A Fashion Empire in Silicon Valley

sophia amoruso                 nasty gal

For my post, I decided to reflect on a book I am currently reading which I thought would relate perfectly to our class. The newly published novel is called #Girlboss and was written by Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online retailer of new and vintage clothing.

Nasty Gal was started eight years ago as a side project when Amoruso began selling vintage items that she found at local thrift stores on eBay. She always had a passion for clothing and fashion trends but never had the plan for her store to take off the way it has. At 30 years old, she is the head management at a $100 million dollar company in Silicon Valley. Beginning as a misfit, shoplifting from her local mall and paying her clothing models with burgers, Amoruso has made many operations management improvements as her company has expanded.

In her book, #Girlboss, Amoruso recounts on her experiences that got her to where she is today. Throughout the novel, she gives her tips for running a successful business. Since Nasty Gal began as a side project, selling solely vintage items, the company has made many changes in their goods and services. Not only does the online retailer sell unique vintage pieces, but clothing from independent suppliers and their own original collection. As of 2014, Sophia Amoruso has been quoted saying that the company plans to open physical store locations, in addition to the online portion, beginning with a store in L.A. As their customer base has expanded, Nasty Gal, has improved its service and kept up in the maintenance department in order to maintain relationships and fit the needs of the people it serves.

Inventory management is another portion of the business that Amoruso has had to make many changes in since the beginning. Because of the site’s immense popularity, Nasty Gal has had to search for inventory in different places. The one-of-a-kind vintage pieces are great but they can only serve so many customers. Amoruso has hired a team of people, some being her best friends, that she trusts to stay up to date on current trends and the clothing that everyday women need and want. As Nasty Gal has grown, she has had to change the way in which she manages her large group of employees compared to how she got things done when it was her a few other co-workers. “I’m making long-term goals, which I never had in the beginning, and am trying to create meaning and have conversations about it, so that everybody can take that and do a better job. It’s a completely different team I’m managing today compared to the team I was managing six years ago,” said Amoruso in a recent interview.

Lastly, despite the company’s rapid success, Amoruso has tried to stay grounded and stick to the original goals and values of the project. She wants to take pieces that are irrelevant and make them things that her customers need and want. There is an intense focus on high quality products and service. In addition to have a successful business, she wants to hire people that are excited about working in the fashion business and building the Nasty Gal brand. “…I want people excited about this opportunity, who can unleash big-time experience to augment the business, and who don’t try to cookie-cutter anything. I want people who are self-led and self-motivated, who take things personally. There’s no “that’s not my job” here.”


How to you think operations management comes into play for other start-up companies? Do you think the management at start-ups usually have all of their strategies outlined before they begin their business or do you think things usually evolved over time, as in the case with Nasty Gal and Sophia Amoruso?




One thought on “A Fashion Empire in Silicon Valley

  1. I’m excited to see this post since I’m actually in the middle of reading this book. I love how Sophia was a “one-man show” when it came to starting up her own business. She would jump from modeling clothes to packaging each piece of clothing with a hand-written note to each customer. To answer your question, I believe starting up your own business takes a lot of planning. Sometimes people will outline their own strategies and some people like Sophia follow their passion which turns into a business. I definitely admire her motivation and work ethic.

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