Intro to Emerging e-Commerce Giant Nasty Gal

Intro to Emerging e-Commerce Giant Nasty GalNasty Gal was dubbed the “Fastest Growing Retailer” by INC Magazine in 2012.  Many people wonder how one out of many different fashion sites and lifestyle brands could grow so quickly.  On the surface, there are many different brands that target young, fashionable, and powerful women.  Nasty Gal has done a superior job creating a lifestyle brand in addition to a superior shopping experience.

The Nasty Gal Story

Sophia Amoruso founded Nasty Gal as a simple eBay store in 2006.  Amoruso would browse thrift stores for hidden vintage treasures and sell them at a steep markup.  Amorouso grew her brand into a social phenomenon by starting a MySpace page in 2007.  Customers could connect with the face behind the brand.  Instead of purchasing a standalone vintage designer jacket, they were purchasing a lifestyle. In 2008, Nasty Gal moved off of eBay and founded its own e-commerce site.  Nasty Gal’s first employee was hired in 2009.  By 2013, Nasty Gal has over 110 employees.  Nasty Gal is an excellent study in the importance behind building a lifestyle brand.  eBay shoppers could easily find vintage clothing elsewhere on eBay, but many chose not to.  Amorouso sold more than vintage treasures.  She continues to sell a lifestyle to young women.

What’s the Secret?

Nasty Gal has incorporated many items for sale into its brand.  Many women might not be eager to wear a highly revealing dress to work or to dinner with friends, but the couture designs keep online shoppers looking at inventory.  The inventory mimics the lifestyle and the brand.  Styles of clothing sold range from wardrobe essentials such as a nude slip to couture fashions.  There is something more engaging about the brand and about the online store.  There is a reason for online shoppers to browse.

Why People Still Shop at the Mall

Purchasing items at the local mall during the holiday season can appear suboptimal in many different ways.  Shoppers have to physically drive to the location.  Shoppers then have to drive in circles when finding parking.  Furthermore, shoppers have to deal with the hassle of standing in lines and fighting crowds.  Often, shoppers at the mall are redirected to a store’s website in order to find the color or size of an item they want to purchase.  However, shoppers still go to the mall for the social experience.  Favorite brands have store personnel that represent the brand.  And, shoppers have the ability to browse.  It is common for shoppers to purchase items that they were not originally looking for or observe an interesting item that they do not purchase.   Recreating the social and browsing aspects of in-store shopping online can be difficult to achieve.

The Three Shopping Essentials

People shop at a particular online or brick and mortar store for three main reasons:

  1. Purchased items are seen as having value.
  2. There is a social element when shopping.
  3. The shopping experience is convenient or otherwise pleasant.

Amoruso had all three elements in place.  She had an accessible eBay presence.  She had a significant following on MySpace.  She branched out by creating her own website and further crafting her lifestyle brand in order to improve the shopping experience.

An Exciting Online Shopping Experience

Many Nasty Gal shoppers probably do not know exactly what they will see next.  There are a few essentials that define the brand and are highly appealing to the target audience.  However, there are unexpected items in the inventory.  The brand is niche but not too niche.  It offers a comprehensive and inspired. The products remain accessible to the common online shopper.

What’s Next for Nasty Gal?

Nasty Gal has launched Super Nasty, a lifestyle magazine.  The magazine should further build the persona behind the brand by bridging the gap between fashion, music, and culture.  Methodical brand-building can be largely attributed to Nasty Gal’s sudden growth.  The company remains free of debt.  The original eBay store and MySpace page were the building blocks for an e-commerce sensation a short five years down the road.

How Simple Ideas and Passionate People Make e-Commerce Work

Jumping on the e-commerce circuit is not an easy way to make quick cash.  Amoruso is the perfect example of the successful online entrepreneur.  She slowly built a brand and business around personal interests and beliefs.  Like other entrepreneurs, Nasty Gal continues to be a labor of love.  Almost anyone can sell stuff on eBay from a thrift store.  Not everyone can create a highly successful lifestyle brand.

Ella Gray is happy home maker and self proclaimed online shopping addict.  Please feel free to email her at

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