Girlboss’ and Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso on picking yourself up after failure

At Disrupt SF 2018, Girlboss CEO Sophia Amoruso sat down with former TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Bonatsos to talk about the success of Girlboss and the failure of Nasty Gal, Amoruso’s failed retail startup.

Nasty Gal shut down in 2016 — and even without that, it would’ve been a hard year for Amoruso. “So in 2016, in a six-month period, I was on the cover of Forbes and then a month later, my husband of a year left me,” she said. “That was in July, and then in November, on the day Trump was elected, we filed for Chapter 11. How do you pick yourself up after that?,” Bonatsos asked Amoruso. “That day when Trump got elected. I had — the world was having a bad day,” she answered. “I wasn’t sure why. I was crying.” But Amoruso had also continued to nurture the Girlboss brand. “I continued nurturing it very part-time,” she said. “Two hours a week.” But she also used the brand to launch a podcast and slowly grew the company over time.

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“Girlboss really exists to connect, inspire, nurture, advance women in their careers professionally as entrepreneurs,” she said. “Both in their lives and in their work within companies and starting their own companies.”

At its height, Nasty Gal had 300 employees, made more than $100 million in revenue and was valued at $350 million. Now, with Girlboss, Amoruso is building a lifestyle brand for women based on the success of her first book. In the four years since the book came out and two years after the failure of Nasty Gal, Girlboss has grown to become a successful brand — though Amoruso didn’t want to call it a media brand, even though its flagship product is definitely all about content. But Girlboss now also puts on a conference series, features podcasts and includes a philanthropic arm.

“I have a chip on my shoulder. I really want to get it right this time. I’m very fortunate to be able to start from scratch with all of the learnings over the last 10 years,” she said.