Former Apple exec Ron Johnson appointed to board of fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal, leads investment

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
Former Apple executive Ron Johnson, who cultivated the highly successful Apple Store retail initiative, is leading a $16 million investment round for online retailer Nasty Gal, marking his return to the fashion industry.


Nasty Gal's first and only brick-and-mortar location on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. | Source: Nasty Gal


Along with his role in funding, Johnson will join the Los Angeles-based retailer's board of directors as the company builds out a fledgling brick-and-mortar presence, Re/code reported late Thursday. Currently, Nasty Gal operates a single store on Melrose Ave., but plans are in motion to build a second location, possibly with the help of Johnson.

It seems Nasty Gal has at least one other tie to Apple, as founder Sophia Amoruso told the publication she was introduced to Johnson more than one year ago by James Higa of Index Ventures, an existing investor that also contributed to the latest funding round.

Higa started at Apple Japan as director of product marketing from 1984 to 1985, then moved to NeXT in 1989 before leaving the company for RealNetworks in 1996. He returned to Apple in 2001 to work directly under late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs as a senior office director until 2012. His LinkedIn profile describes the latter position as "Special Ops for Steve."

Johnson would discuss Nasty Gal's progress with Higa, who he knew from Apple, and even visited the retailer's first physical store to offer advice to Amoruso when it opened last fall, the report said.

It is unclear how Johnson will split his time between Nasty Gal and duties as chief executive of a startup called Enjoy, which aims to help online shoppers make purchasing decisions. The nuts and bolts behind Enjoy are unknown as the startup has not yet launched.

While at Apple, Johnson was responsible for incubating and realizing the Apple Store concept, which is now one of the company's main sources of revenue. He left Cupertino in 2011 to take on the role of CEO at J.C. Penney, but was drummed out unceremoniously in early 2013 after the department store suffered heavy losses.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30

    1. I don’t envision ever wanting my gal to be nasty, so I’m not sure to whom this caters.

    2. Their bastardization of an Apple Store facade is pretty nasty.

     



    Why would I want a $78 shirt when I can go to a Big & Tall and get a 6XL white T-shirt for, what, $20?

     

    And by ‘I’ I mean women.

     

    EDIT: And by women I mean ‘as distinct from men, one of which I am’. And by that I mean I probably should have just thrown ‘women’ in the original sentence.



    Then again, they’ll spend hundreds on a purse, so what do I know. And by ‘I’ I mean ‘made you look’.

     

  • Reply 2 of 30
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member

    The new job is a huge step down from his days at Apple. Not the kind of career trajectory for him that one might expect.

  • Reply 3 of 30
    Johnson probably could've taken over the CEO position at American Apparel since Dov Charney was kicked out.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,498member

    What the hell?  Ron probably has what is essentially an unlimited amount of money from his holdings in Apple.  I can understand him wanting to take the lead, but he already botched (big time) JCPenney's and now he's looking to run a brand that frankly, sounds like some skank shop?  



    Take a breather Ron.  Take some of that money you made at Apple and go find yourself.  This is simply put, embarrassing.

  • Reply 5 of 30
    You'd have to have brain damage to hire that guy after what he did at JC Penney.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... is leading a $16 million investment round for online retailer Nasty Gal ...

    Better a nasty gal than a skanky ho, I always say.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    I seriously question how much of the success of the Apple Stores was due to him. I think he did well when he had a good set of managers.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member
    So does this place sell clothing catered to women who hang out in the alley by the dumpster? I don't get it. I
  • Reply 9 of 30
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    Better a nasty gal than a skanky ho, I always say.

    Why does this come to mind?

  • Reply 10 of 30
    sflocal wrote: »
    What the hell?  Ron probably has what is essentially an unlimited amount of money from his holdings in Apple.  I can understand him wanting to take the lead, but he already botched (big time) JCPenney's and now he's looking to run a brand that frankly, sounds like some skank shop?  


    Take a breather Ron.  Take some of that money you made at Apple and go find yourself.  This is simply put, embarrassing.

    He's on their board of directors. Not the same as being the CEO.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    Sophia Amoruso had already attracted my attention a while back over some witty comment of hers I ran across, but which I quickly forgot when I looked her up. I suggest you guys do the same before you rush to judgment about Ron Johnson's move.

    Start with this story at [I]ReCode[/I]:

    http://recode.net/2015/02/26/former-apple-retail-exec-ron-johnson-leads-16-million-investment-in-nasty-gal/

    Her Wiki article reveals she got the name "Nasty Gal" from Betty Davis, by the way. An image search is recommended. She, Sophia, is quite photogenic
  • Reply 12 of 30
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,793member

    Isn’t this the guy who ran J.C. Penney into the ground and was fired.

  • Reply 13 of 30

    It would be interesting to know how well Tim Cook would do at another company.

  • Reply 14 of 30
    It would be interesting to know how well Tim Cook would do at another company.

    I, for one, hope we never have to find out. I quite like him running Apple.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    It would be interesting to know how well Tim Cook would do at another company.

    His supply chain management is some of the best in the world, so odds are he'd do well almost anywhere.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I, for one, hope we never have to find out. I quite like him running Apple.

     

    There is that.

  • Reply 17 of 30
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    Isn’t this the guy who ran J.C. Penney into the ground and was fired.

    There's really no saving JC Penney.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    There's really no saving JC Penney.

    What motivates someone to spread toxic negativity like this about something you have no real knowledge about? Maybe if you lived in Paducah, yes, but you live in the most self-absorbed hive on Earth. So better not to talk loose about the prospects of this American institution, lest you contribute to its demise.

    Edit: amended for tone.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    I seriously question how much of the success of the Apple Stores was due to him. I think he did well when he had a good set of managers.

     

    I think Ron was the core of Apple's Stores success.

     

    He just didn't understand JC Penney. He went from premium brand to not so premium/bargain basement brand.

     

    Ron just didn't understand that people don't want the truth... they want to be sold on an idea... true, false or whatever.

     

    He was very fortunate to get a job at Apple. Ron and Apple were a perfect fit. Ron wanted people to have an upscale shopping experience and Apple provided him with the perfect product mix to do just that.

     

    Give Ron an upscale fashion chain and, quite possibly, he'll turn it into something great. Just don't ask him to run a business that relies on coupons or bogo to get its core customers into the store [ ie - an Android manufacturer  :-)  ].

  • Reply 20 of 30
    I think Ron was the core of Apple's Stores success.

    He just didn't understand JC Penney. He went from premium brand to not so premium/bargain basement brand.

    Ron just didn't understand that people don't want the truth... they want to be sold on an idea... true, false or whatever.

    He was very fortunate to get a job at Apple. Ron and Apple were a perfect fit. Ron wanted people to have an upscale shopping experience and Apple provided him with the perfect product mix to do just that.

    Give Ron an upscale fashion chain and, quite possibly, he'll turn it into something great. Just don't ask him to run a business that relies on coupons or bogo to get its core customers into the store [ ie - an Android manufacturer  :-)  ].

    Johnson was formerly head of retail at Target. Clearly he was an executive, not a person who knew the nuts and bolts of running a business that one acquires by... actually starting and running a business.
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