Praise for Sophia Amoruso and #GIRLBOSS
*Winner of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Business Book*
“While we love a feel-good story, we’re even more inspired by Amoruso’s drive and success. . . . The easy-breezy blend of anecdotal tales and entrepreneurial advice makes for a fast, easy read . . . with lots of brash but actionable takeaways . . . . Bottom line? That’s some serious #GirlPower. Buy the book today, thank us the second you’re done reading.”
“The millennial alternative to Lean In.”
—Inc. magazine, naming Sophia one of the Entrepreneurs of the Year
“[Amoruso] addresses the highs and lows of her journey with an honesty that’s refreshing in a management memoir . . . Amoruso’s swagger in #GIRLBOSS is contagious. The book is a decent model for all the girls—nay, people—who don’t want to climb the traditional career ladder. Her path, though unconventional, might even inspire a couple of readers to try to heed her lessons and follow in her footsteps. But if there’s one real takeaway from reading Amoruso, is that a pre-packaged rulebook for business success no longer exists.”
“[#GIRLBOSS] is part memoir, part management guide and part girl-power manifesto. A sort of Lean In for misfits, it offers young women a candid guide to starting a business and going after what they want.”
—The Washington Post
“The Cinderella of tech.”
—The New York Times
“Fashion’s new phenom.”
“Amoruso’s voice is accessible and charmingly self-deprecating without losing the effortless cool that characterizes her clothes. . . . Amoruso’s scrappy capitalist narrative makes an admirable attempt to prove that navigating the system isn’t the same as endorsing it. Being antiestablishment is the old cool. The new cool is playing by your own rules and still winning by their standards.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, shares her irreverent and invaluable lessons in what can easily be described as a power manifesto for strong, ambitious young women. . . . #GIRLBOSS leads readers to water but doesn’t force them to drink; rather than present a get-rich-quick manual or a list of business tips, Amoruso teaches the innovative and entrepreneurial among us to play to our strengths, learn from our mistakes, and know when to break a few of the traditional rules.”
“It’s easy to get the sense, reading Lean In, that Sandberg is writing for women who’ve already made it. #GIRLBOSS is for those who haven’t, which means it is aimed at people who have nothing to lose, which makes it a much riskier and more enjoyable manifesto.”
—New York Magazine
“A witty and cleverly told account . . . It’s this kind of honest advice, plus the humorous ups and downs of her rise in online retail, that make the book so appealing. . . . Amoruso’s unconventional approach to business and her experiences as a rebellious teen and creative outcast would also appeal to anyone’s entrepreneurial side.”
—Los Angeles Times
“[Sophia Amoruso is] a real-deal, born disruptor. In less than ten years, she’s turned that very same eBay vintage shop into a bona fide, $100 million global brand, through pure sweat; social-media savvy; and an eye for the fashion-forward, subversively sexy clothing women want to wear. . . . Now, sitting atop a mini-retail empire of over 350 employees, Sophia has become that rarest of things: a CEO who truly inspires and a patron saint of badass #girlbosses everywhere. Ahead, her thoroughly inspiring take on the unlikely rise of her scrappy brand, and why she’ll always be an upstart at heart.”
“[Sophia Amoruso] is every bit as uncommon as [Nasty Gal’s] track record. Never mind the Valley’s history of funding misfits like stinky fruitarian Steve Jobs, junk food smacking Marc Andreesen, or socially awkward Mark Zuckerberg. Those misfits all fit in a similar box, Amoruso did not. . . . [Nasty Gal] is that gap between total dork and together, rich cheerleader where the bulk of girls who want to think for themselves but also be cool and accepted live.”
“[Sophia Amoruso] takes the wisdom of CEOs before her (including Sandberg) and wraps it up with her biography, personal philosophy, and practical advice (e.g., don’t slander former employees on social media), all delivered with the same voice and attitude that has made her site so successful.”
“If you read one book with a hashtag for a title this year, make it #GIRLBOSS.”
“Get motivated by Sophia Amoruso’s story. . . . Her honest advice is useful for women in any industry.”
“While Amoruso’s backstory is one we’re pretty much all well-versed in by now (we mean, what else are Google deep-dives for?), it’s still one that we just can’t seem to get enough of.”
“Everything Sophia touches has an air of cool, including her new book, #GIRLBOSS, which recounts the story of her first sale and her rise to retail stardom. . . . The writing is witty and affable, like listening to a good friend tell you a story. And the advice runs the gamut from writing a good cover letter, to owning your own style, to getting fired gracefully. #GIRLBOSS is an essential read for everyone who has realized that the path to happiness isn’t always a straight line.”
—The Standard / Culture Blog
“Sophia sprinkles to-the-point wisdom into the story of her life so far (she’s not afraid of a little tough love), and this book is a must read for women of all ages. Who doesn’t love inspiration with a little kick in the butt?”
—RealSimple.com / Lifestylers
“There are some CEOs that can make running a company look ridiculously easy. Then there are some who can do it with, well, a certain je ne sais quoi. Sexiness is a subjective measure and it’s not just about looks. It’s also about success, power, ambition, charisma, altruism, fashion sense, and style.”
—Business Insider (on naming Sophia Amoruso “The Sexiest CEO Alive”)
“[An] appealing business memoir . . . Amoruso’s authenticity comes through here and is, no doubt, one of the many reasons for her remarkable success.”
“Among the glut of leadership books featuring paunchy old men in power suits, at least #GIRLBOSS has a shot at standing out. . . . It’s clear why young women admire her. . . . #GIRLBOSS is targeting the same readers as Sheryl Sandberg’s updated Lean In for Graduates. . . . So buy #GIRLBOSS for your daughter.”
“In her new book #GIRLBOSS . . . Amoruso gives her charmingly authentic insight into how to succeed in the workplace.”
—Who What Wear
“Clearly, there’s some magic to the Amoruso method.”
“The book is full of so many great insights even though she insists it isn’t a how-to guide. You should absolutely read the entire book, but I think Amoruso should be commended for her management tips. They are what make her a #GIRLBOSS.”
“This sassy memoir inspires while also doling out career advice and entrepreneurial tips.”
“#GIRLBOSS is a must have for any young female entrepreneurs.”
—The T.U.R.N. Magazine
“The honest, kickass confident, and unabashedly herself Amoruso tells the story of her journey to success through Nasty Gal and the lessons she learned along the way.”
“[Sophia Amoruso] began as a humble eBay store and turned her brand into one of the most coveted eCommerce destinations on the planet. . . . Sophia’s brand sticks up its middle finger at the corporate world and Nasty Gal’s loyal followers can’t get enough of it.”
“Young women could do worse than learn from her no-bullshit style and tireless work ethic.”
“A breezy blend of memoir and entrepreneurial how-to.”
—Sacramento News & Review
PORTFOLIO / PENGUIN
Sophia Amoruso is the founder and executive chairman of the coveted fashion brand Nasty Gal. Named by Forbes as “Fashion’s New Phenom,” best-selling author Sophia has established herself as one of the most prominent figures in retail and a style icon.
The term Nasty Gal was originally coined after a 1975 Betty Davis album and the singer’s outspoken and unapologetically sexy style. Building on that inspiration, Sophia’s Nasty Gal first sparked a cult following in her one-woman vintage venture on eBay where she quickly learned she had a knack and photographer’s eye for fashion, styling, and buying. In just nine years (and after being kicked off the site in 2008), the brand has grown into a one-stop shop and online retail haven with a progressive following of fashion risk-takers.
In fall 2014, Sophia opened her first brick-and-mortar Nasty Gal retail space on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Only four months later, she opened a second store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, almost three times as large as the brand’s flagship.
As part of the brand’s expansion beyond e-commerce, the stores offer highly curated vintage pieces, on-brand labels, as well as Nasty Gal’s own line.
On the heels of Nasty Gal and #GIRLBOSS successes, Sophia is passionate about evolving her brand and team of creative mavericks in every way possible. As she continues to be deeply involved in every aspect of the business, she loves most to meet the girls who have inspired Nasty Gal to be one of the most coveted brands of our time.
She recently founded the #GIRLBOSS Foundation, which awards financial grants to women in the worlds of design, fashion, music, and the arts, to help fund them on their way to becoming a GIRLBOSS.
A New York Times bestseller and published in fifteen countries around the world, #GIRLBOSS is Sophia’s first book.
PORTFOLIO / PENGUIN
An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
375 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014
First published in the United States of America by Portfolio / Penguin and G. P. Putnam’s Sons, members of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2014
This paperback edition with a new introduction published 2015
Copyright © 2014, 2015 by Sophia Amoruso
Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.
Photographs courtesy of the author
Penguin is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author’s alone.
Cover design: Christopher Sergio
Cover photograph: Gabrielle Revere
INTRODUCTION TO THE INTRODUCTION
A lot has changed since I wrote this book two years ago.
We made record-breaking revenues.
Nasty Gal grew so fast it became the Tower of Babel.
We went through layoffs for the first time.
I turned thirty. Then I turned thirty-one.
We opened two brick-and-mortar (#brickandmurder) stores in Los Angeles.
My hair is long! I’m an adult with braces! I have three poodles! Most importantly, I got married.
About those layoffs . . . we started to feel the hard times only after this book was originally put to print. One hundred million in revenue is a lot of money—but companies much larger have gone extinct.
The concept of success is really weird. Is success building a beloved brand and business? Or is it how you handle yourself when it gets hard? Is success being in the right place at the right time—with the right voice, skill set, team, and drive to cobble it all together? Or is success figuring out how to tame the behemoth once it sprouts legs and sharp teeth?
I think about this all the time as I’ve watched Nasty Gal grow up. At first, it was a scrappy crumb-eating infant—and then it became a thriving wild child. Now, it’s hit the awkwardness of puberty—the occasional bout of acne, a cracking voice, incipient self-consciousness. Wait—are all these people looking at me?
They say that when you have a kid, it feels like your heart is outside of your body—you can’t imagine sending her off to school with the threat that she might get hit by a car or bullied by some asshole. But you have to, because that’s what growing up is all about. That’s how I feel about Nasty Gal. My whole future is in this brand—but at the end of the day, I can only give it a kiss on the head and a PB&J while standing at the front door. It’s still not fully baked. Its success depends on the resilience, fortitude, and ingenuity of the team more than any one skill that I possess.
The older I get, the less confident I become. There’s simply more to lose.
I used to snowboard—I’d fly down the slopes at a million miles per hour with nary a bit of concern—but today, I sense my own mortality—and the mortality of everything I’ve worked for—as soon as the alarm clock goes off each morning, knowing that at this speed my teeth could get knocked out if I biff it.
It’s really weird to be in your twenties and have a company that’s valued at hundreds of millions of dollars by investors, implying to the outside world that because I own a huge chunk of the stock I’m “worth” a lot of money. The funny thing is that it’s funny money. Nearly everything I’ve earned is locked up in this beautiful, inspiring, evolving business I gave birth to nearly ten years ago.