What happened to Great Jones?

Unpacking the DTC cookware darling’s sale to one of its suppliers. And an industry primer from Made In CEO Chip Malt.

Great Jones CEO Sierra Tishgart
Great Jones CEO Sierra Tishgart / Liz Clayman for Great Jones

The first story published on The New Consumer, when I launched back in the spring of 2019, was a profile of the cookware startup Great Jones.

I had picked it because Great Jones felt like a special example of the era’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce startups. More than most of its peers, Great Jones had a real point of view: Cooking is fun! Your kitchen equipment can be, too. And its childhood-friend founders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis had orchestrated the launch of a lifetime.

This week, Great Jones announced that it has been acquired by Meyer Corporation, a family-run company that makes cookware and kitchenware products under 16 brands, including Farberware, KitchenAid, Rachael Ray, and Circulon. (Plus Anyday, the microwave-cookware startup brand that Momofuku founder David Chang has been involved with.)

The companies aren’t disclosing deal terms, and Tishgart, a former journalist who has led (and will continue to lead) Great Jones as its CEO, is also taking on a second role at Meyer, as the company’s Executive Creative Director.

My guess is that this was not the financial outcome that Great Jones’ founders and investors were hoping for in 2018. (It was able to raise a round, led by General Catalyst, during the era when tech VCs were hungrily investing in digital-native consumer product brands.)

And while it’s temping to read this as yet another indictment of the DTC business model, I think in this case it’s more that Great Jones is a very good, genuine, niche brand — still with plenty of potential — but an unlikely mass brand.

The reality is that Meyer — or a similar incumbent, manufacturer, or holding company — was always going to be Great Jones’ most likely buyer. It was just a matter of which one, and how many zeroes would be at the end of the wire transfer. Meyer was already an investor in the company, and a manufacturing partner, so there was conveniently a relationship to expand.

The good news is that Great Jones will continue to exist, its entire team will stay on, and that Meyer will be investing in the brand — in product expansion and further retail distribution, including international. Acquisitions are rarely bump-free, but from the outside, it feels like good founder-acquirer fit.

So, what happened?

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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