You’ve probably come across the term ‘Girlboss’, but do you know who coined this buzzword of millennial women? That would be American entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso with her book of the same name. Part autobiography part guide to career success, Girlboss chronicles how Amoruso grew her side hustle into a global online retailer that at one point turned over $100m in yearly revenue. She’s also covered Forbes Magazine, with her inclusion on a list of the richest self-made women and had her best-selling book adapted into a Netflix Original series. So it’s fair to say that if anyone deserves the title of Girlboss it’s Amoruso.
Amoruso’s career trajectory was far from ordinary, and it’s something that has set her apart from her contemporaries. In her teen years she dropped out of school to be home-schooled and worked odd jobs up until her early twenties, hitchhiking and dumpster diving as a way to get by. At 22, she began selling her vintage clothes on eBay, and a short two years later in 2008 she founded her own retail website, NastyGal. Here she continued to sell vintage pieces, but also stocked other brands, going on to launch NastyGal original collections in 2012. It was her rapid rise to success and her desire to impart what she had learned on this journey that led to the publication of Girlboss, and the birth of its sister podcast Girlboss Radio. Though in 2017 the unstoppable force that was Sophia Amoruso came to an abrupt halt as NastyGal filed for bankruptcy.
To the outsider, it would seem as though everything that had made Amoruso a Girlboss had been taken from her, though she knew how valuable the community that had formed around her was, so she took the Girlboss brand and ran with it. In the same year that NastyGal filed for bankruptcy, Amoruso founded Girlboss Media, a lifestyle brand focussed on content, which now produces 4 podcasts, digital and social content and coordinates Girlboss Rally - conferences held across America and streamed online. Amoruso’s goal with this new venture was to create a place where women can come together to inspire and connect with each other, to support and advance their careers, be that within the companies they work for, or companies they found themselves. She gathers women from all walks of life to tell their stories, either through a podcast or in real life, in order for others to learn from their experience and progress on their journey to achieving their goals.
Amoruso has faced depression and ADHD, a meteoric level of success and a very public fall from the top, and it is perhaps because of this that she works to put mental health and self-care as an integral part of Girlboss Media. One such example is the ‘Self Service’ podcast, where host Jerico Mandybur has conversations about self-care, mental health and emotions. What’s also interesting is that the podcast draws on concepts from astrology and witchcraft, historically feminine ideas that wouldn’t have a place in a male dominated business world. The prioritising of mental health is evident in the way Girlboss Media is run too, where they offer employees one day to work from home a week, they provide a comfy and welcoming open work space and they hold weekly meetings to share their recent ‘Girlboss Moments’ with one another.
Sophia Amoruso has been through it all and keeps going when the strongest of us would quit. She is inspiring the next generation of business leaders and providing them with resources to better themselves, and more importantly, take care of themselves. And for these reasons, I don’t think she will be losing her Girlboss crown any time soon.