James Middleton’s Boomf has lost more than $2.2 million in just one year

The wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews

I am tragically late in discussing this, but better late than never, eh? Over the summer, we did discuss James Middleton and the tragicomic musical that is his life. I suggested that some of the songs should be “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Marshmallow Jim?” and “It All Goes Boomf!” Good stuff. You see, for years now, James Middleton’s sad marshmallow enterprise Boomf has been losing money hand over fist. Boomf is a money-pit for investors like James’ new brother-in-law, Terribly Moderately Wealthy James Matthews, who tossed $100,000 at Marshmallow Jim as some kind of pre-wedding dowry. Well, guess what? The failure of Boomf was even worse than originally reported! Because of course it was.

James Middleton’s marshmallow company has seen its losses almost double in the last year, new financial filings reveal. The balance sheet for Boomf shows the confectionery firm made a loss of £2.19 million in 2016 compared with £1.17million the previous year.

Middleton, 30, founded Boomf, which prints Instagram pictures on marshmallows, in 2013 and he playfully refers to himself as the company’s ‘Wonka In Chief’. The company is based at his parents’ Party Pieces business premises near the Middleton family home in Berkshire but he also has an office in a shipping container in trendy Hackney, east London.

The accounts filed also revealed that Boomf’s cash reserves have dwindled from £1.1million to £440,000. It is being kept afloat by loans of £766,667. The paperwork states: ‘Liabilities include long-term borrowing from a director of £266,667 and the company’s bankers of £500,000. With this continuing support the directors are of the opinion that the company will be able to continue trading and meet its obligations as they fall due.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I don’t pretend to know a lot about business loans, cash reserves and bank sheets (and I know even less about British business customs), but at some point, those loans have to be repaid, correct? Or will Boomf simply file for bankruptcy and all of those investors just have to write off the fact that they poured LITERALLY MILLIONS into a company that was “marshmallows with Instagrams printed on them.” Anyway, it seems clear that Boomf is folding, sooner rather than later. Apparently, Marshmallow Jim is already trying to figure out a new business revolving around all of those fancy laser printers he bought:

He tried to make money out of putting people’s faces on cakes and then marshmallows – without great success. Undaunted, James Middleton has another business plan – printing faces on to wrapping paper. The younger brother of the Duchess of Cambridge calls the idea Wrip Wrap and is publicising it on social media. ‘He has all these state-of-the-art printers and needs to find a use for them.’ I’m told. James, 30, closed Nice Cakes, then marshmallow business Boomf lost £2.2 million, despite investment from sister Pippa’s banker husband James Matthews.

[From The Daily Mail]

As I said in several earlier posts: James Matthews needs to come to Jesus about his lack of business skills. Not everyone is made to be CEO or president of their own company. I fully admit that I couldn’t do it – I’m a pretty organized person, but I couldn’t start my own business and raise all that money and do that day to day. I know that about myself. James Middleton needs to realize that about himself. He’s sh-tty at this. We’re not being “haters” and it’s lovely that he has a dream of being his own boss and whatever. Now figure out a way to pay back all of those people who loaned you all of that money. And figure something else out besides WRAPPING PAPER WITH YOUR FACE ON IT.

Middleton Matthews wedding

The wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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100 Responses to “James Middleton’s Boomf has lost more than $2.2 million in just one year”

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  1. Sixer says:


    That is all.

    • lavin says:

      Did he miss the 90’s? I guess maybe he was too young or not born yet, but people were doing the businesses he is trying to get off the ground way back in the 90’s. People were printing their face and whatever on things. I wonder why he just doesn’t just work for PPieces since he may end up having to run it one day.

      I wonder why mum and dad won’t give him any money and he has to go to Pippa’s husband and previously his Uncle?

      • Redgrl says:

        Seriously, just get a real job, James. Work for PPieces, even. Get up at 630, commute, work 8+ hours, come home. Cook dinner, tidy the house. Walk the dog. Repeat 5/x a week. Tough, I know, for your landed gentry fantasies. But suck it up. You’re not special. You’re not entitled. That is all.

    • Margo S. says:

      I keep coming back to this article and reading and laughing because the news is just so terrible. This boomf business is so friggin funny. Thank you.

  2. Sixer says:


    That is all.

  3. Indiana Joanna says:

    Where did that money go? How can you lose millions on a business that uses a printer to stamp a picture on a marshmallow?

    Sounds really fishy.

    • Sullivan says:

      Yep, it sure does.

      • anon1 says:

        just means that there was enough demand, so taking a loss per order aaddded up. sounds to me like he wasn’t able to get the costs low enough to make it a sustainable business.

    • vauvert says:

      You buy equipment, hire people, throw launch parties, purchase ads, pay yourself a handsome salary, rent a warehouse etc. It is very easy to spend money.

      • Clare says:

        Man, startups are not cheap. Everything ranging from the logo to the website to the mugs in the office cost money. It’s not hard to spend $$ at the start, before the business becomes cash flow positive. I also suspect he is paying high salaries instead of sharing equity or options with his staff. Shrug.

      • Bridget says:

        I’ve thought about leasing a space for my business (I currently work from home). I literally need a big, empty room – no crazy equipment, nothing. Were I to lease a space from one of the new constructions coming in around here, it would be about $200K to get it ready to be a big empty room. It’s very, very easy to spend money.

    • Eliza says:

      Agreed, except for the initial investment in the printers and possibly baking/packaging equipment (which he might have had previously from his cake business) the long term investment was minimal (ink, s&h, marketing – Instagram/ connections is free).

      Losing 3 million pounds in 2 years? That’s just obscene.

    • StartupSpouse says:

      Employees are expensive! My guess is he has a really high fixed cost base and variable revenue. With the increased losses this year its likely he maintained high fixed costs despite decreasing revenue, under the guise that he is investing in growth. Pretty common problem and will totally sink a business if its not recognized soon enough.

      • Megan says:

        How many employees can he possibly need? It doesn’t sound like they are overwhelmed with orders, nor is printing and packing particularly labor intensive.

      • StartupSpouse says:

        @Megan, you’d be surprised at how overstaffed some of these companies are. I’ve also known entrepreneurs that get off on how many employees they have. Like it makes them sound more successful or something. If he’s not savvy about operations and logistics, then it’s super easy to overstaff. Plus, I think it’s hard in the UK to just hire contractors to do that work, he probably needs to hire FTEs.

    • Megan says:

      My thought exactly. Where did the money go? Marketing? Inflated salaries? Paying James’ rent?

    • Margo S. says:

      Your comment made me laugh so hard that I snorted.

    • magnoliarose says:

      He most likely spent as the dot.commers did with luxurious offices, launch parties, PR and whimsical nonsense. I have techies in my family, and some worked at dot-coms when they were young, and the stories of waste are outrageous.
      My brother kept trying to get my father to invest, and he asked my grandfather, but they were not interested. The concept for my grandfather came down to being an old-school business type. My father just thought it was an idea with no tangible product, and he saw these hipsters running around like rock stars and thought it was insane.

      James seems like he would have been a dot-com type who just fell for the idea but has no business acumen at all. The lifestyle would have appealed to him. The idea of stamped marshmallows is dumb as dirt. Who in the world told this dolt it was an excellent idea? Did he think his royal connections could make people want something so stupid?

      Pip’s husband has lost a bunch of dosh too, so business isn’t their strong suit.

      • Aurelia says:

        James has what’s known in the trade as ‘The Brown Touch’. Everything he touches does not turn to gold, everything he touches in fact turns to shit !

    • RoyalSparkle says:

      …where did all the money come about?
      Willnot/’I am a Prince / middleton hen party decoy’ – sure knows how to waste Duchy taxpayers funds, similar to all things billy middleton use of KP for middleton private benefit.

  4. Natalie S says:

    Why doesn’t James just learn to run Party Pieces ? The senior Middletons can at least semi-retire.

    • Jamie42 says:

      Right? He could even add a line in laser-printed somethings, if he wanted to. But this seems an obvious answer.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      There have been rumors for years that most of the money doesn’t really come from “running” Party Pieces as much as selling all their customer info to third parties. So actually that may be a great idea. He can technically be in charge of the company but in reality have little to no control over their actual success.

      • Megan says:

        All direct response businesses, including nonprofits who have direct mail programs, sell or trade their lists. It is a small revenue stream that helps off-set overhead costs. Party Pieces is not raking it in through list rental and exchange.

      • Va Va Kaboom says:

        Yes, but isParty Pieces “taking it in” at all? It certainly seems to turn profit, but there is little evidence that it makes enough to support the Middleton lifestyle. So I may be incorrect about exactly how they are making the majority of their money, but my point was that it wasn’t actually coming from the sale of kids’ party kits. James could take control of the Party Pieces and whatever mechanism the Middletons are actually making bank would be unaffected.

      • Megan says:

        Catalog/online businesses are incredibly profitable. Given the way they snubbed Uncle Gary at Pippa’s wedding, I don’t think they are being supplemented by him anymore.

      • magnoliarose says:

        They aren’t making millions with their business, and it never made sense. Their stuff isn’t exceptional or high-end so I think they exaggerated their wealth and lived beyond their means but were supplemented by Uncle Gary.

      • Megan says:

        No one really knows how much they make, but I see the margins on charity catalogs monthly and they are pretty amazing. Catalogs don’t need to be high-end to be profitable, they just need to be high-volume.

      • magnoliarose says:


        I know what you are saying, but they sell only in the UK that is when I realized they couldn’t be worth 30 million pounds. That is why I said high market because with the prices and the fact that is a very specialized business I just can’t see that kind of worth. I think their business is successful for what it is, and I can imagine them as millionaires, but the other figure is inflated. Carole seems sensitive about class and money, so maybe she felt the need to do that though it would be evident to those she wanted to impress. I believe I read they had a small percentage in a racehorse and the article about it was snide.
        Still, a successful business is an accomplishment, and they built it, but their kids don’t seem to have that same drive. I understand why they don’t sink money into James’ schemes; they would be broke if they did.

    • CynicalAnn says:

      That’s what I think too. Use that brilliant (ha) marketing to good use and add things to your parents’ business. Unless they don’t trust him to take over . . .

      • Megan says:

        Obviously they don’t trust him to take over. And I think they have good reason to think that way.

      • RoyalSparkle says:

        Carol the middletons may have no need for uncle gary now or at least in view – but whiny I am Prince – BRF perks is now UP!

    • lavin says:

      I still don’t believe the Middleton’s have the millions the UK press and they want people to believe. The Manor home some say has a mortage now, not sure if it’s true, but I always found it odd that they didn’t move into the Manor home until AFTER William and Kate married and the deal was said to be out of Switzerland. Odd no UK handling of it.

      Also their previous home, when they bought it was a fixer upper and not a million dollar home at all when they purchased. Something doesn’t add up with them financially, imo. I don’t believe PPieces is making what some believe. Something doesn’t add up with them. I think they are protected because of who Kate married.

      If you read all the initial stories on Kate, the Middleton’s were not these big multi-millionaires and Kate use to take the bus AFTER she dated William even. She didn’t even have a car of her own. I think because she dated and married William, the UK Press and the Middleton PR built them up in the press so it would make appear that they weren’t interested in money.
      I miss James Whitaker royal journalist, because his initial coverage of the Middleton’s was raw, eye opening, and they were nothing like what they are portrayed today. James Whitaker took no prisoners when it came to snooping around to get info.

      • Karen says:

        I agree. I have been in direct marketing in the US for many years. First I assume they no longer mail catalogs. It is too expensive. They sell low ticket items. We don’t know what the average sale is. Then they make some money on shipping and handling. They have inventory, warehouse,labor, site maintenance. I don’t see this is a big money maker.

        Maybe the Middletons get freebies thrown at them since Kate married W. I can see Range Rover giving them a discount. Publicity for wearing ugly coat dresses. It all seems odd to me.

        In the US there are so many party stores and your child makes it an event to pick out their costumes, plates, etc. Then for big parties we all go to Costco. I,don’t know about the U.K.

      • lavin says:

        I think you are definitely on point about freebies. I’ve heard rumours that during the dating years a lot of Kate’s clothes were freebies and what she didn’t want was handed down to Carole of Pippa. Also Oprah had a show during the wedding coverage and she sent staff to Berkshire to get the low down on the Middleton’s. One day the crew happen to get a chatty postman who only would talk off camera but he told the crew, , that The Middleton women were getting racks and racks of clothes from almost every designer. Some would be sent back because it was the wrong size and the designer would replace it with the correct size. The packages were addressed to Kate, but then that changed after the initial racks and then they were addressed another name…but for the Middleton house. Then nothing ever went back, all the racks of clothes were kept.
        I believe it was a way for Kate to get freebies after the wedding since she could no longer take them as a royal and Carole and Pippa would allegedly enjoy the items that came on the racks too. Also ,They have always borrowed even vacation homes, almost all the vacations were somehow tied into a freebie or borrowed place.

  5. Clare says:

    In strictly business terms, if Director’s and bankers are still giving the company loans, that is probably a good sign – they are possibly (likely) exchanging funds for equity options but in the form of loans to exploit a tax loophole (i.e loan repayments won’t be taxed, dividends would be). I mean, I haven’t looked at the company’s financials (which you can find on companies house website, if you’re curious), but super unlikely that the company would be raising investment (the loans) if it had become nonviable.

    Alternatively, but unlikely, someone has invested so much money into it they are now throwing more money at it hoping to limit losses to the initial investment.

    Phew – not often I put my ‘work’ hat on, on celebitchy ;p

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Sunk cost fallacy in all it’s glory!

    • Cee says:

      TY, Clare! I admit I’m ignorant on these matters – but what’s the logic behind pouring more money on a failing business? Wouldn’t it be better to cut your losses instead of increasing them? Unless the loans comes with certain stipulations like “let us intervene, Major Marshmallow”?

      • Clare says:

        I think its one of the below-

        1. It isn’t a failing business – lots of startups take time to become cash flow positive and show ‘losses’ on the first few years – if people are still ‘investing’ I think the books must look good enough to justify spending.

        2. Showing ‘losses’ and ‘loans’ to take advantage of tax loopholes

        3. Someone has invested a lot of money and is trying to salvage that investment by ponying up some more cash (unlikely, unless, again, the books and forecasts actually look good)

        Hard to know, really, without knowing all the facts, but personally I find it hard to believe he would be securing loans/investment from anyone, especially ‘bankers’, if the business was ‘failing’.

      • Cee says:

        I agree. My father started his own business 25 years ago and it took him years to make it profitable.

  6. TheOtherOne says:

    He just every other guy who was told he as special only for others (and their money) to realize he has no life skills or business acumen. Another person who is allowed to fail upwards. This just means he’ll get married soon, have a kid and find some other way to hustle people in the name of being a “family man.”

    • Citresse says:

      Well for someone with no life skills or business acumen, James sure has luck if you believe luck has anything to do with the womb lottery ie- being born into a resourceful, supportive and loving immediate family.

  7. JaneDoesWork says:

    Its amazing to me that the Middletons were able to build Party Pieces from nothing and their kids are so professionally useless. I almost feel bad for James, he clearly wanted to create his own success. But, if the Kate and Pippa effect cannot get people to buy these dumb marshmallows, then no one can. If I were him I’d focus on taking over Party Pieces.

  8. grabbyhands says:

    I hate myself for saying this, but I’d stroke that beard and pretend to comfort him.

  9. Cee says:

    Mama Middleton should throw James at Chloe Green.
    James can always go back to Party Pieces.

  10. Margo S. says:

    Is this a joke?! The name is the WORST, the concept is ridiculous, obviously it’s going to lose money! OBVIOUSLY! It’s a friggin marshmallow company!!!!

    • Citresse says:

      LOL, I don’t know British tax law but that marshmallow company exists as some kind of front, albeit a losing front, which is probably even better for the so-called investors. Don’t feel bad for James aka British Kardashian boy.

      • Tourmaline says:

        I have a pet theory that the marshmallows are a cocaine front in partnership with Uncle Gary and they are secretly coated in cocaine.

    • LadyT says:

      I know, right? He was doomed to fail at step 1. Putting a picture on something is not a multi-million dollar idea. My local grocery can put a picture on a cake, probably a marshmallow too if anyone desired such a thing.

    • Erinn says:

      Let’s just remember how much money was made selling pet rocks, guys.

      At least you can eat marshmallows.

    • Bethany F says:

      I like that this new company is Wrip Wrap. From Boomf to Wrip Wrap – is he naming businesses for toddlers?

    • Chaine says:

      I have never understood this company. Maybe marshmallows are a more popular food item in the UK? Here in the US, they serve two novelty purposes: Grill them over the fire on a camping trip, or float them in your hot chocolate. They are not something I would ever think to put photos on or serve at a non-campfire, non-hot-chocolate event.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I know right? Who put this business plan together? It sounds like something two drunk stoners come up with one night and laugh it off the next day. It is so stupid I can’t even with this fool.

  11. JC says:

    Off topic—but I wonder if he consciously grooms himself to look like King George and Tsar Nicholas (1st cousins who looked like brothers—-their mothers were sisters) when they were about his age. Middleton’s beard and hairstyle are damn near identical. Whenever I see a picture of him, I wonder if he’s trying to look like a royal blue blood, to-the-manor-born.

    • Erinn says:

      I think it’s a pretty standard kind of hipster look. My husband has a similar haircut – though with a better hairline, thankfully. And has a beard. I tease him sometimes and call him a hipster. But it’s ultimately just a case of a hairstyle he likes, and can maintain easily… and he looks like a child without a beard.

    • TheBee's says:

      I was just thinking about this movie with Johnny Depp. Every time he would try to kiss his wife she gags. https://youtu.be/fJ7RASRNN88

    • Lauren says:

      I suspect this too but he fails at it miserably. Plus the royal family already has Prince Michael of Kent for that. I here the monarchist in Russia love him.

  12. LadyT says:

    That has got to be the most awkward hug I’ve ever seen in my life. Both giving and receiving- it’s certainly not sexual or even warm and friendly. I don’t know what that is other than awkward.

    • Sharon Lea says:

      haha Kaiser posted some pictures with a lot of sub context there, have to agree LadyT.

    • Chaine says:

      lol, it’s like he has never encountered a human female before, but is trying to feign enthusiasm while avoiding actually coming in body-to-body contact with her. Perfect potential son-in-law for Jim Bob Duggar.

    • Lady D says:

      He’s hugging her like he said something that should be emotionally upsetting to her, but her response is I could care less.

  13. Chingona says:

    I don’t own a fancy marshmallow printing company, but my husband and I have started 3 companies. Pouring money into a company will not make it successful. Our first company was started with nothing but hard work and an eye for perfection.It was my husband working 20hrs a day and now 2 1/2 years later he has over 100 employees, makes molds for the top boat manufacturers, and has made or fixed 100 million yachts. When you start your own company if you aren’t working hard, have a passion for what you are doing, and stand out in some way from your competition it is going to fail and no amount of money will save it.

    • Indiana Joanna says:

      Exactly! I seriously doubt James Midd worked as hard as you did with the smarts and economy in expenditures that you employed. He’s a self entitled prat.

  14. Karen says:

    Carole married off Pippa, got Kate knocked up with number 3-now time to work on this one. He is very creepy looking and that kiss-OY!

    He is in a highly customized business and it is too expensive. Time for exit strategy.

  15. Becks says:

    Wait, that was his business? I thought it was like….gourmet marshmallows in different flavors or something. I didn’t realize it was printing faces on marshmallows. That’s……creepy.

    Is there a reason he doesn’t just work at Party Pieces and prepare to take that over when his parents retire/move fulltime to KP?

  16. Bucketbot says:

    Come to think of it, James Middleton and Jared Kushner might make good friends.

  17. HK9 says:

    Serious question….how much money do you have to lose to know when it’s time to throw in the towel?

  18. TyrantDestroyed says:

    Well, I give this to Marshmallow Jim: he keeps trying. Maybe it would be better for him to try to get a job as a corporate employee and gain some knowledge and experience and try again later in life. All these Middleton kids seem that their only goal in life is to be saved by a millionaire spouse.

  19. Sharon Lea says:

    This should embarrass Carole, right? Or should embarrass James? Come on! He doesn’t appear to have drive, give it to Kate & Pippa, they have determination, even if it is to marry up. Maybe he wants the money, but he has to drive and push his idea to manifestation.

    • lavin says:

      His ideas already happened. I’ve seen brides and their wedding party walking around with the brides face on tee-shirts or hats on shorts, on towels for bachelorette parties. This is has already been done since the 90’s. His ideas are not innovative, but he keeps introducing them like they are.

  20. Jayna says:

    I find James very attractive.

  21. Meg says:

    You’d think having parents who started their own business Pippa and James would be at least ok at business but nope, good thing Kate married royalty who inherited money because William would be horrible at business too. They all deserve each other

  22. Tourmaline says:

    I think lightning struck with Party Pieces and it ain’t striking twice. Not that Carole/Mike? didn’t work hard on their business but they came along at a perfect time where a mail order party goods business could turn a nice living, pre-internet.

    I think Wrip Wrap might succeed but only if they insist on strictly printing James’s face on the wrapping paper.

  23. Joannie says:

    “Failure is Success in Progress”

  24. Bridget says:

    While I think it’s a stupid business, we’re missing a ton of information to make ANY judgement. We only know that his liabilities are greater than his assets, but we don’t know if it’s because they bought a building and are paying it off, what the loans are for, or anything. Considering the amount, it sounds like they expanded this year and these could be liabilities simply incurred as the cost of doing business, and that for all we know revenue is coming in that will eventually pay it off. You can’t really learn anything without seeing BOTH sides of the balance sheet, but it’s just not as interesting a headline.

  25. Alix says:

    It might work out for him after all – two-three years in the beginning is nothing.

  26. Skylark says:

    Gift wrap with people’s faces on it! What a fantastically innovative and new idea!

    A Pippa tip, I’m betting, she of the “A well-wrapped gift helps express how much thought you’ve put into it. Don’t forget to remove the price tag from the gift” and the searingly incisive “Place the present on the paper to gauge how much you will need, then cut to length” wisdom on how to (wrip) wrap a present.

    On a kinder note, James is remarkably good at being really bad at everything. So win… er… win.

    • anon1 says:

      not every business has to be innovative, otherwise why start a salon or a nail spa. Let the guy be, he hasn’t stolen money or hurt anyone. Investors are pretty smart. why do we assume we know whether he’s hard working or not or that he’s a failure. sometimes the cruelty here just shocks me.

  27. holly hobby says:

    Stop making “putting a face on product” work. It’s not going to happen. He seems to be a one trick pony because every business is a variation of the same theme. What next, faces on toilet paper so people can wipe the picture of a loved one on their ass?

    • magnoliarose says:

      Not to mention the faces on stuff was peak 2000s.
      Why would I want a face on a marshmallow and then eat the sweet, gooey puff? (yuck)
      Businesses are successful because they fill a need and/or desire or create the market for the product. If he had done some delicious candy in unusual flavors and made elegant candies or custom flavors and attached it to Party Pieces, faces for birthdays maybe or occasions. But marshmallows?

    • lavin says:

      It already happened in the US in the 90’s and people can do it at home on their own printers even now.

  28. raincoaster says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the parents have given him an ultimatum: show us you can run a business or we leave Party Pieces to Pippa.

    Note that all of his businesses, including this (hackneyed ancient wrapping paper idea) are the type to be easily bought out and rolled into a party supply company. He’s not even left the nest. I don’t know that any of the Middletons ever really have.

  29. FLORC says:

    Late to this thread, but I’ve been lmao from the start of “boomf.” I own my own edible printer. Have for years. Rice paper in the freezer. And at the start of this a friend that runs their own company laid out how this was profitable… it takes so little to run. The overhead was minimal unless you wanted to pay yourself as CEO loads… considering you were a kinkos that only made marshmallows.

    How he bankrupted the company… easily 2 reasons. He pigeonholed himself with Instagram so they would only print with photos from the site/app. Limiting revenue from someone that didn’t want to load those photos on. And 2nd reason… he was using the company as a bank account. No doubt. So this is funny because he could have made a small fortune, but he’s an idiot.

  30. manda says:

    Argh! So I googled boomf because I just didn’t really understand what his business was, and now there are ads for it all over the place 🙁

    Although, it’s better than the ads I see for things that I actually have considered purchasing, because they tempt me too much