Greg Selkoe – Founder of Karmaloop – TRANSCRIPT
Greg is an American entrepreneur, personality, Harvard Grad and the founder of Karmaloop.com. Since the time of this AMA, Greg has also launchedLooklive, a platform that allows you to browse the style of your favorite celebrities and influencers and shop their looks. Stay up-to date with Greg by following him on Twitter.
The AMA with Greg was held on September 9th, 2015. This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.
Welcome again, Greg Selkoe – To read more about Greg before you ask questions check out his wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Selkoe
Haven’t looked at my Wiki page in a while… Needs some updates Hahhahha
Welcome to Online Geniuses. Just read Karmaloop’s ‘About Us’ story and it sounds like quite a story. Any advice you would give to someone starting out in marketing but wanting to break into the fashion/streetwear industry?
Do you want to do marketing in Streetwear or move into another role?
Eventually, I’d like to move into a project management role.
If I were you, I would pick your favorite Streetwear label, offer to do some unpaid interning / volunteering etc. and get your feet wet.
Who was your role-model?
Role-models: my Dad, Pharrell, Marc Jacobs, MLK.
Where did you start when it came to suppliers? And did you start with a warehouse? Drop-shipping?
I started in my parents’ basement. I started out by getting a few brands to do consignment with me and built from there … But I took inventory and fulfilled by myself in the beginning.
What was the biggest factor for KL’s growth? Affiliates, new trend of streetwear, KL brand, etc. and where does most of your traffic come from? social, SEO, etc…?
Well, after founding KL and being CEO for 15 years, I left a few months ago starting something new but… We built a lot of traffic from content and mutually beneficial partnerships but of course affiliates, SEO and SEM all mattered.
SinceKarmaloop, what’s been your next major focus?
I am working on a project with Pharrell that is a conference we are putting together, and a new eCommerce site.
Also, what role did Frankie Colamarino play at Karmaloop? He stated he was a creative director there w/ Dennis Todisco? Further, I’m sure you know, but you put a lot of people on in the street wear industry. I personally know a lot of brands, that were 100% dependent on Kazbah. Looking back on Kazbah, what would you do differently, if anything, if you were to relaunch this tomorrow?
Yeah, Frankie was on the team, no doubt good dude… We launched hundreds of careers… With Kazbah, I think we should have been more selective and focused on having less brands but building deeper with them.
Yeah, man – it was crazy to see how much revenue small players were generating with the Kazbah platform. Going back in time eight years, would you put more emphasis on retail locations, or would you have still rode mostly online?
I think def bricks and clicks is where it is at, so yes would have tried a retail strategy… Lots of things I would do differently for sure!
What’s your day-to-day schedule?
Day to day travel meetings, calls, emails, Twitter – non-stop movement!!! Not slowing down (;
How would you describe your leadership philosophy?
Well I tried to lead by being inclusive and working as hard as anyone working for me… I always tried to have a loose and relaxed policy, and let people work as they felt was the best style for them. That being said, I think I made some mistakes. I def promoted people who were enthusiastic and seemed to be go getters but in some cases didn’t have the skills developed yet for the role. I wanted the environment to be fun and inspiring…
What were some of the big mistakes you made while growing your company?
I tried to do to many things, although there was a lot of pressure to expand horizontally withnew brands, etc. I picked a very bad financial partner – that wound up being the single biggest mistake. Those are just some of many…
Karmaloop is a very successful brand and company. How do you stay hungry and motivated to keep taking it to the next level?
Well,Karmaloop was very successful. I am not there anymore, and it has gone way downhill…That being said, it was an amazing ride for 15 years and we accomplished many great milestones… I stay hungry by doing things I like that have a bigger goal or purpose and meeting new talented people that motivate me.