Most people who start online businesses, well, fail. That cannot be said for the starkly brilliant and beautiful Sophia Amoruso: the brainchild behind Nasty Gal, which was just named LA's fastest growing local company by LA Observed. The 28-year old entrepreneur began selling one-of-a-kind vintage pieces on eBay in 2006 out of her San Francisco apartment and has turned that hobby into a $128 million business. Seeing social media as her most fashionable designer, Amoruso took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr instead of hiring big league PR firms. And it looks like she absolutely didn't need to.
Some numbers: Nasty Gal has grown over 500% each year since its inception and counts over 150,000 customers in more than 50 countries worldwide. Inc. rated it the fasted growing retailer in the country in 2012. Nasty Gal has over 485,000 Facebook fans, 55,000 Twitter followers and 340,000 Instagram followers.
The website offers eccentric, stylish, risky, and flirtatiously hip pieces and isn't stopping there. Amoruso just launched SUPER NASTY, a biannual print publication, and had iconic fashion photographer Terry Richardson shoot the Nasty Gal Fall '12 Collection.
HuffPost LA has been dying to get to know the mastermind behind the site for months now (she also stand-in models some of the clothing) and now our wish has come true.
Click through the slideshow below to read the Q&A.
All images courtesy of Nasty Gal
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<em>[Sophia Amoruso pictured here]</em> <strong>Neighborhood?</strong> Los Feliz. <strong>LA Transplant or Native Angeleno? </strong> LA Transplant. I grew up in Sacramento, California and started Nasty Gal in San Francisco.
<em>[Sophia Amoruso pictured here]</em> <strong>You have built nothing short of a fashion empire in a matter of six years. Nasty Gal's stats are pretty amazing. You have the fastest growing company in LA and jumped from $223,000 revenue in 2008 to $22.9 <em>million</em> in 2011. What has been the greatest joy in building this company? What have been some of the most frustrating challenges? </strong> When a company is expanding at the rate that Nasty Gal is, it's really nice to take a step back and answer questions like this one. Obviously the greatest joy in building this company has been watching it grow from an eBay store to a multi-million dollar business in just under six years. With that, there will always be challenges along the way. Our biggest one thus far, is being able to hire as quickly as we need positions filled - which is a great problem to have!
<strong>Nasty Gal's Instagram is disgustingly popular. What do you think makes a good Instagram photo? What makes a bad one? </strong> Instagram is really all about being spontaneous. Whatever your mood, whatever you see that strikes you, that's really where a picture can tell a story. Instagram has been great for giving our followers an exclusive look into what's new and on the horizon, including photo shoots and the Nasty Gal company culture.
<strong>You started your business in your San Francisco apartment, eventually moved to an office space and then expanded to an even bigger space before moving it all to Los Angeles in 2011. What new inspirations have you found in LA? How are LA and San Francisco different or the same? </strong> San Francisco is a very conservative place -- the retailers there are guys like Banana Republic, Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and the like. The models reflect that, and there is not much of a fashion community in San Francisco. Los Angeles is a young, exciting place that thrives on change and hope -- it's a great place for the business to be.
<strong>What stands out to you about LA street fashion?</strong> I think that, because the weather is so predictable, it's much easier to wear what you love vs. what's practical -- I do miss the coats and layers I became so accustomed to in San Francisco, but I must say that Los Angeles has (literally) given me legs!
<strong>How do you define personal style?</strong> Personal style is simply making an effort -- it can be good or bad. Not everyone considers getting dressed to be having "style." It's the difference between self-expression and utility.
<strong>What is the most beautiful place in LA to you?</strong> Malibu, by far. It's rural life on the beach -- so incredible.
<strong>What is your perfect Saturday or Sunday itinerary when you have friends in town? </strong> I love to go to the Griffith Park Observatory, the maybe down to La Poubelle for a snack or a drink. Then out to West Third to check out the shops, and back home for drinks and dinner. Honestly, I'm a homebody.
<strong>One article of clothing, one pair of shoes and one piece of jewelry you would never want to live without?</strong> A rock tee, mary-jane platform pumps, and a big ass ring.
<strong>Three tips for people trying to reinvent their look?</strong> Lipstick! Bangs! And hair color...
<strong>Tell us about SUPER NASTY magazine. What is your greatest hope for it?</strong> SUPER NASTY is a limited-edition print publication inspired by the spirit of Nasty Gal. The theme of this issue is Best Friends Forever, made by friends for friends to celebrate the kaleidoscopic nature of friendships through the open roads of fashion, art, music and culture.
<strong>What are some of your favorite fashion or style magazines? </strong> I like <em>I-D</em>, <em>Oyster</em>, <em>Russh</em>, and honestly, I love me some <em>Elle</em>.
<strong>(a) Favorite dish at an LA restaurant? (b) A a song that reminds you of LA? (c) Freeways or side streets?</strong> The filet at La Poubelle. X, White Girl. Depends on the destination.
<strong>Have you ever been made fun of for wearing something eclectic or eccentric?</strong> Yeah, totally. I wore dickies and skate shoes with a horrible bandana on my head in high school. Not a cute look.
<strong>Tell us about the new Nasty Gal Collection that launched last month.</strong> Nasty Gal's debut collection 'Weird Science' launched on August 27. Inspired by everything from '80s bondage wear to corrupted computer files, the limited edition dresses are hacked and fused with metal, while moto jackets get unexpected twists like mesh panels and knee-grazing fringe.
<strong>Airbrushing and overly-skinny models are under constant fire in the fashion world. How important is it to you to find models that represent real women?</strong> Nasty Gal customers are all about being pretty but not overly cool, and that stands for our models as well. We choose girls that are flirty, badass and relatable to the everyday girl.
<strong>What motivates you most on a daily basis?</strong> One-upping myself. The business one-upping itself. Competing with no one but our own present and past.
<strong>Your site has been called an "online boutique of a new generation." What do you think this new generation wants?</strong> The "new generation" is the same one I grew up in. Knowing how to directly connect with our customers through the internet and social media comes naturally, and is therefore more relatable to the girls who shop with us.
<strong>The moment you knew you wanted to make LA your home...? </strong> When I realized we needed to hire amazing creative talent. I moved to LA taking a chance on finding some awesome people and LA is where it's thriving.