Boo hoo!

Over-the-top design and a burn rate of $120 million in six months force the achingly hip fashion retail site to give up the ghost.


The fashion retail site was laid to rest Wednesday, after reportedly burning through $120 million in a mere six months. The Web’s first immersive retail environment had its own online guide (Miss Boo), its own online magazine (Boom) and some of the hippest clothing brands. But it was wildy overdesigned, difficult to navigate and completely out of touch with most Web retailers’ vision of quick shopping and ease of use.

Shoppers and analysts alike found Boo overly ambitious and few were surprised by staff cuts announced in January. Still, the death of this short-lived, high-profile venture marks Europe’s first major dot-com failure. With big-name backers like Benetton and Bernard Arnault, the famed chairman of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, was one of the most publicized e-commerce efforts.

According to a BBC report, a last-ditch effort to secure another $30 million failed, and while the site was growing, it wasn’t getting enough orders to make up the vast sums already spent starting the company. So, some 300 people were reportedly clearing out their desks Wednesday.

Still, it’s hard to imagine many users crying over the loss of the site itself. had a troubled beginning. Its initial launch was delayed for six months, and when it finally opened its virtual doors, shoppers found themselves confused, even driven away by the cartoon salespeople and cumbersome design of the oh-so-hip online shop.

Online retailing doomsayers should note that’s demise doesn’t make it an e-commerce casualty — it’s merely the death of style over substance.

Lydia Lee is a San Francisco writer

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>