In today’s episode of the OMR Podcast, Nasty Gal and Girlboss Founder Sophia Amoruso joins guest host David Noel. Recorded during OMR Festival 2018, David and Sophia talk personal brand, learning from failure, switching from eCommerce to a media company and what it’s like living in the public eye as a self-proclaimed introvert.
“Someone told me I needed a personal brand”
In the age of social media, being a personal brand is more or less synonymous with being active on various platforms. But in the age directly pre-dating social media, it was not a given. In Sophia Amoruso’s case being a personal brand was not only a catalyst for success while at Nasty Gal (2006 – 2015), but the degree to which. “I never really meant to start a personal brand. I put myself on the cover of a book that also had the logo of my company on it. The idea was to put the Nasty Gal logo on bookshelves in every airport in the country. And we are going to sell so many clothes.” Things did not go as planned. The book, Nasty Galaxy, did not sell clothes. It sold books—and the story that vaulted Sophia into her role today as a personal brand.
“It doesn’t feel intentional, there are things that I create for social media.”
It may surprise you to learn that Sophia self identifies as an introvert, given the fact that with Nasty Gal and Girlboss she has advanced to the status of person brand. Despite the apparent contradiction, the digital age makes it easier in her eyes: “building a brand as an introvert is easy to do digitally, because you are behind a computer, behind a phone.” Furthermore, the interconnectedness of our lives make personal brands a must for everyone, because “no matter if you’re applying for a job or going on a date, people are going to look at your social.”
It is more stressful to live in fear than it is to do something difficult.
Although Sophia has come a long ways from checking IDs at an art school, she has experienced her share of failure—most notably with her first company Nasty Gal going belly up in 2015. But that failure has been a personal boon. “Every huge lesson I have learned is because I have taken risks. To be honest, you have much more to lose if you don’t take risks.” It’s this fearlessness that helped her transition seamlessly from Nasty Gal to Girlboss, which happened almost immediately. “You don’t go bankrupt overnight,” she says, “I saw it coming and I had to keep moving. When people stop moving is where the real danger of losing momentum happens.”
To find out how Sophia Amoruso sees Girlboss’ future, how she straddles analytics with gut instincts and why people’s resting faces are something to fear, check out the full conversation with the Girlboss herself here:
OMR Podcast with Sophia Amoruso at a glance:
- On how she started creating a personal brand: (2:24)
- On the ramifications of being a personal brand and how we choose which versions of ourselves to share (4:15)
- On how she combines her natural introvertedness with being a public persona (6:30)
- On self-perception and the perceived weightlessness and fearlessness of her persona (8:37)
- On changing notions of success (10:08)
- On ways people can squander energy fretting over insignificant things (12:32)
- On what Nasty Gal taught Sophia about failure and what advice she can now give others to overcome their fear of it (14:32)
- On what she did in the aftermath of Nasty Gal’s end (16:59)
- On why she felt she need to keep moving after Nasty Gal (17:51)
- On where her drive initially came from and what motivates her now (19:08)
- On the Girlboss brand, its genesis and its future (20:40)
- On the business challenges in switching from an eCommerce company to a media company (23:09)
- On striking a balance between brand building and performance marketing (24:32)
- On the importance of meshing performance figures and authenticity (26:35)
- On the most engaging content formats (28:04)
- Three quick questions: number 1 – If she could recommend three fundamental skills to young people, what would they be? (29:50)
- Question number 2: What’s a question that you’d like to be asked but no one does? (31:25)
- Question number 3: What tips can Sophia share to other introverts to overcome their aversion to speaking in public (32:15)
- On what quality every good leader needs (33:45)
- On crafting a company culture (35:42)
- On the best piece of advice she would give to her 14-year-old self (36:49)
- On how she counteracts her mind in order to follow her instinct (37:15)
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