I am in love with this woman, she is really inspiring. Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal vintage, an ebay shop that started on the side, turned million dollar e-commerce business. She’s a full time child of social media, who’s business was basically transformed by sites like MySpace.
Sophia was 22 when she decided to sell vintage clothes on eBay after vintage stores were adding her on her MySpace account. She thought she could start her own eBay store to make money as she had a keen eye in local thrift stores and liked styling and photographing her friends. What I like best is that Sophia did not set out to make Nasty Gal a multi million pound business, it just sort of happened, with lots of hard work. When she started Nasty Gal she had been working in a sleuth of rubbish jobs that she hated to pay her rent, Art school admin, lawn watering, Subway sandwiches, and so on! We have all been there (well, anyone who has to pay their own way and start at the bottom).
1000 positive feedbacks later, and $1500 for an $8 dollar coat, Sophia was sick of not being able to ‘own’ her customers on eBay, she couldn’t send them customised newsletters or promotions, and would easily lose customers due to the UI of eBay’s search and ‘similar seller’ functions. She promised her customers that NastyGal.com was coming, and set about building her own shop with the help of a high school friend.
Turns out her eBay customers stayed loyal, she bombarded MySpace with countless ‘bulletins’ and used illegal software to spam ‘add friends’ in certain areas and age groups, and it worked! Her shop launch was a sell out. Realising that re-stocking vintage was becoming unsustainable when it was selling so quick, Sophia started going to trade shows and buying new designs from upcoming designers. She would pick the ‘weird’ stuff, the clothes that most shops don’t buy. It was trial and error, some customers hated it, some liked it, and she watched her stock carefully to see what her customer liked and disliked. She was very focused on the customer at all times. From speaking on social media to them personally, to making sure she was keeping the Nasty Gal customer happy and in mind during all aspects of running the business.
^ The good old days :’)
A few years pass, and Nasty Gal gets bigger. The power of social media helps Nasty Gal to take off even further than it already had. Eventually she upped sticks after a couple of moves into suburban locations, and settled the business in LA, which is where the business resides currently and continues to be a success.
I work in tech by day, and one day hope to have my own online business. Stories like Sophia’s fill me with inspiration. It doesn’t matter what your past or your age is, you can always start something small yourself. You just have to have a good idea, be into it, work hard and be savvy about it. Working crappy jobs, having no money/being poor and less experience than others doesn’t have to set you back. It can all be learning experiences and contributes to how you form your future! It’s how you go about it and teach yourself along the way that matters. Carpe diem and all that!
Sophia’s new book #girlboss is out in the UK at the end of May and I can’t wait to get it.
The video below is an awesome interview, it’s 2 hours long though so watch it when you have time, I swear it will make you start writing out your own business plan!