Once being valued at $900 million, the online seller of furniture and home décor, One Kings Lane, was just recently sold for a meagre price of $30 million.
But, for those who have been following the story from the beginning, it’s easy to see that the road has always been rocky for One Kings Lane. Since January of this year, analysts have been predicting that the online start-up wouldn’t go for more than $150 million. In fact, at that time the company had made several attempts to sell with no luck.
It’s an unfortunate turn for a company that was once filled with promise.
Founded all the way back in 2009, the web retailer hit the ground running with “flash sales” that focused on temporary drops in prices for items that were otherwise very expensive. It’s the same model used by fashion retail giants like Gilt Groupe, Karmaloop, and much more.
The site was doing well for a while, raising more than $225 million in venture capital. It was thriving in a golden age where, after the Great Recession, businesses were forced to sell their goods much lower than their original prices.
However, at around 2010 flash sales fell out of fashion and businesses that centered their whole operation on this kind of model declined in their valuations.
Now after years of struggling to stay afloat, the company finally settled for $30 million offered by Bed Bath and Beyond.
The harrowing story is a reminder of how tumultuous and brutal the e-commerce industry can be. Despite the fact that acquisitions like Dollar Shave Club’s $1 billion sale to Unilever and Walmart’s $3.3 billion dollar purchase of Jet give hope, there are many more stories like One Kings Lane where, after making a few small decisions, everything can change in an instant.