|Headquarters||Boston, United States|
|No. of locations||Three; Boston, New York City and Nørresundby, Denmark|
Karmaloop is a multi-platform web retailer, community style and media company specializing in streetwear ecommerce. The Karmaloop family of sites includes online retailer Karmaloop, internet television station KarmaloopTV, ladies-only site MissKL, flash-sale site PLNDR, online skateboard retailer Brick Harbor, and independent marketplace Kazbah. As of August 2013, Karmaloop.com receives 4.5 million unique visitors a month, was ranked the 1,980th most visited website in the U.S.
In 2000 Greg Selkoe founded a small online retailer in his parents' basement in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Selkoe grew up following break dancing, graffiti art, and fashion, which influenced his decision to focus his business on urban style and streetwear. He was inspired to initiate the venture while helping to garner advertising for a friend's DJ-culture zine in 1999. Selkoe realized that streetwear brands were only available in a few, select cities. His initial concept for Karmaloop was to provide universal reach for hard-to-find boutique streetwear brands:
We noticed these emerging underground clothing lines. But most towns in America had only Old Navy, Gap, or Banana Republic stores. At the same time, a lot of celebrities, skaters, heroes of the culture like [hip-hop artists] Common and Mos Def were wearing these brands—they had terrific brand recognition. So I called them up and said, ‘You must be doing great—I’d like you to buy an ad in this DJ zine.’ They said, ‘We don’t have any money.’ So I would ask, ‘How can that be? With all these celebrities wearing your stuff?’ And the answer was, ‘Those people all live in New York or L.A. If you don’t live there, you can’t get this stuff.’ That was the genesis of the idea ... there were no resellers so you just couldn’t get hold of these brands. But the Internet provides universal reach ... Catalogs have existed for 100 years; an Internet catalog is more dynamic, more exciting, and more efficient.
The Karmaloop flagship brick and mortar store was launched in 2005 on Boston’s Newbury Street. The store carried products available on the website as well as limited edition items, and was often used as a testing ground for new products. In a 2010 interview, Selkoe revealed that the store "never made a penny," and in 2011 it closed. In the meantime Karmaloop's online presence has grown to include Karmaloop.com, MissKL.com, PLNDR.com, BrickHarbor.com, and Kazbah.com. It also launched KarmaloopTV.com, an Internet television station in collaboration with music producer Pharrell Williams and former AMC president Katie McEnroe.
Though the physical store closed, Selkoe expressed a commitment to Boston in an interview with Inc.com: "I wanted to stay in Boston. It's my hometown; plus, there are a lot of really smart kids coming out of the universities here, so we grab them before they go anywhere else."
In 2015, Karmaloop filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while pursuing a debt restructuring and sale of the business, as high-profile potential buyers including Kanye West were said to be circling. Karmaloop's troubles were in part blamed on over-eager expansion. In particular the sites Monark Box, Miss KL and Boylston Trading did not live up to expectations.
Following the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013, Karmaloop and other local retailers produced special Boston-themed merchandise, the proceeds of which were donated to the families of the victims. It released "Boston Strong" t-shrits through its private label KLP and teamed up with Neff headwear to create Forever Boston tank tops.
During the 2008 presidential election Karmaloop registered thousands of voters in conjunction with Declare Yourself. Karmaloop also co-created a series of videos that were shown on KarmaloopTV for the “Why Wait?” campaign that encouraged young voters to vote early in states that allowed it. Microsoft, Dim Mak Records, design firm House Industries, and film director Jason Pollock were campaign partners.
Karmaloop employs the term "Verge Culture" to define its target lifestyle and demographic: creative, early adopting digital natives who follow trends in music, fashion, art, technology, and action sports.
As of 2013, Karmaloop is a vendor for over 500 brands, including its many private label clothing brands including Amongst Friends, Advocate, KLP, Orisue, Pilot Licensing, Society Original Products, Sons of Liberty, Spool & Thread, and VGB.
Karmaloop's opt-in email list is distributed to over 950,000 people. The company also utilizes a 100,000-member global affiliate marketing program to drive online sales and build brand loyalty.
In 2011 it grew 81% and generated $130 million in revenue.
Karmaloop utilizes new media extensively in its promotion to reach its technically savvy and trendy target audience. Since 2012 the company as organized several interactive Livestream events, starting with a Cyber Monday promotion, during which time users can call in to win prizes or engage through social media like Twitter or Instagram. Most events, such as its recurring "Freakathon" variety program, feature musical performances, DJs, and celebrity guests. Participants have included Travie McCoy, Clinton Sparks, Tokimonsta, Andy Milonakis, Brooke Candy, Riff Raff, Wynter Gordon, Flatbush Zombies, VH1's Black Ink Crew, and Bun B.
- Liza Weisstuch (20 March 2008). "In the loop". Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Sheila Shayon (23 September 2011). "Can KarmaloopTV become the MTV of the Hip-Hop Generation?". brandchannel. brandchannel. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Elena (21 February 2013). "Recent Fad for Girls Fashion". Shades of Summer Boutique. Wordpress. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Accessories Staff (31 October 2012). "Vote Drive: Flash Sale Site Seeks Social Media Feedback on New Brands". Accessories: The Voice of the Industry. Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Sam Laird (3 April 2012). "Brick Harbor Aims to Give Skateboarding a New Digital Home [EXCLUSIVE]". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Jian Deleon (29 February 2012). "Interview: Making It In America With Karmaloop CEO Greg Selkoe". Complex Style. Complex Media. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "karmaloop.com". Alexa. Alexa Internet, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Lisa van der Pool (6 May 2010). "Online streetwear retailer Greg Selkoe finds his groove". Boston Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Karmaloop". Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Josh Spear (2 December 2005). "Karmaloop Store Opening". Josh Spear. Josh Spear. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Jayne O'Donnell (12 October 2008). "Karmaloop founder keeps ear to street to sell cool clothes". USA Today. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Karmaloop and the Verge culture". ADventures Boston. ADventures Boston. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Young Entrepreneur, Karmaloop's Greg Selkoe on Social Media & the Verge Culture. Maria Muto-Porter, 2012.
- Rachel Baker (19 June 2008). "Night Lines: The Karmaloop Relaunch Bash". Boston Magazine. Metrocorp, Inc. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Pharrell Williams Named Creative Director at KarmaloopTV, retrieved June 9, 2011
- Liz Welch (1 May 2012). "The ADHD CEO: Greg Selkoe, Karmaloop". Yahoo! Small Business Advisor (from Inc.com). Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Eleazar David Melendez; Kim Bhasin (23 April 2013). "'Boston Strong' Merchandise Rushed To Market As Americans Eager To Wear Their Solidarity". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Inc.com The ADHD CEO: Greg Selkoe, Karmaloop; Liz Welch, May 2012.
- About Karmaloop, karmaloop.com
- "Greg Selkoe". The Huffington Post. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Hypebeast. Hypebeeast Tade: Greg Selkoe - CEO/Founder of Karmaloop.com and Karmaloop TV. February 1st, 2012.
- Steve Annear, BostInno. Karmaloop Hires Webcam Strippers to Livechat for 'Titillating' Cyber Monday Campaign. November 26th, 2012.
- Ed Carrasco, New Media Rock Stars. Live Now: Karmaloop hosts "Freak-a-thon" Live Stream Featuring Bun B and Travie McCoy. December 10th, 2012.
- Patroneer. Streaming Live - RIGHT NOW! Deals Gone Wild.
- Tolisa Abrams, You Heard That New. Tune In to Karmaloop's Freak-a-Thon Live Stream Tonight at 8pm. May 9th, 2013.