Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal, an online retail shop geared toward young women. In her new book, #GIRLBOSS, Sophia chronicles her path as a rambunctious child who grows her love for vintage clothing into a savvy multi-million dollar global business.
Below is an excerpt from #GIRLBOSS:
1984: I’m born in San Diego on Good Friday, which was also 4/ 20. Before you think this is some kind of omen, let me assure you that the only thing I smoke is my competition.
1989: I smear poop on the wall in kindergarten; perhaps my first true artistic expression.
1993: My fourth-grade teacher thinks something could be wrong with me. The list includes ADD and Tourette’s syndrome.
1994: My dad takes me to Wal-Mart, where I ask a sales associate if they have “the Ren and Stimpy dolls that flatulate.” This is evidence that I possess both a large vocabulary and a slightly twisted sense of humor.
1997: I fall in love with my first article of vintage clothing: a persimmon-red pair of disco pants. I secretly change into them in the bathroom of the roller rink.
1999: I land my first job, at a Subway. I get OCD on the BLT.
2000: I hate high school, and am sent to a psychiatrist who diagnoses me with depression and ADD. I try the white pills. I try the blue pills. I decide that if this is what it’s going to take to like high school, forget it. I throw the pills away and decide to homeschool.
2001: My parents get divorced. I’m okay with it and take the opportunity to move out and be on my own. I choose an apartment in downtown Sacramento with a bunch of dude musicians. My room is a closet under the stairs, and my rent is $60 a month.
2002: I hitchhike up and down the West Coast, finally landing in the Pacific Northwest. I pursue a life of dumpster diving (do not knock a free bagel until you’ve tried one) and petty thievery.
2002: I sell my first thing online. It’s a stolen book.
2003: I am detained for shoplifting. I quit cold turkey.
2005: I leave my boyfriend in Portland and move to San Francisco, where I am fired from a high-end shoe store.
2006: I get a hernia, which means I need to get a job to get health insurance. I find one checking IDs in the lobby of an art school. I have a lot of time to kill, so I dick around on the Internet and open up an eBay shop called Nasty Gal Vintage.
2014: I am the CEO of a $100-million-plus business with a fifty-thousand-square-foot office in Los Angeles, a distribution and fulfillment center in Kentucky, and three hundred and fifty employees.
(Insert the sound of a record screeching to a halt here.)
I’m leaving out some details here, obviously, but if I told you everything in the introduction, there’d be no need to read the rest of this book, and I want you to read the rest of this book. But it’s true: In about eight years, I went from a broke, anarchist “freegan” dead set on smashing the system to a millionaire businesswoman who today is as at home in the boardroom as she is in the dressing room. I never intended to be a role model, but there are parts of my story, and the lessons I’ve learned from it, that I want to share.
In the same way that for the past seven years people have projected themselves into the looks I’ve sold through Nasty Gal, I want you to be able to use #GIRLBOSS to project yourself into an awesome life where you can do whatever you want. This book will teach you how to learn from your own mistakes and from other people’s (like mine). It will teach you when to quit and when to ask for more. It will teach you to ask questions and take nothing at face value, to know when to follow the rules and when to rewrite them. It will help you to identify your weaknesses and play to your strengths. It will show you that there’s a certain amount of irony to life. For example, I started an online business so I could work from home … alone. Now I speak to more people in one workday than I used to in an entire month. But I’m not complaining.
This book will not teach you how to get rich quick, break into the fashion industry, or start a business. It is neither a feminist manifesto nor a memoir. I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on what I’ve already done because there is still so much to do. This book won’t teach you how to get dressed in the morning. That book is coming—but only after you tell all of your friends to buy this one.
While you’re reading this, I have three pieces of advice that I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t ever let the Man get to you. Okay? Cool.
Then let’s do this.
#GIRLBOSS for life.
Reprinted from #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso with permission of Portfolio/Putnam, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright (c) Sophia Amoruso, 2014.