One Kings Lane Stocks Up on Talent as Revenue Is Projected to Hit $200 Million
In an interview, One Kings Lane CEO Doug Mack said the luxury home decor site is on target to hit $200 million in net revenue this year.
Additionally, to fuel the company’s growth, it has plans to hire aggressively, and recently appointed four new high-level executives.
“We want to be the most-visited premium home site in the U.S.,” Mack said, adding that the goal is to rival household names, like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, West Elm and Restoration Hardware.
The four new hires are VP of Brand Development Sascha Jamall, who most recently ran brand and sourcing at Michaels Arts and Crafts; VP of Legal and General Counsel Susan Stick, who previously held a similar title at Skype; Chief People Officer John K. Anderson, who joins from Quidsi, a subsidiary of Amazon.com; and Chief Product & Technology Officer Jean Sini, who most recently ran engineering at Mint.com.
By the end of the year, Mack said, the San Francisco company could add 30 to 50 employees to bring the total headcount to as many as 350. Most of the new hires will be engineers, he said, adding that Sini has a “blank check” to add as much talent as needed.
One Kings Lane was founded in late 2008 by Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus (wife of Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, the social games company); Mack joined two years ago.
The online retailer sells designer items for the home, ranging from large oriental rugs to sophisticated and modern side tables. Most of the products are sold at deep discounts, and because of limited inventory and scarcity of availability on other sites, some items can sell out in as little as five minutes. If they don’t, they are pulled from the site within 72 hours.
Mack, who is insanely bullish about the company’s prospects, said that even though it is not yet profitable, he doesn’t consider the plans frivolous. Over the past year, One Kings Lane has been able to double top-line revenue, while also managing to cut losses in half.
Still, despite the retailer’s accomplishments, it has remained fairly quiet about its plans, with the exception of announcing several large funding rounds. Last September, the company raised $40 million from Tiger Global Management, Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Greylock Partners. The round brought total funding to $67 million and valued the firm at $440 million.
Since launching more than three years ago, the company has slowly expanded beyond its roots as a flash sales site.
In 2010, it added “tag sales,” which lets larger-scale interior designers sell off unused items on the site, and this year, it introduced a marketplace, allowing third-party boutiques to sell their unsold inventory on the site — although not all that apply are approved.
To keep up with demand from its five million members, Mack estimates that the site is now listing between 1,000 and 2,000 new products every day, but the goal is not to increase that number too much. Instead, he said, the company wants to stock more of each item to keep from selling out. That way, the site continues to be easy to browse, unlike large retailers that stock millions of items.
Mack said there are two primary ways that One Kings Lane will grow in the future.
The first is by gaining a larger share of home decor purchases, as more shopping shifts online.
He estimates that in 2007 the online home decor market totaled $9 billion, and that by 2015 it will be worth $23 billion. He also anticipates shopping to continue to increase on mobile phones. Already, mobile makes up 22 percent of the company’s sales, and it’s still growing. Other flash sales sites, including Gilt Groupe and Fab.com, are also hoping to benefit from this trend.
The second opportunity is for One Kings Lane to begin designing its own product lines, which is precisely why Mack hired Jamall, the company’s new VP of brand development. As part of Jamall’s responsibilities, he will work with existing suppliers to create one-of-a-kind products for the site. The products could either carry the vendor’s name or the One Kings Lane brand.
At some point, Mack said, an IPO is an option for One Kings Lane, but he isn’t in a hurry — especially as it spends aggressively during this hiring blitz.
“We are enjoying being nimble and operating in the private capital markets,” he quipped.