The owner of an Auckland wedding fair that was delayed for more than a year and then cancelled – leaving vendors thousands of dollars out of pocket – has put her business into voluntary liquidation.
Jade Stack confirmed to disgruntled vendors last week that the fair, trading as Love Me Love Me Not Limited, was “ceasing to exist”.
In an email to vendors she apologised that they had been “let down”.
“I was beyond excited for Hitch’d 2020,” she wrote.
“Fast forward to today, I am completely gutted that not only was Hitch’d 2020 ruined by Covid, but the tumble-on effect of negative backlash has resulted in Hitch’d 2021 being cancelled, and more devastatingly, my entire business Hitch’d ceasing to exist.
“I wanted you all to be the first to know, Hitch’d is going into liquidation.”
The Hitch’d Wedding Fair was originally set down for March 2020 in Kumeu but was postponed because of the national Covid-19 lockdown.
New dates were promised to vendors – most had paid deposits to attend the fair and promote their own businesses – but the show never went ahead.
Some paid several hundred dollars and others more than $800 to secure a site at the fair.
In March, Stack told the Herald dates had been “locked in” for May 8 and 9, the paperwork had been signed at the venue and she was planning the advertising and marketing.
But on April 15 an email to vendors confirmed the fair was not going ahead.
Last week Stack told them that she wanted to give back as much as she could to vendors.
In a bid to be “completely transparent” she gave vendors a break down of how their money was spent.
Some paid a deposit for participating in the fair and others paid in full.
Stack claimed she paid two venue fees of $3400, and $3900 for marketing including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google.
Money was spent on designing and printing 1000 tote bags and $1200 on a “media wall printed for the photo entrance space”.
Stack said a total of $7900 could be refunded and told vendors the “most honest and appropriate way” was to divide it between them.
Some have received a refund, others are still waiting.
When the fair was cancelled Stack did not respond to the Herald, but today she replied saying her situation was “very difficult”.
“Since going into voluntary liquidation, all vendors that had outstanding funds have been refunded 40 per cent.
“The fair had a no-refund clause in the event of cancellation, so I have refunded based on good faith.
“Hitch’d did not receive refunds from prior advertising and marketing, and venue hire, so unfortunately, we did not have the ability to refund in full, or we would have done so.
“I apologise that vendors have been affected by this.”
Stack, who is also a director of Nook Homes Limited, had previously told vendors she was putting personal money into Hitch’d to refund them.
Vendors spoken to by the Herald were disappointed in Stack and felt her communication during the entire situation had been poor.
“This is so heartbreaking for everyone,” said one woman.
Another said the way it had been handled was “disgusting” and said Stack’s communications and record keeping had been “utterly appalling” and she had given “so many mixed messages”.
Stack previously conceded her communication with vendors should have been better.
A liquidators’ report has been sent to creditors, including a number of vendors.
“The liquidators state that they do not believe anyone will receive a refund at all,” said one vendor.
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