Featured Profiles

The Self Made Billionaire

Sophie Amoruso is an Award-Winning Serial Entrepreneur and a New York Times Best Selling Author, and Founder of the famous brands, Nasty Gal and GirlBoss. She has forged an unparalleled path in building iconic brands and has evolved from one of the most prominent figures in fashion to a cultural thought leader.

We all have experienced ups and downs in our lives. Through failures and heartbreaks, we learn to evolve and grow. We have all heard the saying change is the only constant. But as we grow up, we recognize the reality of it all. In the end, it all comes down to how strong we are, do we choose to pick ourselves up? Or do we decide to sit down and wallow in it?

That brings us to the story of Sophie Amoruso. A story of failure with a silver lining. Raw, passionate, relentless. She never backed down and faced all her challenges head-on. Sophie was the infamous Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an icon for Girl Bosses worldwide.

Amoruso was a troubled adolescent and a college dropout who bounced from one minimum-wage job to the next. She is a fashion enthusiast who stumbled upon the opportunity of selling vintage clothes online. Amoruso paved her way through hard work and determination to build a business at the early age of just 22. She started the brand selling clothes on E-Bay in her bedroom, and after only a year and a half of this, Nasty Gal Vintage was doing around $115,000 in sales and earning $20,000 in profit. However, credibility on E-Bay was shot down due to some reasons, and her sales started dropping.

But that did not stop young Amoruso; she thought it would be even better if she could start her site. She soon moved into a store and named it Nasty Gal, that was such a big hit that it blossomed into a thriving company pulling in $100 million in revenue with almost 200 employees just after six years of its inception.

Due to Nasty Gal’s initial success and Amoruso’s great marketing genius, the entrepreneur’s autobiography, “#Girlboss,” was a hit, spending 18 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2014.

In her interview with The Cut, she explained what her book was all about. “Like most books by CEOs, #GIRLBOSS is a marketing tool—an effort to broadcast the author’s brand more widely—but it is also a passion project. When someone tweeted a complaint about the book’s title, suggesting that grown women shouldn’t be calling themselves girls, Amoruso responded immediately: “How’s #BROADBOSS? or would you prefer #MATRONBOSS?” “I mean, come on,” she says later in her unruffled tone. “I don’t like it when an old man says, [creepy voice] ‘Let’s invite the girls to dinner,’ but I think it’s okay to call girls, girls.” Pause. “And I think it’s okay to call girls bossy.”

The front cover of #GIRLBOSS has Amoruso in a tight black dress and spiky necklace, fists balled against her hips. One of her eyebrows is arched, not the typical #GirlBoss you would have envisioned, but a rather spectacular one who is relatable to every millennial.

In 2016, Netflix announced that it had a series based on Amoruso’s life in the works. That year, Forbes called Amoruso one of America’s richest self-made women. However, behind the facade, her Nasty Gal’s sales had been steadily dropping, from $85 million in 2014 to $77 million in 2015, according to bankruptcy documents.

A year later, Sophie’s life came crashing down before her own eyes. Her company was failing, her one-year-long marriage was on the cusp of a bitter divorce, but she held her head high and smiled for her bold shot on the cover of Forbes Magazine, 2016. In her interview with The Los Angeles Times, she admitted that appearances could be deceiving, she pointed to her 2016 Forbes cover as an example.

After being charged with multiple lawsuits, Amoruso stepped down as Nasty Gal’s Chief Executive Officer in 2015 but stayed on for a time as Executive Chairwoman. In 2016, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy, and she resigned. Her marriage also ended by then.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said, “It’s a different world, about how things have shifted since the release of “#Girlboss.” “I’ve been processing and learning from everything that I’ve experienced while at the same time being inspired by the girls who are experiencing the same thing.”

With the encouragement and support of her peers, Amoruso did not wallow around and kept working towards building her empire, she said, “rather than accepting what the world has said about me.” She quickly launched Girlboss by using the community she had built through her book and its subsequent endeavours, the Girlboss Radio podcast, the Girlboss Rally, and not forgetting the infamous Netflix series #GirlBoss.

In an instant, women everywhere were using the term, from Instagram to LinkedIn, as it came to encompass more than the definition of a female CEO and instead embodied women’s overall attitude and empowered them to achieve anything they desired. The girl boss Instagram account has 1.7 million followers, and to date, the term has been hashtagged more than 22.4 million times. Celebrities from Miranda Kerr to Gwyneth Paltrow have self-identified as girl bosses amongst others.

But then disaster hit again. The company found itself drowning amidst the pandemic. Amoruso said on Instagram that she and ten others would leave the company, calling the Covid-19 pandemic “a head-on, high-speed collision” that “decimated” revenue for Girlboss, derailing a “high 8-figure partnership” and other deals. “As you know, the effects of Covid on our business have been devastating,” she said. “The pandemic has wreaked havoc upon countless experiential and ad-supported businesses, and sadly, we are not exempt.”

Just three months later, Amoruso is using her hard-earned experience as a founder, CEO, and serial brand builder to build a new project, Business Class. The in-depth online entrepreneurship course provides the next generation of entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build and scale businesses positioned for long-term success. Amoruso said, “I’m 36 years old, I’ve been building businesses for 15 years, I’ve extracted a lot, and all I want to do is give back,” says Amoruso. “I’ve stepped in a lot of the land mines. I know how to step over them now.” The biggest lesson learned through it all, never to shy away from a challenge.”