NEW YORK — Arun Gupta, CEO of Grailed, came up with the idea for the company about five years ago, shortly after graduating from college. He realized there wasn’t a dedicated online marketplace for men to trade high-end fashion labels.
“I actually Googled how to make a website,” said Gupta, about the early days of the company. Now Grailed has 3.7 million users worldwide and a sister site for women, called Heroine.
Gupta shared some of his insights and experiences as a founder and CEO with The Associated Press. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity:
Q: What would you tell small business owners?
A: Hiring is like the most important thing you can possibly do. To get the right people in the company and enable them to be successful, give them tools to be successful. That’s the most important thing that you can do. If you want to grow your business, having the right people is like the thing that turbo charges you for growth.
Q: How do you do that?
A: Interview well. And have an attractive company people want to work at.
Q: How do you find the right people?
A: I can give you book recommendations. It’s called “Who” (by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.) That is the iconic book on recruiting. “Radical Candor” (by Kim Scott) is about management and giving feedback to people.
Q: Any advice for someone out of college who wants to start a business?
A: Don’t let yourself be blocked by anything. The two biggest things I see: people who want to start a company but say they don’t have any money or don’t have the right partners. I started this thing by myself and then I found my two partners. And then I never had any money for like for a year and a half. Anybody with a laptop can make anything now.
Q: But you didn’t really need money at first, because all you had to build at first was an online platform. Right?
A: Totally. I designed the business that way. If I had millions of dollars maybe I would have started a retail store. But I didn’t. All I had was my computer.
Joseph Pisani, The Associated Press