In a crushing bit of irony, Farrah Hoffmire and Mitchell Davis received a marketing poster for Giddy Goat Cheese from Whole Foods, their biggest client, two days after announcing that they were shuttering their goat cheese operation.
“Oh well,” says Davis, who explains their motivation for closing Giddy Goat this way: “Too big to be a hobby and too small to be a business.”
The two launched Giddy Goat three years ago and found that while their top revenues grew, they were forced to invest new capital for every growth spurt. “To take it to the next level was going to cost too much money with no real promise of profits that would be sustainable,” says Davis. “And our confidence that people would pay the margins we have to charge to make any money has waned over the past year.”
For a while there, Davis and Hoffmire were wooed by the buy-local craze, but they eventually came to realize that most local businesses can’t afford to buy other local products. “Most people wanted us to lower our prices,” admits Davis, despite the cheese being painstakingly handcrafted in small batches.
About two months ago they read an article about a respected cheesemaker who’s been in the business for a long time without making any money. “She said she had been doing this for 21 years and never really paid herself. She had nine employees and it was a two-decade long labor of love,” says Davis. “Depressing.”
But for the dynamic husband-and-wife team, shuttering Giddy Goat is ultimately not that depressing. Hoffmire is a documentary filmmaker who will refocus her energies on teaching yoga and standup paddling. Davis is a principal in BiblioLabs, a company that is transforming antiquarian content onto the iPad. He’s also formed a band and foresees the two of them working on a film project together.
They’ll also continue to make Giddy Up! soda, probably more as a hobby or a product to barter with. Besides Davis says he’s hooked on it and wants to keep making it for himself too.
Tomorrow will be Giddy Goat’s last appearance at the Saturday farmers market in Marion Square. Be sure to stop by and fill up with a growler of whey soda, get a T-shirt, and wish Hoffmire and Davis well.