Edgy women’s apparel retailer Nasty Gal is cutting 10% of its staff, which CEO Sheree Waterson characterized as “strategic restructuring,” Bloomberg reports.
The mostly online retailer—the company opened its first store in Los Angeles last year—has been on a roller coaster of late, laying off 10% of its staff in 2014 but garnering $16 million in a Series C funding round led by former Apple retail guru Ron Johnson.
Nasty Gal has been beset by reports that it has cheated employees of benefits like maternity leave and other issues, and received critical reviews of a nineties-inspired collaboration with singer Courtney Love this past summer.
If Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso thought the company she founded would be less volatile when she handed over the CEO position a year ago to her number two, Sheree Waterson, she may have mis-judged.
Last time the retailer laid off 10% of its staff, Amoruso said the decision was all hers, but this time the move comes from Waterson. Of course, Amoruso has remained executive chairman as well as the full-time, day-to-day leader of the retailer’s creative and brand marketing teams.
The retailer, like many other e-commerce sites, has been facing competition from fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21 and Zara, which are nimble enough to react to fashion trends and quickly change up their merchandise. Nasty Gal is looking to expand its physical store footprint beyond its two stores in California, following the trend of pure-play online retailers opening more physical locations in a bid to attract more customers, tighten up fulfillment costs, and bring more of an shopping "experience" to consumers.
In any case, the executive shift was meant to bring more operational know-how to the emerging brand so that Amoruso could focus on the creative side. With lawsuits and layoffs and a miss with its Courtney Love collaboration, that seems to be elusive so far.