At 9, She Sold Lemonade & Ate From Garbage Bins. Today She Is Worth Rs 1,800 Crore
Success doesn’t come to those who sit and wait for it. It comes to the people who hustle for it. Being good at something doesn't necessarily guarantee success but only working relentlessly despite failing several time does.
Such is the story of Sophia Amoruso. From doing odd jobs at the age of nine to sustain herself, to being one of the America's richest self-made women, her journey is exceptional. Today, her brand Nasty Gal is one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Born in 1984 in San Diego, California, Sophia was forced to drop out of school after getting diagnosed with depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Situations worsened when both her her mother and father lost their job and Sophia had to fend for herself even before she could put her braces on.
At a young age of nine, she opened a lemonade shop by herself. By the time she reached 22, Sophia had done 10 different jobs.
Fling with digital
As a young girl, Sophia lived a nomadic lifestyle, hitchhiking on the west coast, dumpster diving, and stealing. In 2003, she was caught stealing and was handed a fine, following which she quit living such lifestyle. She relocated herself to San Francisco and tried her luck in a community college.
It was during this time that she opened an eBay store. She named it Nasty Gal Vintage, after the 1975 album by Betty Davis, a funk singer and style icon.
Sophia would raid charity shops for items of clothing, and then sell those clothes at an up-scaled price. One Chanel jacket that she had purchased for $8 (Rs 515) was sold for $1,000 (Rs 64,395). Sophia would style, photograph, caption, and ship the products all by herself, using the knowledge she had gained from a photography classes she had attended.
Nasty Gal was soon cultivating its own brand identity that comprised vintage clothes for cool and unique young women. Sophia took to MySpace, and subsequently to Facebook, to spread the word about her fashion brand.
But in 2008, her popular account on eBay was suspended for trying to promote her own website. Five whole years of hard work was staring at the sewage.
Shot to fame
However, Sophia was quick to take the decision of moving on from eBay and setting up her own store. She took her employees and started her own retail in Los Angeles. Riding on the reputation that her venture had already acquired, she was soon approached by investors. Funds worth $49 million dollars (Rs 315.2 crore) were raised in equity for Nasty Gal. In the meantime, her reported net worth of $280 million (Rs 1,801.6 crore) inked her name in Forbes Magazine’s 2012 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Apart from her business, Sophia took the opportunity to debunk myths around female entrepreneurs. With her success in women’s fashion retail, she became the torchbearer of modern day feminism. She encouraged young women to annihilate regressive definitions, particularly ones that were meant to demean women who were assertive or ambitious. Her journey was depicted in the Netflix web series Girlboss, a special that started airing from April 21, 2017.
From dumpster-diving to making place in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, Sophia has depicted what enormous work ethic can achieve.
With her curiosity outweighing her fears, she has shown to the world that one doesn't have to be perfect to be successful. The resolution to succeed without ever giving up is what separates the 1 percent of the world from the rest.
(By Shreshthangsha Sayan Biswas)
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