Interviews
Arun Gupta
Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Grailed
Arun Gupta

Since starting Grailed, what are the biggest challenges you’ve faced? What have been your biggest learnings and takeaways?

The biggest challenge the company has faced is getting enough people on board who share the same values and mission of the company and are excited about moving it forward. Generally, our audience has this idea that the website just works naturally and the listings post consecutively. Behind the scenes, a lot of time and effort was put into making the website and the mobile app work—and that’s simply the engineering part of it. There is design that needs to happen, product management and marketing if you need that.

Building the right team by finding the right group of individuals who are able to execute these tasks at a high level, as well as accommodating our users’ needs first, is very difficult. We have a really high bar for people we want to bring onto our team and that has made it difficult for us to find people who are open-minded, supportive, collaborative and good at what they do. Finding people who fit all the above is probably the biggest challenge we have faced so far.

The fashion industry has experienced a lot of ups and downs in recent years. What do you think about the current state of the industry and what do you see as the biggest issues facing the industry today? Specifically, what are your thoughts on the state of streetwear?

For so long, men's fashion has only been the “second afterthought” of the fashion world; before you would only see women shopping for their husbands at retailers like Nordstrom but you can see a prominent difference now. Brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent that were not super relevant five years ago are virtually dominating the conversation five years later. It is hard for offline retailers to provide what everyone wants because there is only so much space to lodge products. The advent of ecommerce, like MR PORTER and us is to disseminate all this vintage stuff and change the industry positively. A website that can house these products and make it attainable for everyone is what we stand for at Grailed.

Grailed’s editorial content is up to par with some publications who only focus on editorial. How important do you think this is to Grailed’s growth and success?

The editorial layer started organically. With the website loading in listings from thousands of brands that not a lot of people have heard of, launching Dry Clean Only would help our audience familiarize themselves with brands that are not as well known. Slowly, our editorial has become a platform to educate our users about why all these brands are important. It would be pointless to spend $200 on a T-shirt if you don’t even know the meaning behind the brand.

What’s been your highlight of 2017?

Our women’s web platform, Heroine.com, launched on October 11th for womenswear. Honestly, working on this platform so far has been really amazing and I am really excited to see the reception from the market.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for your brand, and personally?

In the short term we are trying to democratize men's fashion and make it accessible to everybody. Grailed 100 is made to make product accessible to everyone so all of us have the same opportunity. In the long term, we want to be the place that helps people to express themselves from the inside. Building more of a community around the site and fostering a conversation that keeps going on Grailed.com and Heroine.com, would be another great long-term goal as well.

 
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