Nasty Gal's 4 Phases to Managing Fast-Track Growth

Online trendy fashion retailer, Nasty Gal has set its sights on breaking into the brick-and-mortar scene next year. Making this leap, the retailer faces many challenges, such as preserving the founder's culture, maintaining digital architecture and keeping money in the bank. To do this, Nasty Gal has developed a four phase approach to managing its fast-track growth plans:
  1. People: Build an experienced team that thrives on challenge. To begin the journey, Nasty Gal had to establish a department in a successful startup by considering the future of its pre-existing team and evaluating the skills that each individual is able to bring to the table. After the right team is in place, it is time to begin growth while maintaining the founder's culture. This allows for passion and maturity, fun and professionalism, while balancing talent, will and domain expertise.
  2. Technology: Architect for pace-layered system tiers. Once the team is in place, it's time to begin making progress. The Nasty Gal team set its focus on its digital architecture devoting itself to API. These API layers help bridge the present and the future, creating a highly-organized architectural vision. To help stay focused the retailer developed the mantra of "money always looks better in the bank than on your feet," according to Dave Thomas, CTO for Nasty Gal. "Following this mantra helped us to always look for cost-effective solutions and spend our money wisely," noted Thomas.

  3. Process: Establish capability to tailor processes by tier. To best tailor its processes to the system type, the retailer turned to Gartner's Pace-Layered App Strategy. With the strategy, the retailer is able to assess the systems of innovation, differentiation and record to help create the best experience for the user.
  1. Product: API-first, mobile-first – drive simplicity to innovate. As a (currently) online-only retailer, Nasty Gal must leverage the digital product to ease the customer experience, avoiding the pitfalls of customer freedom to look elsewhere and become the paramount to go mobile first. There are many constraints such as Twitter and Instagram, which help to drive the innovation process – "with too much freedom, we all deteriorate," noted Thomas.
Now, the retailer will leverage its technology and processes to turn its retail model on its head and launch into brick-and-mortar. With these processes already in place, Nasty Gal will begin to make the opposite transition that many other retailers today are making – adjusting to brick-and-mortar now that its e-commerce is in place. "Our goal is to not overthink things, work hard and be nice to people. With that in place, we are setup to manage our fast-track growth," said Thomas.