Book Club: #GIRLBOSS

I have never shopped at Nasty Gal. In fact, it’s a brand that had not even come upon my radar until “#GIRLBOSS” was recommended to me by a friend.

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And now, I am ob-sessed.

This self-illustrated narrative tells the tale of Sophia Amoruso’s insane tango with success. This is a woman who started her business by re-selling thrifted clothing items on eBay¬†and turned it into the fastest-growing online apparel retailer (and now, Nasty Gal is opening brick-and-mortar locations). How did she do it?

  1. TENACITY. She lived, breathed, ate, drank, pissed and shit that business. It’s her passion, it’s her life, it’s her baby. Nothing was going to stop her – not even when some eBay haters got jealous and tried to get her seller account blocked.
  2. ADAPTABILITY. She constantly listened to her customers. When they would give feedback or ask for certain merchandise, she would scour LA thrift stores looking for just the right pieces for them. When they responded to items by not buying, she would stop selling those items. She completely let the voice of her customer rule her merchandising strategy.
  3. CONNECTION. Taking the voice of the customer a step further, Sophia personally responded to every customer review and question, included hand-written notes in her shipments, and formed a rock-solid relationship with her customers based on a love for fashion and on transparent communication.

I devoured this book while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, and mourned the loss of it as soon as I was finished. It’s a humorous account of Sophia’s life as a shoplifter, model, thrifter, free spirit and fierce brand-builder. It was candid, funny, approachable¬†and totally authentic – just like the Nasty Gal brand. About three chapters into the book, I found myself desperately wanting to be BFFs with Sophia. Bitch is hilar.

This is by far the best book I’ve read on women in business. I learned a lot about myself, about brand building and about connecting with people. Bonus that the book is punctuated by hysterical photos of Sophia’s rebellious past.

Here are a few of my favorite Sophia-isms:

 

#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you, as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want. But I’m not here calling us ‘womyn’ and blaming men for any of my struggles along the way… I have never once in my life thought that being a girl was something that I had to overcome.

 

That’s the spirit of Nasty Gal: we want you to dress for yourself, and know that it’s not shallow to put effort into how you look. I’m telling you that you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy. You can have both. You are both.

 

One thing you should know about me is that when I hear no, I rarely listen. It takes a special kind of stubbornness to succeed as an entrepreneur. And anyway, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

 

What I hate about luck is that it implies being devoid of responsibility.

 

I never assumed that I’d done my best job the first time around.

 

When you accept yourself, it’s surprising how much other people will accept you.

 

It’s not cool to get drunk on your own success.

 

Nasty Gal would have surely failed had it been my goal to grow a business to the size that I have today. When you begin with the finish line in mind, you miss all the fun stuff along the way. The better approach is to tweak and grow, tweak and grow. I call it the incremental potential.

 

We should take the sheer improbability of our own existence as a kick in the butt to get out of bed in the morning.

 

An advantage of being naive is being able to believe in oneself when no one else will.

 

“#GIRLBOSS” gets 5 stars in my book (pun intended). I would recommend this to any It Girl!

 

CK

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