Who’s going to bring fashion’s Nasty Gal home?
Multiple sources said the web site, which was founded in 2006 by Sophia Amoruso as a scrappy eBay merchant selling vintage fashions and has branched out into private label and retail, is now on the hunt for a possible buyer.
This story first appeared in the September 13, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
One source described Nasty Gal as a company “aggressively looking for capital” and that process could lead to a sale, while others saw a more direct search for a buyer.
Sources said e-commerce company Revolve is among those that have taken a look at the firm. Nasty Gal has seen an influx of executive talent, but still seems to be seeking its way in a generally down market for fashion, where merchants of all stripes are trying to figure out how to find the profitable balance between retail and e-commerce balance.
Neither Nasty Gal nor Revolve immediately returned queries Monday afternoon.
Michael Kramer, the former chief operating officer of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and chief executive officer of Kellwood Inc., had been helping Nasty Gal out as something of a chief operating officer, according to sources, before he moved on to become chief financial officer of Forever 21 last month. He was working alongside ceo Sheree Waterson, who joined the company in 2014, having previously been president of Lululemon Athletica Inc.
Nasty Gal has been successful raising funds before. According to S&P Capital IQ, the company raised $49 million from Index Ventures in 2012 and another $16 million last year, in a round led by former J.C. Penney and Apple retail chief Ron Johnson.
Nasty Gal was among the buzziest brands in fashion a few years ago and Amoruso had her finger on the pulse.
The first generation of digital darlings is still largely trying to sort out how to make their way through a new fashion landscape where both click and bricks are important. Nasty Gal has two stores — one in Hollywood and one in Santa Monica — and is working the get the formula right.
Since handing over the reins as ceo to Waterson, Amoruso has been less involved in the day-to-day running of the site and more focused on other projects. She published and promoted her book, “#GirlBoss,” in 2014, and is working on another, “Nasty Galaxy,” which is due out in October. She also has a podcast series, #GirlBoss Radio, and is serving as a consulting executive producer for an upcoming Netflix comedy series based on her first book. Actress Britt Robertson, whose film credits last year included “Tomorrowland,” has been cast as Amoruso.
One source said Nasty Gal is hoping that the television show helps give the brand a little extra marketing oomph.
But dealmaking has been slow in the apparel world given the current retail environment as companies of all shapes and sizes look for a little more oomph.