Fashion Startups Aspire To Be The Anti-Bonobos

by MR Magazine Staff

Remember when Nasty Gal and Bonobos were the darlings of the e-commerce universe and the envy of fashion startups everywhere? After everything that has happened to them over the last year, those days seem very far away. So allow me to refresh your memory. Back in 2014, Nasty Gal and Bonobos were on top of the world. Nasty Gal, a vintage eBay shop Sophia Amoruso launched in 2006, had blossomed into an e-commerce powerhouse. It had just expanded into a large office in Los Angeles, staffed by a hundred employees, and was generating $300 million in annual revenues. Bonobos, for its part, gained a loyal following almost immediately after it debuted its derriere-enhancing chinos in 2007. Seven years later, Bonobos was about to sell its millionth pair of pants, making $100 million a year, and readying for a 30 brick-and-mortar store expansion around the country. Consumers loved these brands, as did the investors who lined up to fund the companies’ growth. Nasty Gal scored $65 million in capital, while Bonobos raked in over $127 million. Each new round of funding was splashed across the business section of newspapers, creating an even brighter halo. The success of Bonobos and Nasty Gal prompted a lot of entrepreneurs to try building fashion startups of their own. Andy Dunn, Bonobo’s founder and CEO, literally wrote a manual for them in a blog post about how to build a “digitally native vertical brand”. A new flock of fashion brands like Mizzen + Main, Cuyana, M.Gemi, and many others followed this script very carefully. “We watched these brands explode and we wanted to be just like them,” says Sasha Koehn, who cofounded menswear brand Buck Mason in 2014. “But not anymore.” Read more at Fast Company.