Adam Bernhard, architect and CEO of HauteLook, at the company’s headquarters… (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles…)
The gig: Architect and arch controlling of HauteLook, an online “flash sale” exchange area associates can buy artist apparel, accessories, home décor and added articles at abysmal discounts during a bound time period. HauteLook, with address in city Los Angeles, was founded four years ago and was acquired in March by Nordstrom Inc. for as abundant as $270 actor in stock. The aggregation had acquirement of added than $100 actor in 2010 and expects sales to acceleration 50% to 60% this year.
Background: Bernhard, 42, grew up in Cheviot Hills and accelerating from Palisades High School. He abounding Cal State Northridge but alone out during his chief year. “I still accept two classes left,” he said. “One day I’m activity aback to accomplishment them for my mom.”
Starting young: Aback Bernhard was in fifth grade, his grandmother gave him $20, which he acclimated to buy balloon gum. He took the gum to academy on the day of the book drive, aback he knew adolescent acceptance would accept cash.
“I gave gum to all the air-conditioned kids. Again I put the gum on my desk, and I sat there and awash gum to the kids for a division apiece, and I’d bought bristles pieces for a quarter. Huge margins,” he said. “I was abject my non-cool friends.”
First ride: Bernhard knew he capital a car aback he angry 16, so at age 14, he got a job busing tables at a bounded pizza joint; he additionally abounding shelves at a angishore and formed at a adjacency gym. His mother akin every dollar he made, and anon afterwards his 16th birthday, he bought a atramentous Volkswagen GTI.
“Most bodies adjudge what they’re activity to buy based on what they have,” he said. “I absitively what I capital to buy, and again I ample out how to get the money.”
Hollywood life: Afterwards college, Bernhard got a job as a assembly abettor on the cine “Disclosure,” the 1994 abstruseness starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. Afterwards that, he did assembly and development assignment for Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions. The two still accumulate in touch, and Bernhard said he took Eastwood to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this year.
Quarter-life crisis: Aback he was 26, Bernhard absitively the cine business wasn’t for him and abruptly abdicate his job. On a whim, he and six accompany flew to Switzerland for a snowboarding trip.
Serial entrepreneur: In the backward 1990s, Bernhard and a acquaintance teamed up with the owners of Mulberry Street Pizzeria, a baby alternation of pizza restaurants. Together, they broadcast the alternation to capital aliment courts and added locations.
After affairs his pale in Mulberry Street, he was approached by a acceptable acquaintance in the accoutrement business who capital to cycle out his accouterment line, Joie, internationally. Bernhard abutting the aggregation and began traveling throughout Europe and Japan to set up all-embracing administration channels.
Got the idea: While alive at Joie, Bernhard noticed a bazaar for off-price appurtenances — about balance or extra commodity that is awash to buyers at below-wholesale prices — and began affairs those items to buyers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Many asked if he could acquisition added products, so he larboard Joie and abutting a liquidating business. Within a few years, Bernhard had set up a website, liquid8usa.com, that awash off-price appurtenances anon to consumers.
Bernhard anon bigger the website and renamed it. HauteLook launched in December 2007 with four advisers in a briefing architecture at the bend of Los Angeles Street and Olympic Boulevard. Today the armpit has added than 6.5 actor members.
How HauteLook works: The aggregation works with above labels to action appurtenances that address to HauteLook’s “California casual” chump base.
Members assurance up for chargeless and accept emails on the latest clandestine sales, which about action 50% to 75% off retail prices and aftermost a few hours to a few days. Brands afresh featured on the armpit included Elizabeth & James, Trina Turk, Betsey Johnson and Jessica Simpson.
Designers like the adjustment because affairs articles on beam sites allows them to abode beyond accomplishment orders, which drives costs down. And because sales are alone accessible for a few days, brands are able to actualize fizz after the accident of affliction their images bottomward the line.
Why it works: Bernhard acknowledges that HauteLook and battling sites such as Rue La La and Gilt took off in ample allotment because of the apathetic economy. But he’s admiration the beginning industry will accept blockage power.
“Great brands at abundant prices will consistently be in style. The absence encourages the customer to appear aback every day. We’ve afflicted the way bodies anticipate about arcade on the Internet. Up until the clandestine auction business, it was intent-based shopping…. What we’ve done is created this discovery-based way of shopping.”
Secret to success: “I don’t accept any fear. If I accept in a product, I can advertise it,” he said. “The No. 1 best able aspect for a acceptable salesman is you accept to be a actual acceptable adjudicator of who you’re affairs to, who you’re ambidextrous with. One affair is constant: Aback you’ve fabricated the sale, stop talking.”
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