An entire wall of ModCloth’s offices here is an inspiration board featuring a collage of images: stills from the Zooey Deschanel television series “New Girl,” photos of Taylor Swift in floral dresses, vintage shots of women in turbans, and selfies by 20-something style bloggers with bangs.
ModCloth founder Susan Gregg Koger has had a long love affair with thrifting and vintage clothing. In 2002, with the help of her then-boyfriend (and now husband) Eric Koger, she launched ModCloth, a simple online shop where she sold the finds she could no longer fit in her closet. She made a sale on her first day.
Susan Gregg Koger, 28, and Eric Koger, 29, are the husband-and-wife co-founders and principal owners of ModCloth, an online fashion retailer.
For Eric and Susan Koger, the husband-and-wife duo who founded online shopping site ModCloth Inc. as high school sweethearts, a division of labor has always been clear: he’s tech and she’s fashion.
ModCloth, the indie fashion site best known for its vintage-inspired dresses, is today offering the first look into its revenue situation since 2009. The e-commerce startup, which is backed by roughly $48 million in outside funding, says it did over $100 million in revenue last year, and is now growing faster than 40 percent year-over-year. That’s up from the $15 million it had previously reported in 2009.
If we could flash back to what we were doing as a teenager — um, let’s just say it didn’t involve perfecting the business plan for a future Inc. 500 company. Some people just have that entrepreneurial spirit pumping through their veins from an early age, and ModCloth founder and CCO Susan Gregg Koger, 28, is one of those few. Since starting her company with her then boyfriend (now husband), she’s quickly changed the landscape of community-driven online shopping and finds herself incredibly busy juggling three U.S. offices, 450 employees, an impending in-house line, and scouring around for her next sweet buy (she recently picked through a private collection of 50,000 dresses) — talk about exhausting. But, when it comes down to it, this imaginative, business-savvy lady is all about spending QT with her four-legged loves, Blue and Winston. Okay, cue the awwws.
It’s been just over a year since San Francisco via Pittsburgh style destination ModCloth raised a cool $25 million led by Norwest Venture Partners last June and its young founders are just now putting that money to work.
Over Christmas, employees at ModCloth, the indie and vintage fashion site founded by a husband and wife team, noticed that about 30 percent of the site’s visits were coming from mobile devices. The staggering shift in consumer habits from desktop devices to smartphones and tablets that caught companies like Facebook off-guard was starting to affect smaller online retailers, too.
So ModCloth is coming out with an iPad app today.
Now the thing is they don’t think about the iPad or the phone as just another channel for buying clothes that exist in isolation. They think about how all three devices — the PC, the tablet and the smartphone — work together in concert to help customers decide what to buy and when to buy it.
So for example, they send out push notifications on new items or ones that are just about to run out of stock. Modcloth customers won’t necessarily buy right away, but they’ll save the items from these push notifications for browsing later. The iPhone is for quickly collecting potentially interesting items to check out later.
In contrast, the iPad turns out to be a great device for leisurely browsing.
“With retina images, the iPad is just a fantastic and superior way to shop, so we wanted to focus on it first and foremost,” said Sarah Rose, the company’s vice president of product. In it, Modcloth users can zoom in on fabrics and clothing details.
ModCloth, the retro women’s online clothing store, has created a community page where users can post pictures of themselves wearing and styling their purchases. You can think of it as sort of an in-house Pinterest, populated with photos of real people wearing items that can be purchased with just a couple clicks. Or more precisely, it’s akin to the many personal style apps — SkinnyScoop, Polyvore and Stylebook among them — but coming directly from ModCloth, it’s a retailer combining content, commerce and community all in one place.
I have a girl crush on a fashion website called ModCloth. And I’m not the only one. ModCloth is an e-commerce business selling apparel, accessories and décor, and in a word, it’s adorable. But don’t let that fool you – the site may look as cozy as a kitten, but it’s a lion in disguise. Modcloth is winning one of the most coveted audiences in the consumer marketplace: millennial women. Though definitions vary, millennials are generally described as people between 18 and 31 years old, who have grown up in the age of technology.
Built on a love of vintage garb and thrift shopping, Susan Gregg Koger started online clothing and accessories retailer ModCloth when she was just a freshman in college. With help from then-boyfriend (now husband) Eric, the company used Susan's dorm room as its headquarters. Seven years later, ModCloth is one of the fastest growing retailers in the country. It now employs 350 people and has a thriving community of "ModLovers" who choose (and even create) some of the designs sold on the site.
A Coach Tour Connection
ModCloth Takes On New York Fashion Week
Received $25M Venture Round Funding
Participation Norwest Venture Partners, Accel Partners
On Location: A Day with Our Vintage Buyer, Sari
When Brian Sugar ponders an executive decision at his high-tech start-up here, all he has to do for quick advice is instant-message his business partner — on the other end of the living-room couch.
ModCloth Inc., an Internet retail clothing company based in the Strip District, was ranked by Inc. magazine as the second fastest growing privately-held company in the United States, based on the percentage of revenue growth from 2006 through 2009. ModCloth had a 17,190 percent growth in revenue from 2006 through 2009, reaching $15.6 million. The company was founded in 2002 by former Carnegie Mellon University graduates Susan Gregg Koger and her husband, Eric Koger. Also making the list, released Tuesday, were Empyeran Services LLC. of Sewickley, an engineering and consulting firm, which was rated 252nd, with a revenue growth of 1,225 percent and revenue of $20.6 million. Urban Lending Solutions LLC., a North Side-based mortgage services company, was rated 389th with a 762 percent growth in revenue and $51.3 million. Universal SmartComp. of Washington, which works with companies to reduce their workman's compensation costs, was rated 503rd with a 599 percent growth in revenues that hit $82 million last year.
Or in a basement, bedroom, house or small distribution center. The online retailer specializing in vintage-inspired clothing for women, and a few true vintage pieces, just moved to San Francisco.
Every Internet giant, from Netscape to Google [AMZN 118.87 -1.20 (-1%) ] to Facebook, may have seemed to come out of nowhere to become a brand name, but they all tapped emerging consumer and business trends. This San Francisco-based women’s apparel retailer clearly believes in the wisdom of crowds, to the point that it wants the audience to “Be the Buyer.” Through this program, ModCloth encourages customers to vote for and comment on designs suggested by co-founder Susan Koger. Only items that receive enough votes will be produced. Although ModCloth also sells clothing from independent designers, it was the social nature of its approach that drew the interest of Accel Partners, which led to the preferred stock deal in June that netted the company $19.8 million. ModCloth plans to use the funds to expand its social commerce platform.
Indie fashion site ModCloth has raised $19.8 million in Series B funding in a round led by Accel Partners, with participation from existing investors Floodgate and First Round Capital. As part of the deal Accel's Theresia Gouw Ranzetta will join ModCloth's Board, joining Mike Maples (Floodgate) and Josh Kopelman (First Round), along with ModCloth cofounders (and husband-and-wife) Eric and Susan Koger.
Eric Koger, CEO of ModCloth, was named the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Upstate New York, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia region in the eBusiness category at a ceremony held Friday night. This honor is just the latest in a series of accolades the young couple behind ModCloth has received. In 2009 they were featured by "Inc Magazine" in their 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs and they were recently named one of the Top 15 Tech Entrepreneurs by "BusinessWeek."
Meet the finalists: Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards recognize upstate New York, western Pennsylvania entrepreneurs.
Received $19.8M Series B Funding
Participation Accel Partners, FLOODGATE, First Round Capital, Jeff Fluhr, Harrison Metal Capital
Once again, Bloomberg BusinessWeek's editors and writers have surveyed the tech sector to identify a fresh crop of the most promising technology startups and the young people, age 30 and under, who are steering them. We assembled this year's list by weighing input from venture capitalists, angel investors, our readers, and our editorial staff. Each slide lists the company name, executives who are 30 and under, a business description, and the toughest decision executives have had to make in the past year, where applicable.
Modcloth co-founders Susan Gregg Koger (chief creative officer) and Eric Koger (chief executive) started selling vintage clothing online as undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2005, they were too junior to compete in their school's high-tech business plan competition, the McGinnis Venture Competition (which is listed in our guide to business plan competitions). Instead, they pitched at Colorado State University's Venture Adventure — and lost.