sophia amoruso tech female startup
Image Credit: NY Times

In a predominantly male tech industry, Nasty Gal’s founder “Sophia Amoruso” is gaining a lot of attention as a young female CEO, who is doing things her way.

With an estimated Net Worth of $250 Million and growing, I’d say that you will be seeing the name Sophia Amoruso a lot more often.

At the age of 22 years old, Sophia Amoruso created a vintage women’s clothing business on eBay. Sophia started her business as a small project while working for just $13 per hour at a local college where she checked the ID’s of college students for $13 an hour. She herself had dropped out of college and lived at the time with a step-aunt.

After receiving a number of messages on Myspace from vintage clothing eBay sellers, Sophia was inspired to learn the ways of selling online and decided to start her own eBay store.

Nasty Gal Sophia AmorusoSophia named her online business after the 1975 Betty Davis album “Nasty Gal“. 

Sophia Amoruso decided to pull together a collection of vintage clothing she found at Goodwill stores, then offer the pieces for sale on her eBay website. As an example, she would purchase a Chanel jacket from the Salvation Army store for $8 and would re-sell the item for $1,000 on her website.

At the start of her business, Amoruso photographed, styled, captioned and shipped about 25 different items weekly from her store. She created the store’s fashion around her own style that included such things as a blood-red lipstick, floor-length trench coats, and rock style vintage T- shirt.

sophia-amorusoAmoruso felt that eBay was not the best choice to start her business and it was beginning to stifle her business. Her competitors taunted her by flagging her site in an attempt to discredit her business. She decided to start her own company website and thus was born. At the time was a porn site but she was later able to purchase that domain.

Sophia initially marketed her Nasty Gal fashions on Myspace social website where she developed a following of 60,000 followers, who were mainly attracted to the Nylon brand and purchased fashion and music magazines. Myspace was the foundation for her original strong following but lately, has proven that she holds weight on other social network platforms with over 620,000 followers on Facebook and over 600,000 on Instagram. Sophia wanted to develop a following of people interested in her merchandise such as Versace vintage clothing and motorcycle jackets. She attracted followers to her by creating competitions on Facebook and inviting readers to her site to create names for her vintage products in exchange for gift cards for her products.

Nasty-Gal-SophiaThe websites statistics went through the roof – Amoruso amassed a following of 550,000 site visitors who spent a total of six minutes daily viewing her site, and 10% of them visited the site more than 100 times every month. Amoruso’s business revenue last year was almost $100 million and it is predicted that her fan base will increase even more in the coming years. Sophia realized that while her sales conversion was greater that the industry average, she was at 3%, she needed to expand her brand offering to include more than unique vintage fashions because there was a growing demand for varied sizes.


Sophia Amoruso and her buyer made the long drive to Los Angeles weekly and they also attended trade shows in Las Vegas. At such conventions she was faced with higher end fashions the owners of which would not welcome the idea of their fashions being sold at a store with the name of Nasty Gal.In fact many people discredited it as a sex store because the domain was still a pornography online store. She had to convince the vendors by actually showing them her site, on her cell phone. She was able to get a seller to agree to sell her clothes and she promised she will do credit to the brand name. From that point on Sophia Amoruso started to develop credibility in the eyes of some of the most recognizable brands names in the market. She was able to create new channels for the brand names she did business with.

Sophia Amoruso Nasty GalAt this point Sophia Amoruso was now ready to do business with venture capitalists who wanted in on her business. She decided to go with Index Ventures were she received $40 Million in venture funding and gave them equity for $9 million. “The company, she added, is debt-free and has been profitable from the start.”

Sales moved quickly after the venture funding and quadrupled to $128 million in profit. Amoruso then invested in a fulfillment center covering 500,000 square foot in Kentucky. Nasty Gal has brought in more than 150,000 shoppers in over 50 countries so far with over 6 million visitors each month and counting. Her competitors are starting to be watchful of her moves.

Now 28 years old, Sophia Amoruso realizes that her business name still receives uncomfortable looks and assumptions, but she contends that her business is the country’s fastest-growing retailer.


Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso Shares Her Story Of Success



  1. I think that while her name may have started out as a hindrance, at a certain point, when she demonstrated that it could be done her way and her way was a great way, the name became a huge asset. If you can take a brand that’s unusual and weird and really show up with a quality product that people clamor for, then that liability rapidly becomes a great asset.

  2. I think Sophia does what works for her. When she launched her business people where using ebay to shop. Then Ebay had all that drama with sellers and many left. She left and grew. I am happy for her success and the growth of the business.

    I will say its sad the issues arising now with Nasty Gal stealing designers work instead of partnering with them.

    • It seems to be Passion & Persistence my friend. You need to love what you do and you need to hang in there no matter what!

    • a bit of luck , a bit of innovation{ the name “nasty gal’ } and tons of advertising- { they spend millions on online advertising} you couldn’t go to any top 10 blogs without seeing Nasty Gal ads

  3. Definitely a source of inspiration for all the people out there. No matter what is your degree says, if you have the zeal and acumen to taste success, you will reach great heights, no matter what.
    Have to check out here collection for sure now!!!


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