Nasty Gal is an LA-based, e-commerce juggernaut founded by Sophia Amoruso and the origin story is inspirational stuff. Sophia’s always been a huge fan of vintage clothing and started selling some of her wares on eBay in 2006. About a year-and-a-half later, she made the crucial decision to branch off to start her own website and made a cool $72,000. She reinvested all of it back into her company and business quadrupled each subsequent year with 2011 seeing $28 million in revenue. This year culminated in Nasty Gal launching its own house line during fashion week duly called Nasty Gal Collection. Now, if that doesn’t light a fire under your ass to pursue your dreams, I don’t know what will.
OK, I’m going to be all the way honest with you. Nasty Gal’s aesthetic is highly specific. When you rifle through the offerings both on the “What’s New” section and the “Vintage” section, you can immediately tell that there’s a pretty honed vision of who this stuff is for. The buzzwords are predominantly things like “Brazen,” “Leggy,” or “Metallic.” Words that are more my wheelhouse that are also represented on the site (with less frequency) are “Anorak,” “Boyfriend’s,” and “Blouse” so you can see where there would be a divergence of taste. From what I can see, from the images and the written words in the “About Us” section, the Nasty Gal gal is SUPER COOL, has incredible hair, and is deeply devoted to body-con silhouettes, sparkly textiles and a TON of cut-out panels. She is not really me. She’s infinitely more popular than I am. That said, people on my staff and a number of my friends testify to this deeply heartfelt moment of recognition the first time they laid eyes upon Sophia’s site. It was this galvanizing experience that made them hit up their friends about sizing, fill their carts and go for broke. And I love that. The only reason I bring up both sides is that I confess to having had a knee-jerk reaction to the look and the somewhat salacious-sounding name (that’s a Betty Davis song title) and were that I did not do a little reading and digging, I would have missed out.
There are real lessons to be learned here on how to do a site right. The interface on the web site is HIGHLY intuitive and super-friendly for browsing. The styling IS stylized and you can see a lot of Sophia’s influence but a lot of the pieces are actually staples that are reasonably priced and easy to make your own. Also, the jewelry section is one of the most visually pleasing, vibrant-yet-soothing shopping experiences in all the land. AND HULLO, this not-yet-30-year-old woman is hiring all of her talented friends and piquing the interest of tech VCs and raising multiple rounds of multiple-million-dollars in funding because her dazzling trajectory is undeniable. It’s all so exciting. ANYWAY, just vanquish any smatterings of schadenfreude you’re feeling at her success because that’s garbage and a waste of time. This woman BUILT an empire with her hands and we were lucky enough to visit her office to discuss all the brass tacks of what she created. Consider this: vintage clothing and studded bustiers are contributing palpably to the GSP of California. How wild is that?