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It is now an Amazon-owned company but operates independently from the latter's operation.
Zappos does not operate its business internationally and does not intend to expand its operations internationally.
After launching the company, Nick presented the online retailing concept to Venture Frogs capitalist Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin. Tony was skeptical at first. However, upon learning that about 5% of the $40 billion dollar shoe industry is already being sold through paper mail catalogs, he took the shot and invested on Nick's proposed business model. Nick's idea came about when he did not find a pair of shoes he was looking for from his local mall.
The venture was officially launched under the web name shoesite.com on June 1999. After a few months, the company name was changed to Zappos, a short form of the word ‘Zapatos', a Spanish word meaning shoes.
The tweak in the name is a provision for the company's anticipation of expanding its merchandise offering as the business progress. Zappos achieved a significant gross sales track record of $184 million dollars after two years of operation, attracting its first venture capitalist Sequoia Capital. On the same year, they moved the headquarters from San Francisco to Henderson, Nevada.
In 2007, Zappos expanded their product line and included apparels, handbags, watches and children's merchandise. One year after, the company marked a billion dollar in gross annual sales. A year after, in 2009, Zappos debuted at number twenty-three (23) in Fortune's Top 100 Companies to Work For.
In 2009, Amazon executives came to Zappos with the proposition to buy the company outright. Company executives Hsieh and Lin were hesitant because they would like to retain the company culture rather than simply maximizing profits in a downward economy. The deal was eventually closed in November 2009 in the reported amount of $1.2 billion US dollars.
Three years after the deal, September 1, 2012, Zappos handed over their Kentucky warehouse operation to Amazon. The Kentucky outlet remained open and was renamed 6 pm outlet.