With Nasty Gal’s successes over the past decade, it’s difficult to imagine its dumpster-diving roots. But that’s what entices us even more. It’s not everyday a girl can turn a hobby into a multi-million business.
Here at MESS, that’s where our story begins. We’re taking a look at what went down when Sophia Amoruso became a global #GIRLBOSS, and the infamous journey of creating Nasty Gal.

The humble story began in 1996, during Sophia’s early 20-somewhat years. Like many adults her age, the world was her oyster. From the undecided career path and jumping from job to job, it seemed unimaginable that she’ll soon be owning a multi-million empire. But of course, like all successes, her business didn’t grow overnight. To what makes Sophia Amoruso so admirable, building the business was blood, sweat and tears. It involved sleepless nights and the #GIRLBOSS dedication, the backbone to the Nasty Gal company.



At the age of 22, Sophia Amorsuo didn’t live an easy life. She needed the cash, needed to pay the rent and ideally find her own niche of a career. While options were running slim, she focused her energy on something which was a ‘harmless’ hobby. Dumpster-diving and taking advantage of the early days of Ebay, Sophia Amoruso created to what was the first steps of Nasty Gal, an online vintage boutique. “Had someone shown me the future of where Nasty Gal would be in 2014, I would have gasped in revulsion, thinking, Oh, hell no, that is way too much work.” She states in her first book #GIRLBOSS.

She wasn’t wrong. Getting to where she was today, it was A LOT of work. From running orders, to creating the visual content alone from the heart of her home, Sophia dedicated every minute of her day to watching her business grow. Within her first year of selling vintage, customized and stolen products on her Ebay account, her online store soon became a ‘fashionista’ hit.

To what made her successful in the early days compared to other start-ups, is that she knew exactly what her consumer was. While she was taking on the role of a whole company, with a business which was blowing-up by the day, she constantly kept herself authentically connected to her customers. With the power of Myspace, she was able to communicate with her customers and provide content and products to what they want to see, when they wanted to see it.

Within the next few years and keeping with her Ebay account, she found herself moving into her first warehouse/office space. She had one employee, which to today, stood by her side as the company grew, until 2014. Found on craigslist, Sophia hired Christina Ferruci. She worked alongside Sophia, running orders, editing imagery, creating product descriptions. Money was tight, but Christina Ferruci persisted, and as the company grew, she soon became Nasty Gal’s senior buyer.

From Sophia hiring Christina, the company grew and grew. Moving around LA for warehouses spaces, the team expanded. The brand left its roots of Nasty Gal Vintage on Ebay, and moved to bigger and better things. Sophia was able to get her own domain name and a team to create her first working e-commerce website. To what we know as Nastygal.com now, the rest is history. You ask, how did she do it?

Nasty Gal Opens First Store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (PRNewsFoto/Nasty Gal)

Nasty Gal Opens First Store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (PRNewsFoto/Nasty Gal)

The Rules of a #Girlboss

When creating NastyGal and becoming the ultimate #Girlboss, there was rules that had to be followed. This wasn’t an overnight job. It was constant dedication to her products and to her consumer.

Rule #1 Know Who She Is

It’s simple. Know who your consumer is. To what made NastyGal such a hit was that she knew who she was selling to. She understood her lifestyle, she knew what she was looking it, she knew what grabs her attention and she knew how to keep her interested. From the imagery to the styling recommendations per a product, she knew that her consumer was a free-spirit who wasn’t afraid to stand out. With the help of her MySpace and her authentic brand voice, new consumers soon became loyal ones. Products will go online and be sold-out in a matter of hours. Keeping that constant contact kept her business alive, and soon became a girl’s bestfriend.

Rule #2 She Loves to Share

When getting to know the NastyGal, you need to know what she wants to share. How does she define herself? Importantly, how does she make herself known as the ultimate NastyGal? Social Media is the ultimate fuel, you just need to know how to use it. Create shareable content. Create a conversation and give the brand a voice.

Rule #3 Never lie. Tell Her the Truth

Like many successful e-commerce business, the brand exposure is built on honesty. To what made NastyGal.com so big from the start is how Sophia honest from day one about her products. From the description of her products, styling the outfits and responding to questions, Sophia kept her promises and her honesty. This was the key recipe to creating NastyGal’s loyal customers.

Making of the NastyGal

Like any business story, there is still a lot to uncover. In 2016, the business is now a multi-million empire, with clothing brands such as Boohoo bidding on the name. From Sophia’s humble early days, it’s still a shock to everyone to how big the business has become. With Netflix releasing a #GIRLBOSS tv series next year, and Sophia selling out on her autobiography’s, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the NastyGal. It’s become more than just a business, but a home to all Nasty Gal’s globally.

“Call me crazy, but I truly believe that Nasty Gal is a feeling. And though our community lives in many different places, it’s that feeling that unifies our customers and makes us about much more than selling clothes.” – Sophia Amoruso #GIRLBOSS

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