Skyland Foods, the maker of Ibex Yogurt Drinks, is shutting its doors. Unable to secure a set of retail authorizations that the company hoped would take Ibex to the next stage of development, Skyland Foods founder and CEO Brandon Partridge decided that further investment in the brand would be unwise.
Partridge announced the decision on Friday, informing industry colleagues and customers of the news via a blog post on the Skyland website. He wrote that after converting Ibex to an organic formulation, the company was able to gain some attention from key natural retailers, including Whole Foods. However, he described the length of the sales cycle for some retailers as testing Skyland’s “financial stability.”
“It can easily take 12 weeks to hear about a single pitch,” Partridge wrote. “We realized last month that we were not going to make it to where we wanted to be on our current cash, so we made a plan to get there within six months. However, the plan was contingent on closing several of the sales that we were still waiting to hear about. Last week, the word came back that this did not occur.”
He noted that while the company did not run out of money to support production and operations, he concluded that further investment in Ibex “would not be the best use of additional funds.”
“I am sad about this outcome, but if given the opportunity to re-live the last three years of my life, I would do what we did every single time,” Partridge wrote. “I might have made some better choices, but I would never decide this wasn’t the right thing to do. I will spend the next several weeks winding things down and figuring out what comes next for me.”
In an e-mail to BevNET, Partridge pointed to Ibex’s appearance at the 2014 Natural Products Expo East to be a time when he believed that Skyland was on an upswing, and noting that while he was ultimately wrong, it’s a takeaway lesson for him and other entrepreneurs.
“Young brands like Ibex often live at the edge of success and extinction,” he wrote.
Partridge, a former veteran of Nestle USA, also said that while he’s ready to “work for someone else for a while,” his hope is to stay connected to the beverage industry as part of another entrepreneurial company.