Richmond, VA isn't exactly an established fashion destination like, say, New York City, but look closer and there’s one store that has been holding it down for the city for 17 years: Need Supply Co.
Need Supply Co. was founded by Chris Bossola and the site's creative director Gabriel Ricioppo in 1996 during a time when noisy dial-up sounds and the Internet went hand-in-hand, and when online shopping was still unheard of. Their story, as we learned in this Racked NY interview, was all about starting from the bottom and making it to the top, which is where they are now, with hard work, diligence, and simplicity.
When Need Supply Co. first set up its e-commerce shop, as per Ricioppo's suggestion, business online was slow. "It felt llike the tail end of holiday season, but it was really quite," Ricioppo told Racked NY. "It was really funny, if a sale came in, I was like 'Yeah!' It starts so small where you're just looking for every order. And the first handful of them were fradulent. We learned quickly about that whole side of it."
At the time, Need Supply Co. was funded solely by Ricioppo and Bossola; they didn't have some huge company throwing money at them. Instead they "were this little guy that kind of just started one step at a time," as Ricioppo says. Though this may have been tough to deal with for some companies, not so for the Need Supply Co. team.
"I've always had in my head that I believe in what we're doing," Ricioppo said in the Racked NY interview. "I thought there was a space for us, and I thought that we were unique in the vision that we saw for the store." Faith in their product plus "a lot of hard work" and "late nights" was the key to their success.
Business eventually picked up and has been on the rise since. Today, Need Supply Co. is one of the fastest-growing companies this year, coming in at 723 in Inc. magazine's "The 2013 Inc. 5,000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Companies." It carries a multitude of brands and products, but has also expanded into things like "The Meet the Maker" event where designers come for talks, as well as a biannual print magazine Human Beings Journal. All of this accomplished with simplicty, says Ricioppo.
"We always try to as a company to keep everything as simple as can be. Edit, edit, edit. [Laughing] I would like to think if there was anything that could be written on my tombstone, it would be “he tried to do the most with the least.”
Visit the Racked website for the rest of the extensive interview.