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JackThreads is trying to find a buyer after its Hail Mary business model failed

The company has laid off staff in the process.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

JackThreads, the online men’s retailer that was once part of the digital media company Thrillist, has been in talks to sell the company after its most recent reincarnation failed, according to multiple sources.

The e-commerce site got its start as a flash-sale site, selling men’s streetwear at heavy discounts in limited quantities. But last year it doubled down on selling its own brand of men’s clothing at full prices.

It did so with a new, risky try-on-at-home model — called TryOuts — that let customers order as many products as they wanted without paying up front. They later paid for the ones they kept and sent back the ones they didn’t. Shipping both ways was free.

The new model launched in the spring, but by the fall JackThreads was already talking to investors about needing to raise more money, sources said.

At the time, the company was very unprofitable and projecting only around $30 million in revenue for the year, these people said. At one point in previous years, JackThreads did as much as around $70 million in revenue or more.

A spokesman confirmed the sale talks, as well as accompanying layoffs, to Fortune, which first reported the news. In recent weeks, customers have been complaining of orders being cancelled and extra-long delivery times.

JackThreads was founded in 2008 in Columbus, Ohio, by the entrepreneur Jason Ross and acquired by Ben Lerer’s Thrillist in 2010. At the time, the idea of melding content and commerce was attractive, and Thrillist envisioned selling JackThreads goods to Thrillist readers to supplement its advertising business.

But in 2015, that promise evaporated when the two companies split apart and raised a combined $54 million to fund separate futures. JackThreads is now run by CEO Mark Walker, who did not respond to requests for comment.

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