Kiddie Kandids Closes…Demise Told on Facebook
Technology killed Kiddie Kandids, the Utah based photography studio, and to rub salt in the wound, their demise was broadcast all over Facebook. While this story is a cautionary tale on many levels, the technology aspect seems to be the most compelling for me to discuss here.
As technology becomes cheaper, more effective and more accessible it’s obvious businesses need to adapt to stay relevant and profitable. Apparently Kiddie Kandids failed to innovate and took on more debt to stay afloat before it finally crumbled. The Deseret News reported,
The company confirmed the closure in a two-paragraph statement faxed to newsrooms Monday afternoon, blaming “negative growth” on the economy and a decision by lenders to “no longer fund Kiddie Kandids’ operations.” The company said it plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week.
The 35-year-old chain has 184 locations, including at least a dozen between Provo and Ogden. Most of the nationwide locations are at Babies”R”Us stores.
In an ironic twist, news of the closure and pending bankruptcy was transmitted via texts, blogs and Facebook.
At 12:12 a.m. Monday, district manager Wayne Royall sent his team, including Turner, a text message that read: “Hey there team, the final word that I have received is that Kiddie Kandids is closing our doors for good. I am truly sorry to be the one to share this news with everyone.”
“…Thousands of employees are getting laid off tonight across the U.S., and the way we found out was through the grapevine and Facebook.”
In a meeting two weeks ago, business coach Carlos Linares commented on the traits of longevity. Key to that kind of success is the ability to adapt or reinvent yourself or your business to remain relevant in the current landscape. One thing we do know is we live in a dynamic world that is always striving for change and improvement.
Social media is one way businesses can stay relevant. If Kiddie Kandids had 100,000 fans on Facebook or 50,000 followers on Twitter would their lenders have pulled the plug as easily? Could a sense of relevance through social media have saved the company?
Sorenson Capital, which said it did not profit from its investment in the company, blamed the closure on a sustained economic downturn combined with a photography marketplace shift that has seen increased availability of inexpensive, user-friendly digital photography technology. “Together, these forces effectively damaged Kiddie Kandids’ in-store photography customer base beyond repair,” it said.
While some companies become the victim of technology, others leverage it. The story of Send Out Cards is worth repeating because they found a way to implement technology for a dying practice…mailing cards. They’re growing their business without debt, while others are failing and leaving out of work employees and broken dreams in their wake.
In a piece on social media, Sara Nichols recently wrote,
The business world is full of examples of products, brands and services that failed to acknowledge the changing landscape, only to find some other, more adaptive company take their places, leaving them in the dust.
What can your business do to stay relevant and competitive? Is a social media strategy something that reinvents how you communicate with your customers and more importantly how they communicate with you? I know none of us wants to send out the text Wayne Royall had to on Monday because that text means you’re out of a job too.
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