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Leading ladies: Spotlight on Sophia Amoruso

Dec 04, 2018


Most people know Sophia Amoruso as the founder of Nasty Gal. Her vintage fashion brand made a significant impact in 2010, but Amoruso likes to point out that she had been trading on eBay as early as 2006. Want to learn more about this incredible female entrepreneur? Read on.  

The Beginning 

Sophia was just 22 when she launched her online fashion store, running her business from the comfort of her bedroom. She likes to tell people that she became a successful entrepreneur by accident; initially starting her clothing store as a way of making some extra money to help pay the bills. However, having dropped out of college, she was finding it difficult to hold down a reliable job that fit. The branding of Nasty Gal gave it an edgy and distinctive style that quickly gathered a loyal audience. The unexpected growth pushed Amoruso to remove her store on eBay and set up a dedicated web platform for Nasty Gal; it quickly became a massive success.

Success and failure

Nasty Gal was so successful that Amoruso even appeared on the front cover of Forbes, dubbed as ‘fashion’s new phenom’. Extreme business growth quickly followed, and at its peak, Nasty Gal was employing 200 employees in shared office space and was generating almost $100million in sales. However, a series of missteps hit Nasty Gal hard, and the business was forced to file for bankruptcy in late 2016. The brand now belongs to the UK company Boohoo.com, and some people thought that was the last the business world would hear of Amoruso. It certainly wasn’t. 

Leading ladies: Sophia Amaruso

Learning from mistakes

Even as the sale of Nasty Gal was going through, she was heavily promoting her New York Times bestselling book #Girlboss. That book eventually became a Netflix series of the same name, and last year she founded Girlboss media. With a focus on female empowerment, Girlboss Media continues to provide valuable information and resources for modern, female entrepreneurs. 

Although there were a number of factors that lead to the downfall of Nasty Gal, Amoruso is a firm believer in the use of failure. Getting up, trying again, and repeating the process is essential. She is always learning, and she does so by doing. After the rapid growth and loss of control of Nasty Gal, she keeps her current company much closer knit, meaning that she has far greater control over business decisions. 

Natural growth

The transition from clothing brand to media company has happened in a seemingly fluid and organic way, and she believes that letting things grow in such a way is a positive method for generating business growth. With her book as the foundation, Girlboss Media has expanded into podcasts (Girlboss Radio), as well as the Netflix adaptation of her early years. When she started Nasty Gal, Amoruso was out of options. By the time that she launched Girlboss Media, she had financial security and a recognisable brand. It has allowed her to align both her purpose and her opportunities. 


Where Nasty Gal was all about helping women feel more confident, Girlboss Media is all about giving women access to the resources and tools that they need, and opening connections between women that will help them grow. She is now providing women with the resources that she wishes she had when she first started trading from her bedroom. Bringing women together to make them stronger is the goal of Amoruso, and Girlboss Media looks like making that an achievable goal.


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