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- Photo by Photo by Michael Schwartz, via
Racked: Can you tell us a bit about Need’s origin story and how you fit in it?
GR: Need has been around for about 17 years now, and I have a partner, Chris Bossola, who founded it way way, way, way back in 1996. He started with
- So I moved up to Richmond and I was putting a lot of energy into creating this T-shirt line, hoping to evolve to a full line one day. I knew the guys, Chris, and he actually has a former business partner that he started the company with. He was a really g
- We launched [e-commerce] in 2008. I’d say November was our first full month online. It felt like the tail end of holiday season, but it was really quiet. It was really funny, if a sale came in, I was like “Yeah!” It starts so small, where you’re
Racked: What do you look for when you go to the shows?
GR: Sometimes there are specific things, but a lot of it is just looking for things that are interesting. I pay a lot of attention to brand, how they present themselves. If a pers
Racked: Going back to the start of the e-commerce site 2008, that was a harsh time in the American economy. What was your thought process back then? What did you expect to come out of e-commerce site?
GR: The economy was suffering and it wa
- I talk about how there’s a couple different ways companies are started. We came from the bottom up. We just slowly have grown, and we funded it all ourselves. And then there’s companies—really great ones like, you know, a Mr. Porter—but
And there wasn’t a heavy, heavy expectation right away. There wasn’t a we had to hit certain numbers, or we had to do this or that. It was all kind of positive.
I’ve always had in my head that I believe in what we’re doi
- Racked: So where does the Meet the Maker series fit in that ability? [Ed. note: The Meet the Maker series is an event held at the store in which a designer or brand director, like
Racked: What connects all the content on the Need Supply blog?
GR: The blog is a mix of our product and allows us to talk about some of the brands. Because we bring in some small lines, like a little shoe company from Australia, [they] may n
Racked: And you guys also do the Human Beings Journal. Would you say the blog is in conversation with the journal or is it a separate thing? What does the journal add to the company that maybe the blog wouldn’t?
GR: The journal was dear to m
Need Supply Co., a men's and women's boutique based in Richmond, Virginia, is a stalwart in the fashion community largely thanks to its online site. It's so complete that one of Racked's editors thought Need was solely an e-commerce business until very recently. Actually, the company has been around since 1996, when founder Chris Bossola started selling vintage Levi's to local kids and the nearby VCU students. It evolved it into a multi-brand boutique over the years, but when the site launched in 2008, it proved to be a gamechanger. The brand came into its own on a national level with recognition in publications like GQ and Lucky, and it ranked a hefty 723 in Inc. magazine's list of the US's 5,000 fastest-growing companies this year. We spoke Gabriel Ricioppo, Need's creative director and the man responsible for developing the site, in hopes of breaking down some sort of recipe for success in retail's online space. Instead we found more of a slow boil made of a hodgepodge of things he and his team likes.
*All images are stills from the gift guide—Gabriel's latest project— currently on Need Supply's site. Shop it here.
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