Starting June 28th, 2022 we are sunsetting Society Nine. This means the website will no longer operate sales or customer service, and all email and social media customer service related requests will no longer be serviced after June 28th.
There were many factors that played into this, all of which require their own essays. But, ultimately, the pandemic and macroeconomic factors have become too risky for us to face without the right resources. We decided it was time.
We fought long and hard, and made it through the pandemic and we are incredibly proud of that. So many small businesses did not fare well and make it as far as we did, so in the hardest of times we definitely take pause to remind ourselves of all we have to be proud of.
It came down to identifying what would be required to invest in and build the next chapter of Society Nine: from the cost of new product development (we have SO MANY ideas still!), the size requirements of inventory orders, the cost of commercial freight due to COVID global supply chain impacts and the growing cost of marketing, to name a few things - it was going to require a new pool of resources beyond what we currently have. And what we did have, we’ve nearly exhausted making it through COVID.
We tried to pursue new resources, but it began to take a toll on us. And, with every passing day, new macroeconomic risk factors entered the mix. Because of this, we felt it was the right time to sunset Society Nine.
It’s a bittersweet moment. When the company was launched in 2016, it was launched on Kickstarter with a hope and prayer for success, and driven by the belief that women deserved a brand community to call home in the boxing and martial arts fitness industry.
There weren't enough options, and it was clear from early focus group conversations that there wasn’t enough done by larger brands to make women feel like they mattered. Additionally, crowdfunding campaigns fail all the time and we had no idea how folks would respond.
That initial pre-order revenue from that Kickstarter campaign enabled us to journey onward, for six and a half years. After we launched, an entirely new lane for the boxing and martial arts fitness industry was created for women in products and service, with many new brands emerging over the past seven years. We are proud to have been a category creator, and we couldn’t have done this without you.
There is so much to say in terms of deepest gratitude and thanks.
First and foremost, we want to thank all of our customers. Whether you backed one of our Kickstarters, purchased directly from us or from any of our wholesale partners, we are so thankful for you. Your belief and support in what we do, and what we stand for fueled us every day the past seven years.
Secondly, we wanted to thank any person who ever served as a brand ambassador through the years. All of you, without sponsorship or formality but simply out of sheer will, passion, love for and belief in Society Nine, wanted to associate yourselves with our name, rep us in your gyms and in all your videos, and shout us out to all of your friends, family and clients. There are no words to describe how grateful we are for you.
Thirdly, our wholesale partners. From all of our gym partners, to our pro shop partners like Bridge City Fight Shop and Superare, to our bigger retail partners Zappos and Free People. You chose to back Society Nine from day one, and in the case of Zappos and Free People, you chose to introduce us to your customer base during the COVID era. Not many players were willing to take a chance with a small brand, but you did because you believed in our products and what we stood for. Thank you so much for amplifying our name, and letting the retail market know that we deserved to be here and that femme customers matter in this industry.
Fourth, to our various non profit partners big & small through the years. Your trust in our mission, values and intention is priceless. We are humbled and grateful that you trusted our intentions and granted us the opportunity to help support and supply your various self defense, boxing or kickboxing initiatives for marginalized and low-access communities. You were all critical partners in helping us advance our mission to provide access to fitness and sport for those less privileged, as a means of self empowerment, physical and mental health. We’re grateful that we got to work together with you on something bigger than us.
Last, but not least, thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever offered advice, helped make a connection, an introduction, a helping hand in our warehouse, or a helping hand with our product development, designs, supply chain and website troubleshooting. You also were critical partners in helping pull this brand along, on tough days where we needed the hard labor, and challenging periods where the Rubix cube was just too hard to solve as a small boat in the ocean. Your reactive generosity through the years has been such a gift.
WHAT’S NEXT IF YOU’RE A CUSTOMER?
If you’re a customer, you might be wondering what that means for you in terms of gift cards, returns/exchanges, warranties and cases of defective products.
Because we are ending our operations, all purchases are no longer eligible for customer service starting June 28th. We will be unable to honor any policies. Social media pages will also no longer be moderated or responded to, as well as company email addresses.
Please note: for reasonable administrative matters, we WILL correspond to customer emails to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding issues such as:
- Lost or stolen packages
- Other shipping issues with packages shipped between 5/31-6/27
- Reasonable defects with proof provided
Communications will be delayed than normal, as email is only tended to for administrative matters since sales operations have completely wound down.
Please allow for up to 7-10 business days for responses to be tended to, though we expect responses to be closer to 5-7 business days or less. ALL sales communications, including for the reasons above, will cease August 1st, 2022.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR US?
First and foremost, rest. We haven’t really had much of a break since we first started this company, and definitely not since 2020 with COVID.
While we’ve gone through many stages of grief in this process, one thing remains: We are unbelievably proud of what we accomplished. Be sure to support some of the new women’s boxing brands that have emerged. So many have been born since our launch in 2016 and they deserve support. It may seem counterintuitive to be supporting “competitors” - but we’ve never looked at it that way.
We operate from a mindset of abundance, not scarcity.
Where there’s competition, there’s a market, and we sure as hell have always believed women deserved more in the boxing and martial arts fitness market.
Women deserve to have options. It doesn’t matter if it's Society Nine or other competitors. Our collective existence will make the industry invest more in women, period. We have always operated under the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that feeling has never wavered.
Keep supporting, amplifying and advocating for women.
Thank you so much for all of the love and support through the years.
We love you. Fight on, femmes.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…THANK YOU GOOGLE.
We are so honored GOOGLE chose to feature Society Nine’s story for their Heroes of Small Business campaign. Initially, we were concerned about the value and perspective of our story given that we are sunsetting our business operations.
However, we were floored by the resounding “yes” they gave, despite this reality. Working in collaboration, we all agreed it is so important we celebrate and promote the sheer act of ambition, persistence, willpower and courage to start a business, to inspire others and future generations of small business owners. Often in the media, success and failure are treated very binary (like most things, unfortunately). But success looks a million different ways and we hope to challenge that - after all, we will ALWAYS be fighting for something. It’s in our nature. I am grateful and humbled they felt our story could illustrate a different perspective of success.
If there’s anything to come out of Society Nine’s current reality, it’s that if we can inspire others to take a leap of faith, go after their dreams and uplift communities in the process, then that is the ultimate success.
Thanks to each and every one of you for believing in what we’ve created. Every action mattered. We’re incredibly proud of Society Nine’s legacy, and there’s no better way to cement our story and ride into the sunset than in this way. Thanks to Google for choosing to celebrate all #smallbusiness stories and journeys, no matter the outcome.
Watch the campaign video, and click the button below the video to check out the campaign page!