the $30,000 luxury gaming tables they produced for their elite clientele.
Many expected them to fail before they even got off of the ground. How can a company succeed by selling niche furniture to a niche market? Tabletop gamer’s are notoriously frugal spenders, so on the surface it doesn’t quite add up. But purchasing preferences have changed drastically in the modern consumer from the kind of things our parent’s valued.
Where the “Boomer” generation associated mass-produced goods with American industriousness, Patriotism and value — the current generation is tired of poorly made goods that need to be replaced constantly.
The assembly-line consistency of mass-produced goods, is also viewed as a negative. Modern consumers value uniquely crafted goods above all else.
When it comes to hobbies, the rules for what is acceptable to spend money on go out of the window. Extremely frugal people who scrimp and save every chance they get are just as likely to buy a finely crafted wood table as a wealthy person. What is the use in saving all of that money if you can’t enjoy it?
So we have a booming hobby and a group of buyers who value artisan crafted goods, enter Geek Chic circa 2012.
Into The Shark Tank with Rhinos
When Geek Chic owner Robert Gifford went on Shark Tank, it ultimately ended with him not securing an investor in his furniture company. If you are not interested in watching the episode – this blog post is a great summary. The main takeaways, are that Geek Chic is extremely insolvent, and that Gifford’s vision for Geek Chic’s future was to expand their furniture production.
Which made their acquisition of solo kickstarter publishing company “Crash Games” by Patrick Nickell so strange. Press releases from the time explain that Nickell wanted to keep producing games without being reliant on Kickstarter for funding his publications.
Fast forward to January 2017, where Nickell went back to kickstarter to beg for scraps. The linked Youtube video of himself speaking comes with a “Trigger Warning for physical abuse, rape, PTSD, Depression and Suicide.” All of this tasteless emotional pandering was rewarded with $34,000, which successfully funded a 3 month vacation in Ireland, but failed to save Crash Games.
Rumors on this boardgamegeek.com thread began circulating when a user posted to ask why all of the products on Geek Chic have been marked “sold out” a follow up post confirmed that a Geek Chic employee’s facebook page stated they had closed up shop on June 10, 2017.
At this time, Geek Chic has not released any information to the public about the status of the company and it’s many orders that would go unfulfilled if they are truly closed.
Another unconfirmed rumor indicates that Geek Chic’s acquisition of Crash Games resulted in them taking on 6 figures worth of business debt that they did not account for in the M&A of Crash of Games. It is assumed that they did not perform their due dilligence before acquiring, and that Nickell deliberately concealed the debts from them.
Rumors about Nickell stealing a moving truck from Geek Chic during his separation are also still unfounded.
What We Do Know
There absolutely was a place for Geek Chic’s luxury furniture in the board gaming community. Gifford and company both grew in success, and in the hearts of their customers over the years following Shark Tank. However, Geek Chic has had to close it’s doors for now for reasons that we can only speculate upon.
Today, we continue to wait for updates alongside Geek Chic customers who are faced with the prospect of losing their $5,000 deposits, because of one, catastrophic business deal.
Would You Like To Know More?
We discussed this topic in detail on our podcast.