When founder Bobby Farahi met Shaudi “Shoddy” Lynn, it was at a rave in L.A. Farahi has said he was immediately drawn to the fashion sense of Lynn, who was a DJ at the time; she, meanwhile, might have appreciated the business acumen of Farahi, who had already sold a broadcast monitoring service called Multivision to a rival company.
As Farahi told Inc. magazine several years ago, the couple, now married, decided to try their hand at business together, calling it Dolls Kill and selling foxtail keychains before eventually evolving the brand into an online boutique that sells edgy, risqué clothes and accessories from companies like Killstar and Motel, both in the U.K., as well as makeup from another London company called Skinnydip.
Shoppers like what they see, evidently. Back in 2014, Inc. reported, Dolls Kill, which is based in San Francisco, generated $7.6 million in sales. It was enough to elicit the attention of the consumer-focused venture firm Maveron, which wrote the company a check for $5 million. Now, shows an SEC filing, seven-year-old Dolls Kill is raising $15 million in new equity funding, and it has secured at least $10.7 million toward that end.
Some of that capital is being used to test out offline stores. Dolls Kill already has one brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco’s famous Haight neighborhood. In August, the company opened a second concept store in a 6,000-square-foot space on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles.
Dolls Kill is sometimes likened to Nasty Gal, founded in 2006 by Sophia Amoruso. Nasty Gal had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016 after raising tens of millions of dollars from investors and reportedly spending heavily on marketing; two storefronts in L.A.; a downtown L.A. headquarters that quadrupled the size of an earlier HQ; and a fulfillment center in Kentucky.
At the time, industry analyst Richie Siegel told the L.A. Times that a central challenge to the company’s growth was Nasty Gal’s target market, suggesting that there is a ceiling to the number of women to whom a brand like Nasty Gal appeals. The company, since acquired by British online retailer Boohoo, continues as an online business only.