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We've noticed a pattern among three of the Bay Area's newer retail success stories. Each company started as an eBay store and successfully harnessed social media to become a major player in the apparel industry. ModCloth launched as an eBay vintage resale business out of a Carnegie Mellon dorm. Now headquartered in SF, the company uses a popular virtual buyer program to let users vote on new products, and hosts a style gallery of customer-submitted photos. NastyGal had similarly humble beginnings: CEO Sophia Amoruso started her East Bay vintage business on eBay —it has since moved to downtown L.A.— and lured fans with stylish photos on MySpace and Facebook. Both companies went on to top $100 million in revenue.
Like the ModCloth and NastyGal founders, Dolls Kill creative director Shoddy Lynn first started selling second-hand clothing on eBay. Like ModCloth and NastyGal, Dolls Kill relies on social media —in this case, Facebook and Instagram— to connect with current and potential customers. Co-founder Bobby Farahi explains to Re/Code, "When a girl follows Dolls Kill on social media, they don't feel like they're following a brand, but instead a friend of theirs."
The strategy seems to be working: The online store has been growing since its 2011 launch. It just closed a $5 million Series A Investment, and it's projected to bring at least $15 million in revenue this year. If you're looking for the next big thing in retail —or the perfect shredded leggings— Dolls Kill is a company to watch.
· Dolls Kill [Official Site]
· Flesh, Drugs and Instagram: How Dolls Kill Built a Breakout Online Fashion Brand [Re/Code]