In 2006 Sophia Amoruso bought an “Ebay for Dummies” book and used the site to launch a vintage store out of her studio apartment in California. Eight years later, her company Nasty Gal is an online retailer that sells new and vintage clothing along with its own line of products. Nasty Gal did more than $100 million in revenue last year.
So what is the appeal of Nasty Gal and how does it manage to do so well in a flooded eTail market? The site appeals to teens and younger women who “think for themselves, own their own style and get dressed for themselves and no one else” says Amoruso. It manages to do what many have sought and few have achieved: to be both cool and mainstream.
They key, says Amoruso, is to hire crazy innovators who can keep coming up with fresh, off-the-beaten path ideas that appeal to a large group of people. “I like to say I hire people who are smarter than me, and my team today has better ideas than I do.”
Amoruso says the company can continue to grow and stay true to the “Nasty Gal” spirit.
“It’s a founder-led business,” says Amoruso, “which makes it a lot easier to maintain the ethos of the brand.” It’s also important, she notes, to stay humble and keep challenging the team.
So what’s next for Nasty Gal? A lot. Look out for brick-and-mortar stores coming within the next year, as well as a potential IPO. “I’m open to the possibility [of going public],” says Amoruso.
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