Stationery business kikki.K has collapsed into voluntary administration for a second time in less than two years.
Kikki.K was founded in Melbourne in 2001 by by Kristina Karlsson and Paul Lacy and once had more than 100 stores, selling its Swedish-inspired notebooks, calendars, planners and gifts.
It was sold in June 2020 to Texas-based Erin Condren Designs in a deal to save its 65 stores at the time; however, the Australian Financial Review reports that backers of the US businesses have decided to no longer fund a restructuring process being undertaken at kikki.K.
Kikki.K now has 36 stores in Australia and New Zealand, half of which are currently closed due to COVID-19 related restrictions — although the online store continues to trade. According to the AFR, a large number of the company’s 300 employees have been stood down.
Administrators Liam Healey and Quentin Olde from Ankura will reportedly now seek a buyer for the business and Karlsson and Lacy have said they will assist the administrators however they can.
In a letter to staff on Monday, Karlsson and Lacy said the administration is a “direct consequence” of the pandemic and lockdowns, with retail sales particularly affected in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
“The loss of revenue from the forced and extended closure of so many of our stores due to the COVID pandemic as part of the government-ordered lockdowns has taken a direct massive and insurmountable toll,” they said, according to the AFR.
“With no clear end in sight to lockdowns, EC [Erin Condren] have decided that in these unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances the risks are too great for them to continue to fund the business.”
“It has simply not been possible to get thru [sic] such a seismic event outside of our control,” they added.
In the letter, the founders described it as a “sad day”.
“Writing this note together is a sad task and we still can’t quite believe it’s happening — again,” they said.
“It’s yet another tough moment in our amazing journey together and we understand and deeply regret that there will be profound impacts for many of our amazing team members and our partners, suppliers and shareholders.”
SmartCompany has contacted kikki.K, Ankura and Erin Condren Designs for comment.
This story originally appeared on SmartCompany and has been republished with permission.