What Happened to Ecomom?
Ecomom, an online tech company that sold eco-friendly products such as toys, baby food and cleaning products, seemed so promising but ended tragically and abruptly, leaving many to wonder, what really happened? Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur, Jody Sherman, Ecomom started out on a shoe-string budget operating primarily out of Sherman’s Southern California home. He had a great idea, a vision to bring consumers health-conscious and safe products while promoting non-for-profit organizations that benefited children, such as Healthy Child, Healthy World. Sherman’s endeavors caught the eye of Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh, and with a hefty-sized start-up capital and a new investment in their bank account, Ecomom made the move to Dowtown Las Vegas. The future looked bright.
Ecomom joined a number of businesses that were either starting up or relocating to Downtown Las Vegas thanks to the revitalization (otherwise known as the Downtown Project) happening in that part of our city. The Downtown Project has invested millions in small businesses, real estate and education and the Vegas Tech Fund has also put a lot of money towards tech start-up companies all for the purposes of turning Las Vegas Downtown into an urban oasis of culture, innovation and community. Ecomom was a part of this mission and would join a diversity of businesses that would change the face of what was once thought of as a the “bad part of the Strip”. But it was not meant to be and Ecomom would permanently close its doors leaving those who worked for and believed in this company wondering what happened.
In January 2013, a year after he relocated to Las Vegas, Jody Sherman took his own life at the age of 47. Stunned and saddened by the loss of their CEO and founder, the employees of Ecomom vowed to continue Sherman’s venture and take over the business. The efforts would be for naught since the vast amount of money from the capital and investments was nowhere to be found. So, due to lack of finances, Ecomom laid-off employees and finally closed down for good just days after Sherman’s death. Although the Downtown Project valiantly assisted those laid-off workers by trying to find them other employment, there were others who were not so lucky. One young woman, Jen Wilhem, was contracted by Ecomoms and ended up not being paid for her work. Wilhelm may have walked away with a lighter wallet but she took with her a hard lesson learned.
So what really happened? Why did Ecomom, a great idea with money to back it up, not survive? And the biggest question, what happened to the money? Unfortunately, no one knows. We just hope that Ecomom was an aberration and not the norm. The Downtown Project and Vegas Tech Fund are assets to our community and as they are encouraging small businesses and start-up tech companies to come to our city, we will continue to support Downtown and root for those taking a chance while silently crossing our fingers at the same time.