Matt Booth has announced that he is leaving the cigar business.
The Room101 owner opted not to renew his latest contract with Oettinger Davidoff AG/Davidoff of Geneva USA, the company that produces and distributes its cigars. That contract expired on Jan. 1.
Booth, who served as a U.S. Marine, began Room101 in 2003 as a jewelry company specializing in custom silver pieces. Since then, the business has grown and Room101 has garnered fame for its celebrity clients and is sold worldwide, including in select Nordstrom locations. He entered the business in 2009 under a partnership with Camacho, which had recently been sold to Davidoff’s parent company though was still operating independently. Shortly after that, the integration of the Camacho business into the new Davidoff began and Room101 was a large focus.
Room101 got its own cigars, known for its radical names, modern packaging and oftentimes hidden or not so hidden messages. Booth’s parent company owned the brands, while Davidoff manufactured them in Honduras and sold them in the U.S. Booth was a frequent visitor to cigar stores for events and began a program where cigar shops would stock and sell his jewelry line.
“We confirm that Matt has decided to retire from the cigar business and his announcement explains his reasons for that and speaks for itself,” said Dylan Austin, vp of marketing for Davidoff of Geneva USA, in a statement to halfwheel. “We share Matt’s sentiment that this has been a very successful partnership and would only add that we are very sorry to see him depart the industry… on a personal level, we have thoroughly enjoyed working with Matt who is one of the most creative and savvy guys in the business and a great partner.”
— Beat Hauenstein (@DavidoffCEO) January 9, 2017
While Booth has not indicated his exact reasons for departure, the recently-enacted FDA regulations likely play a role. Because Booth came to the market after the Feb. 15, 2007 date of grandfathering, it’s likely that Room101 would have faced a considerable amount of regulatory costs trying to apply for substantial equivalence.
Austin confirmed that Davidoff of Geneva USA is selling off the remaining Room101 inventory.