How a Nasty Gal made $100M
fm Business Insider.com 22 May 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Sophia Amoruso is the founder & CEO of Nasty Gal, which has grown to a $100 million-plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees in just 8 years. The following is excerpted from her new book, GIRLBOSS.
A Nasty Gal’s story. I never started a business. I started on eBay, then ended up with a business. I never would have done it had I known it was going to become this big. It would have been too scary. I was 22 and – like most 22-year-olds – I was looking for a way to pay my rent and buy my Starbucks Chai Tea. Had someone shown me the future of where Nasty Gal would be in 2014, I would have gasped in revulsion, thinking, Oh, hell no, that is way too much work.
Different kinds of Entrepreneurs. There are the ones who start a business because they’re educated and choose to, and the ones who do it because it is really the only option. I definitely fall into the latter category. I considered myself completely unemployable, and wanted to give one last shot at my ideal of being “jobless.” And boy, did being jobless work for me.
The best approach to Growing your Business is to tweak your product & business model to grow, Tweak to grow, until your get the successful formula. I call it the “incremental potential”. In eCommerce, you have to get everything right — from the marketing to the product descriptions to the checkout process. Because I started small, I think I inherently did that from the beginning.
#1 Priority = Caring about Customers. A lot of people run their businesses like their customers are dummies. This is disasterous mistake. If you’re just out to take their money, they know it. But if you genuinely care about what you’re doing, they will respond. I knew my customers and knew what they liked, because I was my own best customer. And rather than dictating what I thought my customers should buy & wear, I listened instead. If I bought something and they hated it, I moved on. Rather than force my idea of what Nasty Gal should be on my customers, I let them tell me along the way.
#2. We were the best-dressed girl’s best un-kept secret — except that it was a secret she really wanted to share. One key to running a successful business is to know how to get free marketing thru Bizz or going Viral.
#3. Just do a good job. Through the styling, photography, & voice of the brand, Nasty Gal was an exciting place to shop. If our customers weren’t equally as stoked when they were holding one of our products in their hands, then that excitement lived & died on the internet.
#4. Competition. I don’t take it lightly when someone buys something from me. I know there are a million places where people can buy a dress, a crop top, or a pair of shoes, so I want to make sure that if someone is buying it from Nasty Gal, she feels like it’s worth it. We’re dressing girls for the best years of their lives, so whether you drop $300 or shop the sale section, I want you to look and feel like a million bucks.
#5. Keep your Promises. When girls bought something from Nasty Gal, what they got in the mail was just as amazing as what they’d seen online. Customers became not only loyal, but also evangelical. They came back again & again, and shared their excitement with their friends — frequently on the internet. It was the kind of natural word of mouth that can’t be bought with PR or Marketing.
#6. Give your Customers something to Share. Social media is built on sharing, and Nasty Gal was giving girls something amazing to share each & every day. Whether it was a crazy vintage piece, a quote, or a behind-the-scenes photo, we have always worked hard to create the best and most compelling images, words, & content for our customers.
#7. You’re not too high & mighty to keep involved – You share Socially. At most companies the person manning the Twitter & Facebook accounts is far from the top of the food chain. But at Nasty Gal, even though I’m not always composing every tweet, I still read every comment. If our customers are unhappy about something, I hear it first right away and can do something about it.
#8. Responsiveness is Critical. At other businesses, it might take months for Customer Feedback to filter up to the CEO, if at all. Social media allows me to have my ear to the ground even when I’m out pounding the pavement. When Nasty Gal joined Snapchat, it meant that I joined Snapchat. I sent out a few Snaps, and our customers responded in force. There’s nothing more thrilling than sending Private Texts directly to a customer and seeing what she has to say in response.
#9. Nasty Gal is a feeling. Call me crazy, but I truly believe that. And though our community lives in many different places, it’s that feeling that unifies our customers and makes us about much more than selling clothes. We try to make them feel special.
Comments: Share with us about your experience as a Nasty Gal [LoL] er, with Nasty Gal.