Sophia Amoruso: From a School Dropout Shoplifter to an Inspiration
Sophia Christina Amoruso is a businesswoman from the United States who is known for her fashion brand named Nasty Gal, a women’s clothing retailer. It was recognised by Inc. Magazine as one of “the fastest growing companies in 2012.
She was named as one of the wealthiest self-made women in the world by Forbes in 2016. But ironically, Nasty Gal submitted a bankruptcy petition later on. Amoruso founded Girlboss Media- a company that produces content for millennial women to advance in both their personal and professional lives in 2017. Also, her 2014 autobiography “GIRLBOSS” was turned into a Netflix original series with the same name.
Sophia Amoruso was born to middle-class parents in San Diego, California, on April 20, 1984. Both of her parents held conventional jobs to support themselves and their daughters. She has Italian, Portuguese, and Greek ancestry. She was brought up in an Orthodox Greek church. She quit going to school and started homeschooling as a coping mechanism for her depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which were diagnosed in her adolescence.
She worked in a Subway restaurant as a teen, then held a number of odd jobs like working in a record store and a bookstore. Her parents got divorced after she graduated from high school, so she moved to Sacramento, California, to live a more independent life.
Amoruso led a nomadic lifestyle as a young adult, hitchhiking along the West Coast, dumpster diving, and stealing. She stopped stealing in 2003 while residing in Portland, Oregon, after being caught shoplifting. Shortly after learning that she had a hernia in her groyne, she moved from Portland to San Francisco. She checked student IDs in the Academy of Art University lobby in order to obtain the health insurance needed for surgery.
When she was 22, she opened a Nasty Gal Vintage eBay store, and it quickly became successful. Her revenue increased from $250,000 to $1.1 million to $6.5 million to $30 million in a short period of time. She had never even held a job in an office, but she went with her gut and created a really successful company. Nasty Gal was a community, and Girlboss has the same throughput. This brand spoke to women in a way that went beyond fashion.
Selling a motorcycle jacket to a customer gave a boost to her confidence. She made a promise to herself to be just a little bit bolder in her life. Her being able to picture herself in the life she wants, being able to take baby steps toward achieving that, and seeing others who are doing it, is very much what she’d done throughout her career.
Another thing that achieved great success was the book- Girlboss. She wrote a book called “Girlboss” five years ago, and since then, the hashtag has been used 17 million times on Instagram, the book has sold half a million copies, Netflix has aired a show called “Girlboss” in 100 million homes, and it has become very much part of the zeitgeist.
What do you do when things go wrong as an entrepreneur who rose from being a dumpster diver to becoming a megastar? You persist, in Sophia’s opinion. She posed the question to a Cannes audience, “How do you start over?” You simply stand up and keep standing up. In fact, Sophia learned of her company’s bankruptcy just before she was scheduled to take the stage at an event in Australia and talk about her successful life. How did she act? took the stage and told the story.
Sophia recovered within five months, despite losing the majority of her $280 million fortune when Nasty Gal failed. The fact that she refused to let the criticisms of what happened at Nasty Gal affect her is perhaps the most significant. Later, she told reporters, “The company sold for $20 million in bankruptcy.” So, yes, I’m proud of it in the big picture of what can happen in your early 30s”. The only thing Sophia did to get over her Nasty Gal experience was to reframe the story. She also started working on Girlboss Media, a brand-new concept. With the help of this new business, Sophia would have a platform from which to address other female entrepreneurs.
In some ways, creating a media company from the ashes of Nasty Girl was more of an obvious progression than a brave decision. Sophia had a bestselling book under her belt, a listened-to podcast, a penchant for media fame, and a Netflix series based on her life.
Sophia launched her new business in December 2017, providing her audience of female entrepreneurs with a wide variety of editorial content, videos, and podcasts. The business also hosted Girlboss Rallies, well-liked all-female weekends designed to motivate and unite intelligent, aspirational, and talented women. The Girlboss Rally attracted women to the Knockdown Center in Queens, New York, in 2018 from 430 cities, 31 countries, and 40 states.
Advice for New Entrepreneurs:
Try a variety of things to see what resonates and what you’re good at. You can’t fail, especially when you’re young. You have complete freedom to experiment. Find smart people around you who have been there and done that. Seek out good advice and stay curious. Use all of the resources available to you: read books, Google things, watch YouTube videos – whatever you need to do to find answers to your questions.
Find out where you can get that knowledge and information. A large portion of that is on Girlboss; the social network we’re creating is what I wish I’d had. It is incredibly powerful to be able to connect with thousands of women who have been in your shoes and can relate to you much more than a Google search could. By getting in touch with people who have done it, you can avoid having to learn those lessons the hard way.
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