Critics Also Speculate That Bambi Boutique is Sold and The End is Near for Celebration Box and The Owner is Moving On
Last November, the New Zealand Herald was nearly ready to call Iyia Liu “NZ’s own Kylie Jenner”; Comparing Ms Liu’s once perceived wealth and business success to America’s youngest self-made billionaire. However, it seems that the Instafamous entrepreneur has had to hang up the towel on her year-old clothing startup, Bambi Boutique, as she has now removed any reference of ever founding the company in her Instagram bio.
In what looks to be the latest misstep for Ms Liu and Marketing Manager, Sophie Maitland, Bambi Boutique was allegedly sold this month; “Priced to sell at $60,000 plus estimated stock value $60k”, according to an ad posted by the business brokerage firm, ABC Business Sales (screenshot of removed ad attached as a response comment below). Any difference in the final sales price may remain undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements arranged by the company’s listing agent.
Despite starting in the saturated market of budget e-commerce clothing, Bambi Boutique came into recognition in late 2017 for reportedly gaining 70,000 followers overnight. The company made further headlines in early 2018 for hosting influencer studded launch parties, including an event hosted on the Moondance Charter Yacht, which donned the Bambi Boutique logo.
According to various blogs, Iyia paid as little as $2,000 to host company launch parties, while relying on vendors to subsidise the events in exchange for the opportunity to directly target the brand’s audience.
After Ms Liu’s latest company, Celebration Box, became the subject of severe controversy, scepticism began to circulate around the authenticity of Bambi Boutique’s nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and Facebook. Critics of Ms Liu specifically noted sudden spikes of followers and low engagement activity on the company’s social media pages, citing the suspicious trends as evidence of a largely inactive and inauthentic audience. Furthermore, analytics through SimilarWeb also indicated a low number of visitors to the website.
Signs of trouble began to show publicly when the company hosted a large sale of their clothing collection late last year, with Iyia Liu asking for volunteers that would be paid in clothing instead of a wage.
From what is stated in Bambi Boutique’s sale announcement, the company made an average weekly turnover of $8,990 over a period of 38 weeks.
Celebration Box itself still boasts strong numbers, claiming that at least 18,000 boxes had been sent out by early March. But how many un-refunded boxes have been sold remains a hotly discussed subject among close followers of Iyia’s business activity.
With Celebration Box itself quoted as having to raise prices in order to stay in operation, it is uncertain if this business is making a profit. Speculators and former employees of the company claim that the number of free boxes sent to Instagram influencers and businesses in exchange for advertising remains a significant part of Celebration Box’s marketing strategy. And while Celebration Box attempted to break into the overseas market in January, its global social media pages are noticeably inactive.
As far as future plans, Ms Liu stated during a Q&A session in early January about her interest in getting back into fitness. Whether this means a new product or just influencing has yet to be announced. But she also stated in the same Q&A that she did not have a new business in the pipeline.