Self-Funded, Profitable And Growing Fast: Pink Lily’s Co-Founder Shares Her Secret Self-Funded, Profitable And Growing Fast: Pink Lily’s Co-Founder Shares Her Secret When Tori Gerbig turned her eBay shop into an official e-commerce site, she quickly became one of the fastest growing online retailers of women’s apparel in the United States. Pink Lily is a completely self-funded home for women’s fashion that grew to generate millions in sales, employ over 20 staff and move to a 25,000 square foot warehouse in just three years. With a growth strategy rooted in social media, the company has over 224k followers on Instagram and more than 1.4 million fans on Facebook. What’s the secret? In this Q&A with Gerbig, she tells SWAAY: How did you get the idea for Pink Lily? I always knew I wanted to be self-employed one day. While in college, I studied marketing with a concentration in sales. During one of my classes, I became intrigued with branding and the overall concept of marketing items to consumers. I combined all I learned with my love for fashion and social media, and Pink Lily was born. My goal was to create a place where customers could shop for affordable and stylish clothing, all from the comfort of their home. Tori Gerbig Courtesy of Pink Lily How did your original idea evolve into Pink Lily? Pink Lily actually started as an eBay shop in 2011. When I took maternity leave two years later, it turned into somewhat of a side project for me. I quickly gained a dedicated Facebook following and a fast-growing demand for our products. That’s when business really took off. On January 1, 2014, my husband and I launched Pink Lily’s official website and within six months we both left our jobs to focus full-time on the shop. How do you get the clothing that you sell? We work with over 500 vendors in Los Angeles to find new styles and designs. A portion of our inventory also manufactures just for us. It’s not easy to keep up with the latest trends, but I love the challenge. I’m always flying out to Los Angeles and attending a variety of markets for inspiration. Needless to say, it has been very exciting to watch our brand evolve over the last few years. How do you use social media to further excel your business? We keep our fans engaged on social media, which is how we’ve managed to generate over one million Facebook fans in less than two years! Our posts currently drive roughly 300,000 likes, shares and comments per week. To engage our customers, we host daily contests and giveaways and we let them “be the buyer” when we attend a market show to shop for new looks. Our shipments all go out in a custom poly mailer bag with our logo and exclusive hashtag, so we also ask customers to tag us when they take a selfie in their new outfit. What would you say are your goals for Pink Lily? In the next year, my goals are to successfully open our flagship retail store in Bowling Green, Kentucky, reach $20 million in annual total sales, and grow total social media followers to two million people. Personally, I am also very active on my own Instagram where I frequently incorporate Pink Lily into my posts. The majority of the items I wear are my own from our shop and I tag Pink Lily often. Naturally, many of my followers are also fans and customers of Pink Lily. What do you most credit your success to? Tori Gerbig and her Family Courtesy of Pink Lily My parents taught me that hard work and work ethic are the only things that put everybody on a level playing field when it comes to business. Hard work is something we are all capable of, regardless of how much money you have, what school you went to, or where you grew up. This mindset has made me the hard worker that I am today. When my daughter was born I only took two days off! Zlata Faerman Zlata Faerman is a lifestyle writer with "Zlata Thoughts." Her work has appeared in She Knows, Bravo, SELF, Conde Nast Traveler, STYLECASTER, Cosmopolitan and many others. When she's not writing, Zlata is mostly likely creating (and Snapchatting) recipes for her food blog LifeandThymez.com, enjoying time with her family, or catching up on her DVR.