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• Founder Nick Swinmurn comes up with the idea to start an online shoe destination called ShoeSite.com.
• Swinmurn meets Tony Hsieh, a young entrepreneur who invests $500,000 in the company.
• In July, the name is changed to Zappos.com, after zapatos, which is Spanish for “shoes.”
• Gross sales are minimal.
• Hsieh, then running a venture capital firm called Venture Frogs, comes on board as
co-CEO with Swinmurn.
• $1.6 million in gross sales.
• $8.6 million in gross sales.
• Zappos takes on its own inventory, opening a fulfillment center in Kentucky.
• $32 million in gross sales.
• $70 million in gross sales.
• Zappos moves from San Francisco to its
current location in Henderson, Nev.
• Sequoia Capital invests in the site.
• The first Zappos outlet store opens in Kentucky.
• The company publishes its first “Culture Book,” filled with employee contributions about the corporate culture.
• $184 million in gross sales.
• Hsieh hires Venture Frogs co-founder Alfred Lin to be the e-tailer’s CFO full-time.
• Sequoia provides a second round of investment, totaling $35 million altogether.
• Zappos offers its first quit-now bonuses ($100 at the time) to new hires who want to leave after training. It is now $2,000.
• Footwear News names Zappos E-tailer of the Year.
• $370 million in gross sales.
• Swinmurn leaves the company.
• Zappos moves to a larger fulfillment center in Shepherdsville, Ky.
• $597 million in gross sales.
• Zappos’ Canadian site launches.
• The company acquires footwear and accessories e-tailer 6pm.com from eBags.com.
• New categories are added, including handbags, eyewear, clothing, kids’ merchandise and watches.
• $840 million in gross sales.
• $1 billion in gross sales.
• Zappos debuts first TV ad campaign, “Put a Little Zappos in Your Day.”
• In July, the fulfillment center in Shepherdsville installs a new system using Kiva robots to help fill orders.
• In November, Zappos lays off 8 percent of its workforce.
• In December, the company launches
ZapposInsights.com, a subscription service ($40 per month), where other businesses learn from its success and pose questions to current employees.
• Zappos turns 10.
• In February, Fortune magazine ranks Zappos as No. 23 on its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.
• Product-driven ads hit major cable networks.