Starting a Web Retailer
Interview with Greg Selkoe, Founder of Karmaloop.com
Greg Selkoe had a passion for streetware fashion. Today Karmaloop.com sells products, produces tv shows and hosts the social networking site Junglelife.
Greg Selkoe founded Karmaloop.com in 2000 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Karmaloop is a multi-platformed web retailer specializing in global streetwear fashion. The Karmaloop family of sites includes online retailer Karmaloop, Internet TV station KarmaloopTV and social networking endeavor Junglelife.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I had a passion for streetwear and wanted to provide a platform where many of these up and coming brands in the streetwear movement could be housed in one place. Karmaloop.com began providing easy access to clothing that was once only found in exclusive city boutiques.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was working as an Urban Planner for the city of Boston in the Boston Redevelopment Authority working on housing. This is my first business.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
I started the business in my parent's basement. One of the main benefits was low overhead costs which gave me time to cultivate my brand.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you select a partner?
While there was no official partner, I leaned heavily on my girlfriend (now wife) to help me with my business. She dropped packages off at the post office on the way to work, supported my business in its beginning stages, provided fashion advise to grow their women's department and now runs a political show on KarmaloopTV called Globaloop.
Finding employees to work in a new and growing business can be a challenge. How did you find your employees?
Our employees come from a variety of places such as local community business groups like ladies lotto and university recruiters to get fresh young talent, but most are cultivated via recommendations from current employees and colleagues at other brands.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Absolutely. Social marketing plays a huge role in generating business for us. Karmaloop's target demo consists of the young influencers that spend a massive amount of time on the Internet reading blogs, using Facebook and reading Twitter. Karmaloop posts upcoming events and receives feedback directly from the people who buy our products.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Keep trying and believe in yourself. Karmaloop had to struggle for a while before the company hit it big.
Thank you, Greg for taking the time to share your business tips with us at Gaebler.com.
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