James Middleton’s sad marshmallow company Boomf is really struggling

The wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews

If someone ever makes a musical about the Middleton family – which should absolutely happen – I imagine that James Middleton’s songs will be along the lines of “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Marshmallow Jim?” and “It All Goes Boomf.” The songs will be tragicomic, of course. Because in the story of the Middleton family, James is mostly a bizarre and tragicomic postscript. He doesn’t have his sisters’ hustle, nor does his mother work overtime to match him with someone titled and/or rich. He has no business sense but insists on running his own businesses (into the ground). And worse yet, keeping James occupied and feeling special has become an increasingly expensive venture, and people are throwing good money after bad just to keep James’ sad marshmallow empire, Boomf, afloat. James has spent the past few years securing funding for Boomf all over the world. He’s raised millions of dollars. Even Pippa’s terribly moderately wealthy husband had to contribute £100,000 to Boomf, because of course he did. Well, guess what? These people made terrible investments.

Does James Middleton plan to tap up investors in his loss-making marshmallow company for yet more money? The Duchess of Cambridge’s younger brother has cut the price of shares in Boomf, indicating a cash-call may be on the cards. But Middleton’s investors may not be happy — including his new brother-in-law, hedge fund millionaire James Matthews.

Pippa’s new husband spent almost £100,000 propping up Boomf in the year it made a £1 million loss, buying 12,853 shares at £7.78 each. However, Middleton, 30, has now passed a resolution saying that shares in his company can now be sold to investors for as little as £2.50. Based on the new price of Boomf shares, Matthews’s stake would now be worth around £32,000, less than a third of the price he paid for it.

When Matthews invested in Boomf as part of a fundraising round in late 2015, shortly before he proposed to Pippa with a £250,000 diamond sparkler, Boomf was valued at £10 million. But in the light of the share downgrade, that valuation looks ambitious. Middleton, who calls himself Boomf’s ‘Wonka-in-Chief’, declines to comment on whether he is planning to raise more money, after securing £2.25 million from investors since launching Boomf in 2013.

Middleton tells me: ‘I’m not able to go into detail about the changes in the articles of association, but it is done in positive progress for Boomf. We are continually looking at new opportunities which present themselves as the business continues to grow.’

In 2015, the most recent accounts available, Boomf made a £1 million loss, and took out a £500,000 bank loan with Barclays. In addition to Pippa’s husband, Middleton’s investors include Pippa’s ex-boyfriend, nightclubs entrepreneur Charlie Gilkes. But Middleton says Boomf is ‘not propped up by friends and family’. He said in 2015: ‘That calibre of investors do not just give hand-outs. They are people who want us to make a return for them.’

It could be quite a wait, as Boomf struggles to break even. Middleton shut down two previous businesses, the Cake Kit Company and Nice Cakes, but says they did not fail.

[From The Daily Mail]

Despite James’ protests, it’s pretty clear that: A) he’s a terrible businessman, B) marshmallows are not the future, C) there is no such thing as a “marshmallow empire,” D) Boomf was propped up by friends and family who were sympathetic towards poor, sad James, and E) James should probably find something else to do with his life. I’m not saying any of this to be unnecessarily harsh, but running a business and being your own boss isn’t for everyone. Like, it’s not for me either – if I had to run my own business, I would go crazy and I would probably be terrible at it. The thing is, I know that about myself. I’m not out here, calling myself a marshmallow entrepreneur or whatever. And I really do have to wonder: James has “raised” millions of dollars/pounds/Euros for Boomf. Where did that money go? Really?

Middleton Matthews wedding

The wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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77 Responses to “James Middleton’s sad marshmallow company Boomf is really struggling”

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  1. Clare says:

    Wonka in chief? What a twat.

  2. JackieJormpJomp says:

    I would. I so would and I’m not proud of it.

  3. Rose says:

    Whoa, i watch a lot of Dragons Den and who in their right mind would invest 100,000 pounds in marshmallows?!?!?!

    • StartupSpouse says:

      I have no personal knowledge of this situation, but I know about investors funding startups. The $100,000 from a family member is not because he thought it was a swell investment idea. It was because he had to throw something at him because he’s family now. A $100,000 investment from a guy like Pippa’s husband, even if he’s only moderately wealthy, is a pity investment.

      If he really believed in Middleton’s ability to execute, he would have thrown a lot more at him. This was more like a gift. He doesn’t expect to see that money ever again.

      • imqrious2 says:

        OR… perhaps TMW™ James needs a tax write off, and decided this was the way to go: kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Makes the family AND the bottom line happy.

      • StartupSpouse says:

        @imqrious2 Yes, totally!

  4. amy says:

    Let’s hope Carole will soon find a rich man for him.

  5. guest says:

    Too bad for him, if he had a vagina Momma Middleton would have already found a wealthy husband for him.

  6. Singtress says:

    “Your face on marshmallows!”

    Uhm. Oohhhhh kaaay.

    • Megan says:

      This was, at best, a fad product. The company needed to diversify into more marketable products if it wanted to be viable long-term. He would have been better off doing it as a pop-up and using the income to start something more sustainable.

      • Chaine says:

        That was my thought, too, @Megan. Are there really any other companies whose only product is marshmallows? He should have branched out into other candies, and more marketable candies, because the photo-mallows were only going to ever be at best a party favor type product, not something with mass-market appeal.

      • Margo S. says:

        It’s actually laughable how bad of a business idea this is. Just marshmallows. What a dumb ass.

    • Sam Lewis says:

      Honestly, I think they’re really cute. I neither use instagram nor like marshmallows, but I would legit buy these as gifts for friends (or wedding favors) if I had the money. Having said that, I agree with Megan above, and basically everyone else when I say that he is just about the worst businessperson I know of by name. This is absolutely a fad product, and he should be marketing the sh*t out of it to high school and college graduates, as wedding favors, as baby shower treats, etc. I honestly cannot believe he has done ANY marketing. I suspect he has just “pitched” his idea to the same group of wealthy friends repeatedly and left marketing to other people. It’s crazy that his parents can be so successful (say what you will about them, but they have absolutely hustled) and yet he floats through life like a marshmallow melting atop a hot cocoa.

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        “yet he floats through life like a marshmallow melting atop a hot cocoa.”

        Too funny!

      • Aurelia says:

        James has what I call the brown touch, not to be confused with the midas touch. Everything James touches turns to SHIT.

  7. astrid says:

    Reminds me of the Kardashian son who has a “sock empire”.

    • Tourmaline says:

      At least socks have some utilitarian purpose! Point for Rob there.

      Edited to say: Yes I see I am one of many to make this point!

  8. JEM says:

    This family is vacuous. If only they used their powers for good!

  9. LadyT says:

    Who is the lady reluctantly accepting his awkward hug?

  10. lower-case deb says:

    he really needs someone like Mr Wonderful from Shark Tank to slap some sense into him…

    • imqrious2 says:

      HAHA!! Now THAT I’d even see on subscription TV! lolol As Mr. Wonderful likes to say, he’ll “crush him like the cockroach he is” 😂

  11. Blaire Carter says:

    He’s the Rob Kardashian of the Middlestons lol

  12. Addie says:

    If his parents are such hot shot business people, why didn’t they advise him better or at all? I can see that James got caught up in the technology of putting images onto confectionery but surely it was obvious that the idea was a passing fad and too expensive a product to execute?

  13. Red Snapper says:

    His business is tied to Instagram. Meaning you have to have an Insta account to order the marshmallows. That’s …. not good. I know plenty of people who aren’t on Instagram. Not that that is what’s keeping them from ordering marshmallows for £20, but still. I wonder how long before he ends up working for one of his brothers in law? He can make tea and answer phones, surely.

  14. mishka says:

    Hate the pinkie ring! And that girlfriend seems too stiff to enjoy his awkward embrace. Weird.

  15. Wonderbunny says:

    His business idea is so stupid, it actually makes me angry. If you want to sell something to image conscious Instagram users, then perhaps don’t try to sell sugar fluff. It should’ve been something like fancy weight loss tea. Or he should’ve chosen to capitalize on his royal family connections and sold cheap stuff to the masses. Is his business a money laundering scheme? Because that would actually make more sense to me.

    • Egla says:

      Yep. Money laundering for sure. I say this because how on earth he can find so many rich people throw money at him. 2-3 million pounds loss in as many years it’s not good at all and yet people give him more money and apparently he has assets enough to make a bank give him a loan. We mere mortals now that some banks wouldn’t even let us in, never mind lend us that kind of money. Probably we don’t even know how much money have really circulated in his business. I say a LOT. And it’s all legal.
      I saw his insta just out of curiosity. Beautifully done, it’s obvious that it’s a professional job BUT not much traffic there for a million pound company. That makes me think not much of a business going on there

  16. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    ‘Wonka in Chief’ – change a vowel and you have the word that seems to best describe him.

  17. homeslice says:

    The pinkie ring…just…no.

  18. Suze says:

    Boomf was valued at ten million pounds? By whom and in what fairytale?

    Moderately rich James should consider it a sunk cost, a dowry for his wife.

    That kiss between Air and JImmy is very awkward.

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      Awkward because most probably they are not really together. PR girlfriend. Or beard as other people say. Marshmallow James going alone at his sister’s wedding wouldn’t look OK.

  19. Molly says:

    Good lord. If he can raise that kind of money for f–king marshmallows, maybe he should take up a career in fundraising for a worthy charity.

  20. FLORC says:

    Ugh. He built a business with insane overhead and a massive personal salary/expense account for himself and cronies. Out of a model that anyone could do$200 for an edible printer. Rice paper to print. And smore shaped marshmallows to print on… only he charged imsane amounta and the machines would often cut off cornera of pictures leaving the aidea looked smudged and dirty.

    Also, the photos to print had to be via Instagram. They had to be loaded to the service. Meanwhile you can keep your private photos or not use instagram and print at home for like a bachelorette party or whatever idk…

    It was a terribly doomed model from the start.
    And it could have been moderately successful, but he took on too many investors lessening value.

    And I’m not a business major.

    • Tourmaline says:

      You’ve laid it out so well here. I have no business acumen and I could plainly see long ago that this idea was not going to go far. That Jamesy is determined to ride this idea into the ground says a lot about him and it’s not good.

      • FLORC says:

        During 2 separate Boomf periods of struggle he went on long vacations.
        Maybe of the trips were to raise money to change the business model, expand, diversify, etc… it could be fine. But, James was not changing a thing. And every time he added an investor the money did not go into helping the business. It’s crazy.

    • Aurelia says:

      A golden rule of going into business is don’t have a product that any old Joe can easily replicate.

  21. Margo S. says:

    ok, I’m reading this. Is this a joke? A marshmallow company. Actually? Are marshmallow even that popular aside from at campfires? Who would do that? What is wrong with him?

  22. Kim says:

    There is a wonderful marshmallow company here in the US called Wondermade. They sell different flavored marshmallow which are good, though expensive at $8 for a small box/ I’ve brought them twice for my husband and once another family member. The flavors are unique. It’s fun to try them. It’s novelty.

    Boomf? Would it be cool to see a picture I’ve taken, or of me or a family member on a marshmallow? Sure. Once. Maybe. $20 for a box of 9 small marshmallows? Even if I tried it once, I can’t imagine being a repeat buyer.

  23. Meghan says:

    He is definitely the Rob Kardashian of the Middleton family but even socks is a better business idea than just marshmallows. I mean at least you can wear socks?

  24. Jrock says:

    Speaking of the reason Mama Middleton hasn’t found him a terribly wealthy partner, I’m guessing here, but would it be an issue if the brother of the Duchess was homosexual? Perhaps that’s why he keeps this long-time girlfriend and doesn’t move forward-a later divorce may be a scandal, and a later divorce because he’s gay may be a double scandal? I’m not sure what the Royal viewpoint is.

    • K says:

      It wouldn’t be an issue, no. Not these days, not over here. There are plenty of openly gay politicians in very senior roles, and he’s just the younger sibling of a royal wife. We simply don’t have a religious culture in the way the US does.

    • SoulSPA says:

      I don’t know if he’s gay and to be honest, I do not care. He’s got the right to his own sexuality without any judgement. I am wondering whether Donna Air would have tagged along for so many years if he were? It’d be a major blow for her in the long run. Respect of the RF, it should not be any of their business if James were gay. They have too much going on in the firm to judge and criticize others, especially regarding something that personal such as sexual orientation.

  25. SoulSPA says:

    Another example of an underachiever linked to the RF through family ties. I read somewhere that he has not finished his studies. Well not everyone is a Richard Branson. But running a second sinking business, I think? My guess is that his investors will eventually benefit on the favour sometime in the future, or who knows, they already do it now. The whole Middleton family is so shady.

  26. TomatoGirl says:

    I think he is a bit adolescent minded, that’s all. Not gay or fame whoring.

  27. Blackbetty says:

    How much longer are his family and friends going to fund his idea, when he’s sinking all their money?

  28. Louise177 says:

    I still don’t understand his company. Marshmallows are such a niche sweet that it doesn’t make sense to me to make it a business.

  29. Kitty says:

    I think I am his whole market! I’ve bought so many of his marshmallows. My dad, my son’s dad, my brother and all my son’s teachers have had my boy’s delightful/horrifying face on marshmallows.
    The customer service is pretty good and the products are very cute. You get a decent quality print of the photo that you have ‘marshmallowified’ (that’s his word not mine). You know, presents for people that can be hard to buy for, bought because I got a discount code. I doubt the marshmallows were ever eaten.
    I’d better stock up if they are going down the pan!
    I feel very compromised by writing this defence of a Middleton 😉

  30. LaBlah says:

    That “calibre” of investors regularly throw good money after bad because they’re born rich and £100,000 is chump change and/or they need a tax write off. It’s utterly repulsive that people in these circles can live the high life despite being for all intents and purposes and utter failure whilst other people see their hard work come to nothing because they don’t have a great big cushion or access to the tax breaks and other hand outs the already wealthy receive.

  31. SolitaryAngel says:

    Clearly there is *literally* a price to pay to be Pippa’s boyfriend.

    She couldn’t have thrown in a few tips about hard-partying marshmallow-preparedness in her book to help a bro out?