Honeyshed Closes

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Droga5's Publicis-backed web shopping venture Honeyshed is set to power down at the end of the week, capping a year-plus venture that started with the optimism of content-led brand stardom but never fully got off the ground. Economic conditions were cited as the reason for the closure.

"Honeyshed was a great experience and an idea we all firmly believed in," says Droga5 and Honeyshed founder David Droga. "Sadly our ambitions weren't quite in sync with the economy.

The site, launched in beta in November 2007, was created as a partnership between Droga5 and production company Smuggler, with funding from Publicis. Touted as "Online Shopping for the Digital Generation," the site envisioned a sort of brand-centric content warehouse where the product shone.

Honeyshed had American Apparel-type hosts talking up clothing and footwear along with items like novelty accessories, but the site had a hard time finding its social sea legs. It was difficult from the start to interact with other users and stimulate the sort of chatter and activity that makes websites come alive, and the video content had a feeling of being a sort of Möbius strip of hipness.

Publicis was reportedly into the venture to the tune of $25 million, and after a yearlong beta launch Stephen Greifer, formerly of Digitas, stepped in as CEO. Smuggler tapped out about nine months ago, ceding the production reins to Greifer and Digitas.

But that didn't squash the potential many saw in the site. Up until very recently pundits lauded Honeyshed, including the Huffington Post, whose Pam Bristow wrote just two months ago "the Honeyshed business model seems particularly well-suited (if unintentionally so) to the current retail environment," with "some key advantages over other retailers that might make the nimble online pioneer a winner."
AdAge.com has more.
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