Nasty Gal isn’t your typical clothing brand. Almost as interesting as the clothing itself is the story of the founder, Sophia Amoruso. When you’re surfing the site, you may see a mix of edgy and vintage styles from chunky combat boots to shredded hoodies and an audience of the type of girls who’d rather go to an Anti-Prom. But knowing her story, all I see is an empire that was built from the ground up.
Amoruso has been open about her adolescence, which she says consisted of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and stealing from retail stores. Having been diagnosed with ADD and knowing school wasn’t for her, she managed to turn her energy into a business venture. At just 22, she founded an online eBay store, consisting of vintage pieces she found at secondhand stores. A year later, she was banned from eBay which prompted her to launch Nasty Gal into its own independent site.
Nasty Gal’s success earned the label of “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012. In 2014, the first retail store opened in Los Angeles. Though, there have been controversies among the years. A lawsuit was filed in 2015, claiming that Amoruso allegedly fired several employees due to pregnancy, which is against California laws (and generally sh*tty). In addition, there has been backlash from employees with allegations of a “toxic” work environment. In 2015, Amoruso stepped down as CEO and a year later, Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2017, BooHoo announced that they purchased Nasty Gal.
Amoruso is proof that you can create your own resources and that you can do it all on your own. She innately possesses that type of business sense in which she knows the value of a Chanel jacket and that the Salvation Army shouldn’t be selling it for $8. She doesn’t have the conventional background of a typical business owner. She wasn’t handed a “small loan of a million dollars” and she taught herself everything she knows. Amidst stereotypes and prejudice against women in the workforce, what makes Amoruso more inspirational is that she’s the ultimate #GirlBoss.
Though Nasty Gal has faced major changes in the past years, and though the future of the brand is unclear, it doesn’t mean the brand wasn’t successful. It’s not always about the end result, but rather the journey itself. After all of the struggles and controversy, she’s still standing.
Netflix was inspired to make a series adaptation of Amoruso’s book, which stars actress Britt Robertson as Amoruso and features her sharp business sense and sassy humor. The first season is set to be released on April 21, 2017.