It’s with great sadness that I learned Njoy filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday after two years of diminishing sales.
I came to know many of those involved with Njoy over the years. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this is a team motivated to the core to fulfil their founder’s mission: to create a world free of smoking.
And, let it be known, all vapers owe a HUGE debt to Njoy, or Sottera as the company is called. It was Sottera that forced back the FDA from impounding vaping products as unauthorised medicines, winning their case in 2010 and ultimately setting the stage for the industry that followed and flourishes today, despite the continued threat of regulatory oblivion.
Their Njoy king was revolutionary when it was release three years ago, selling $93 million through 2013. However, for numerous reasons the success didn’t persist and the tobacco indistry, doubling down on their offerings, took over the market with their distribution strength and powerful couponing strategy.
Njoy, under the weight of their own initial success, simply could not compete in this field any longer.
Many people in coming days will offer their analyses – blaming Njoy for all kinds of strategic mistakes. But this was always a David and Goliath story, concluding in this case with the more plausible outcome.
Where many of Njoy’s early competitors sold early, Njoy ploughed a path of avowed independence. It seems to me that the founders, partners and investors have rarely been commended for this. In 2014 CEO Craig Weiss suffered an ultimate indignity, being hauled across a senate committee hearing and accused of being “all about the dollar” and “everything that’s wrong with our country”.
Au contraire: I think Njoy should be judged everything that’s right about America. They collapsed despite doing what they thought the right thing. I hope the business can restructure and the brand survive and continue to be an important part of the continued vaping story.