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VIProfile: Chris Gerbig




STORY BY ANGELA REEVES

Chris Gerbig is Co-founder and COO of Pink Lily, a father, husband, and WKU Alumnus. Chris is originally from Evansville and moved to Bowling Green to attend WKU, majoring in Finance. He and wife, Tori, met as students, while working at Rafferty’s and married in 2010. After college, both found careers in their respective fields of finance and marketing, and to supplement her income and enjoy her passion for fashion, Tori began selling women’s clothing on eBay and through a Facebook group. After the birth of their first child in 2013, Tori began to focus on the clothing side-hustle more and in 2014, the couple launched the official website for Pink Lily Boutique.

Chris had started obtaining his MBA before the couple ever considered opening a business. The last semester of his MBA program was when they chose to start the business. They both had full time jobs, Chris had an hour commute to Nashville, they had a 6-month-old baby, and he was taking MBA classes. “Looking back, we realized how crazy that was. Many nights we were up until 2am either packaging orders or doing homework. Tori and I are both grateful for that experience, but glad it’s over,” said Chris.

The couple knew very quickly the business was going to be a big hit, with sales doubling every month for almost the entire first year. However, it wasn’t an easy decision to leave their jobs. “We were very methodical about the process and understood it had to be a calculated risk. Every night we analyzed the daily profits of the store and compared it to what we would need to pay our bills if we were to leave our jobs. As soon as we realized we were making more in one month from Pink Lily than we were making in an entire year from our corporate jobs, we knew it was time to jump in full time,” said Chris. They started the business in January 2014, and both left their corporate jobs by June of that same year.

Pink Lily is now one of the fastest-growing online fashion retailers in America, featuring a wide assortment of colorful and trend-driven women’s clothing, shoes, swimwear and accessories. Pink Lily is headquartered in Bowling Green, and in just over five years, has surpassed more than $70 million in total sales. Over the past three years Pink Lily has achieved 265% growth and was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America.

“It’s been extremely helpful that Tori and I both have business backgrounds and we can tackle different aspects of the business. I can’t tell you a single thing about fashion trends or Instagram likes, and Tori will admit she’s not very knowledgeable in logistics operations or finance,” said Chris. Tori handles everything that deals with the buying and selling of products and Chris runs the business side of Pink Lily, or as they say, Tori is the reason sales are high, and Chris is the reason profits are high. Definitely a dynamic duo! Their success has been accredited to their ability to leverage social media and customer engagement, with an active community who interact with daily contests, product voting, and shopper marketing with the #pinklilystyle hashtag. They offer new and diverse products online daily and in 2017 opened their first retail location in Bowling Green.

The Gerbigs love living and working in Bowling Green, enjoying both the small town vibe and the short drive to Nashville for city life and weekend getaways. They plan to keep Pink Lily headquarters in Bowling Green for as long as possible, loving the access to the talent coming out of WKU’s business school and Fashion Merchandising program and the strong candidate pool of warehousing and fulfillment employees here in town, packing and shipping over 2,000 products per day. In June of this year, Trade & Industry Development magazine named Pink Lily as a recipient of their 14th annual CiCi Award for Community Impact. They stay busy at home as well with their six-year-old son, Jackson, four-year-old daughter, Rylee, and anxiously awaiting another baby on the way, due in January 2020. They enjoy traveling, swimming, having movie nights, going to the lake, and working out together as a family.

The future holds much more opportunity for Pink Lily Boutique and the Gerbigs. They are continuing to scale the business and execute their vision of making Pink Lily a household name globally, currently with 1.6M Facebook followers and 600,000 Instagram followers. They plan to exceed $100 million in sales by the end of 2020, with sales up 80% so far in 2019 alone, and are working with clothing manufacturers to add a Pink Lily branded line, to be sold exclusively under the brand’s umbrella.

You can visit Pink Lily or shop and interact with the brand at www.pinklily.com, @pinklilyboutique on Instagram and The Pink Lily Boutique on Facebook, or at the Bowling Green retail store at 2425 Scottsville Road, Suite 100.

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