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Festival Wear E-tailer Dolls Kill Raises $40 Million

The online retailer, which caters to Burning Man fans and TikTok ‘E-Girls,’ plans to strengthen its e-commerce experience, add new brands and expand its international presence.
The retailer plans to bolster online support and expand its international offering | Source: Courtesy
By
  • M.C. Nanda

NEW YORK, United States — Dolls Kill, the online retailer known for its festival wear and following among online "e-girls," has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital, bringing the amount of total capital the company has raised to over $60 million.

Founded in 2011 by former DJ Shoddy Lynn and her partner Bobby Farahi, the brand started within rave and EDM subcultures, offering platform shoes, fishnet unitards and other festival-style pieces. The company declined to reveal revenue figures, but says it’s profitable.

The funding will be used to expand international operations, as well as launching more brands and strengthening digital offerings for the company. “A large percentage of our followers and site traffic are international,” said Farahi. The expansion would also include enhancing delivery and returns as well as providing more on-site support and customer service for international customers.

With the rise of Coachella and general festival-EDM culture in the US, the brand helped establish an online offering similar to Hot Topic and Nasty Gal, pushing other online retailers like Fashion Nova and Pretty Little Thing to expand their categories to include festival wear and rave pieces.

Alfred Lin, former COO, CFO and chairman of Zappos and current partner at Sequoia Capital, led the round of funding and will join the Dolls Kill board. Sequoia has previously invested in companies like Glossier, Charlotte Tilbury and Instacart. "To us, Alfred seemed like the perfect partner," said Dolls Kill Co-Founder and CEO Bobby Farahi. "There are few companies like Zappos that built such technological and operational excellence."

The site has a strong Gen Z following. Recent Instagram posts include an ASMR edition of staffers favourite products and a “Y2K dream girl” outfit. “Their brand values are very aligned to the values of Gen Z,” said Amy Sun, a partner at Sequoia Capital.

The market for festival-goers and Gen Z, once a small niche, has become larger and more competitive in recent years, with larger players like Asos and Pretty Little Thing taking a share of the market by adding specific festival categories and shopping guides.

Winning often means marketing a sense of belonging to a community. “We haven’t built a brand around an aesthetic, we’ve built it around a much deeper movement,” said Farahi.

Dolls Kill cites success with its “Doll” model, creating six personas of “Dolls” that speak to different subcultures within the community, with products and styles sold under these customer archetypes. The new funding will also help expand these brands to strengthen the personas of each “Doll."

Will expansion dilute Doll Kill's appeal with its customers? “We are not going to make decisions around broadening the market that artificially grow the brand,” said Farahi.

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