By Salma Awwad
From dumpster diving to multi-millionaire in just five years
Founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso, went from shoplifting and eating out of a dumpster to owning a multi-million dollar corporation in just five short years.
How did she do it and what is the secret to Nasty Gals phenomenal success?
The online retailer collected $24m in revenue by 2011, only four years from its inception, and is reported to be worth over $100m currently.
The self dubbed “introvert” credits her success to four main factors: Trust in her instincts, staying humble, a natural affinity for social media and creating a world that’s about more than just fashion.
At 22, Amoruso came up with the idea as she worked at an art college, checking IDs. Selling vintage clothes online for a competitive price seemed easy enough. She then bought the book “Starting an eBay Business for Dummies” and her stroke of genius was the product of boredom and love for vintage clothing.
She explains that providing customer service from her bedroom wearing a bathrobe seemed to make more sense than working with people face-to-face. And so her journey began...
From those humble beginnings selling vintage clothes on eBay in 2006, she now employs 350 people in a 40,000 square foot office in downtown LA with a yoga room, has 550,000 daily customers, one million Facebook followers and celebrity fans.
Earlier this year the 30 year old CEO added author to her roster, launching a business book titled #GirlBoss that has been named the most motivational fashion book of the year.
It candidly reveals Amoruso’s downfalls and struggles that lead her to pushing the envelope of the current online fashion retail world. Through chapters like ‘Shoplifting Saved My Life’ and ‘Money Looks Better in the Bank than on Your Feet’ she found a sassy way of delivering an inspiring (and sometime stern) message.
In the book she shares that she suspected having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at age nine. At 16 Amoroso starts taking anti-depressant pills and by 18 survived by ‘dumpster diving’ for free food as she hitchhiked her way through the US.
Finally, at 19, she was caught shoplifting, which convinced her that she needed to turn her life around.
On the day she banked $1m in cash, she took a photograph of her bank account “just in case it didn’t last”. That humble attitude is still engrained in Amorusa and the way she runs her business. She explains how she has a zero tolerance for people with an attitude and has no quam firing people if she catches it taking place in her own work space.
The incredible rags-to-riches tale is taking the media and the world by storm, and it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.
Nasty Gal plans to launch its signature line of shoes, clothing, lingerie and swimwear soon and even a physical retail outlet shortly after that.
In the world of social media, Amoruso rose to be the boss indeed, and now we are all watching to see if she can translate this success from its virtual space to a physical existence.
A new breed of fashion entrepreneurs has been born.
Her story inspires and depresses me at the same time!