The Fashion Informer has learned that online fashion retailer Girlshop, which was a pioneer in hipster e-com sites when it launched back in 1998, is going out of business. "All our staff was let go over a month ago," Girlshop owner, Laura Eisman, told us via e-mail. "We're basically run out of business by all the online competition."
But when Girlshop launched nearly a decade ago (which is, like, 100 years in Tech-land), selling a mix of better known designers and up-and-coming brands - like Louis Verdad, Kenneth Jay Lane, Ginger and Java, Foley, Subversive, Plenty, Selima, Alka Vora and Ko.Des - there really was nothing like it on the Web.
"I was working at Marie Claire [as a senior designer] at the time and a lot of great stuff came in that never made it into the magazine," Eisman recalled of Girlshop's genesis, during an interview we did with her back in 2005. "I thought, wouldn't it be great to introduce people to all the stuff I love?"
After a brief stint as creative director at iVillage and an even briefer stint working on Roger Black's internet start-up, she decided to strike out on her own - with a little help from her friends. Eisman paid a computer tech pal $5,000 to do the nuts-and-bolts programming, but designed the site, brokered the deals with the designers she wanted to carry, and even wrote most of the HTML code herself. "I was very much into the e-com thing," she said.
Then-fledgling designers like Cynthia Rowley shared Eisman's e-com enthusiasm and immediately signed on, which helped cement the site's rep as a place for cool, fashion-forward gals to find cool, fashion-forward merch. Girlshop was an instant hit and Eisman and her business partner boyfriend (now husband), Todd Richter, added Guyshop a year later, followed by Totshop in 2000 and by a bricks-and-mortar Girlshop outpost in New York's Meatpacking District in 2005.
Today, of course, there are scores of like-minded Websites, which is the reason for Girlshop's demise.
"We created a great category but we're not unique anymore," Eisman told The Fashion Informer of her decision to shutter the business.
So what's next on the agenda for the entrepreneurial couple, who now have a 3-year-old daughter, Lillian Summer?
"Taking a break!" said Eisman.