If there ever was a feminist example of rags to riches, it would be Sofia Amoruso. Here at Lisa’s Business Blog, we love supporting other female business women who build businesses based on hard work, confidence, and instinct. Sofia did just that when she created Nasty Gal, an online clothing e-commerce store that turned her into one of Forbes richest women under 30 years old.
Before the success of Nasty Gal and the Girlboss movement erupted, Sofia was a laidback Californian anarchist who didn’t do well with authority. She worked many jobs, and was fired or quit almost all of them. Being forced to represent a company she didn’t believe in proved to be soul-killing and would usually result in termination when she failed to comply. When she decided to start selling vintage clothing on eBay, it was as if the heavens opened up and she could feel her potential for greatness.
Selling on eBay allowed her to be her own boss; she dealt with every customer one-on-one and even purchased clothes from other sellers. This was another example of the sharing economy model passing the test to success. Although there were many ups and downs, Sofia was gradually able to scale her business up and hire an employee. It started in her single apartment, and moved from office space to office space, growing larger with her company. When she was booted off eBay, it was because she was being a rule breaker again. Other eBay sellers pinpointed a tiny flaw in Sofia’s store which didn’t comply with eBay’s rules and regulations. However, it ended up being one of the best things that could’ve happened.
When she left eBay, she created her own flagship website that sold all of her vintage finds. As her popularity grew, so did her presence in the fashion world. Suddenly, established fashion brands were reaching out to be sold on Nasty Gal, bringing it even more publicity. Nasty Gal grew, and Sofia became recognized as a full-fledged business woman, despite never having gone to college let alone business school. When Forbes named her one of the most successful (and richest) business women of the year, it was the official certification that she had made it.
Sofia Amoruso had some key personality traits that made her a prime candidate for business success. She was tenacious; she believed she could do anything she wanted to, and she proved it. Although many of her first jobs she was accused of being lazy, when given a job she actually cared about (like running her own business), she had the tenacity to take that risk. She was in-tune with her customers. Before the days of Facebook and Instagram, Sofia communicated with her customers and fans on MySpace. Eventually she had a customer service team to handle inquiries, but she trained them to approach replying the way she would.
Sofia Amoruso is an excellent example of someone going from rags to riches; someone who didn’t let their circumstances or bad experiences stop them from taking risks. Instincts, street-smarts, and risk taking were the special combination that led to her fame and success.