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Meet Rachel Gannon of Cara Cara in Miracle Mile

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Gannon.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started out in Macy’s Executive Development Program in New York and quickly learned the ins-and-outs of buying. I worked at macys.com in categories like bedding, social dresses (prom and bridesmaids), and gourmet food. I realized the importance of photography, website merchandising, user experience, and customer reviews in online sales which really helped shape my next career move.

I switched gears and moved to LA in 2016 to work at ban.do as their first and only buyer. I built our third-party buying strategy from a small, few thousand dollar business into a multi-million dollar operation in only two years. I on-boarded major brands, like Levi’s and Vans, which skyrocketed our sales, all while building the buying department from the ground up. I kept my focus on curating on-brand vendors, small and large, and focusing on trending product assortments. It felt like starting my own company within ban.do, which was a great experience for me and helped lead the way to creating cara cara.

From years of working in retail and buying, I noticed a lot of brands still struggle with excess or end of season inventory and the traditional off-price retailers (TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack) are not keeping up with the current consumer landscape. I wanted to create an exit strategy for indie brands excess inventory while offering discounts to thrify shoppers. I also wanted to do it all online and bring a lot of personality and engagement to it while being a frictionless shopping experience. I ended up creating cara cara with my best friend Danielle Adams, our creative director, and my brother John Gannon, COO. cara cara launched in September 2019.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve always been a risk taker, but I won’t say it’s not scary. I took a leap of faith moving to LA in 2016 and leaving behind a promising career with Macy’s in NYC. Luckily, it worked out well and pushed me into the path to creating cara cara. When I launched cara cara I was still working full-time and had to make a decision, or another leap of faith, to leave my stable job and focus on cara cara.

Starting cara cara has been full of challenges, the main one is funding and brand awareness. Having a retail store is inventory intense and requires a lot of upfront funding, I reached out to family and friends to get enough to launch. Once the funding was secured and the brand launched, our next obstacle was building brand awareness, which we are still working on. I’ve been reaching out to friends of friends of friends for press and influencer contacts. Being a new company and small team, you really have to hustle to make things happen.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cara Cara story. Tell us more about the business.
cara cara is a just launched e-commerce brand that is re-inventing what traditional off-price retail looks like today. We curate discounted assortments from covetable indie brands like Baggu, Rachel Antonoff, Samantha Pleet and Charlotte Stone, specifically targeting thrifty shoppers looking for non-mainstream brands that they wouldn’t typically find at larger competitors (TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, etc.). cara cara stands out because of our fun branding and personality, along with our bright and carefree assortment.

In my previous experience, I found that moving through excess inventory was increasingly challenging for smaller brands. These vendors rely on sample sales within their local cities to move through excess inventory quickly, yet don’t make a large enough impact on inventory and are limited in scale. We’re proud to offer an exit strategy to these brands, while simultaneously being able to offer sharp pricing on smaller, quality brands to a broader audience of consumers.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The retail industry is constantly changing and innovating, and it’s really important to keep up. Gen-Z is really into shopping in person, so I think there will be a shift into curated, experiential shopping spaces. The brands who are operating as online only will need to have a physical presence to keep up. Down the road, cara cara would love to have a branded space where people can shop, hang out, and grab a coffee with friends. We want to take our brand a step further and build a community that people want to be a part of.

Pricing:

  • 20-60% off retail prices

Contact Info:

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