"#Girlboss," Amoruso's first foray into writing, has garnered
attention since its release this month for the intimate details
of the entrepreneur's turbulent past: from being a broke and
shoplifting youngster to harnessing the power of the Internet to
sell vintage clothing on eBay.
Sitting in her 55,000-square-foot (5,100-square-meter) loft
office in downtown Los Angeles, the Louis Vuitton-clad Amoruso
oversees hundreds of employees at NastyGal headquarters, her
eBay business now a flourishing online fashion brand.
In "#Girlboss," part-memoir and part-business advice, the
30-year-old entrepreneur adopts a friendly, sassy voice to dole
out the lessons she has learned along the way.
Q: How do you feel about being labeled in dichotomies?
A: I think the best things exist in real extremes like
that. Past and present, I mean mine is really extreme, but I
think I'm really happy for it. It's like only through the low
points that I appreciate the high points. And I think there's a
certain amount of naivete that came with my story, that has made
me able to tackle things that I have tackled, because I don't
think I knew how hard it was to build a business this big.
If someone had told me, I probably would have been terrified ...
it's the people around me who have more experience than I do
that really understand the gravity of what I'm achieving.
Q: You write that you don't like to use the word 'luck'
for your success, but was there a case of the stars aligning?
A: Yes, the stars definitely exists, and they align or
they don't align, and I think that following my gut - and you
can call it gut, you can call it stars aligning - there were
decisions I was making along the way that made this happen for
sure. But there's also the serendipity of meeting the right
person at the right time, and the serendipity of just having the
idea at the right time that drives you to actually ask for
something rather than have it fall on your lap. ...
[to top of second column]
A lot of it has been run on how I feel, which people don't talk
about. Maybe people haven't written business books about that
because it's pretty esoteric and weird and you can't quantify it,
it's not something they teach in business school.
Q: Some entrepreneurs like to say one must fail in order to
succeed, but you haven't really endured failure with NastyGal?
A: Failure is, it's like those are the people who are going
out in the world and saying, 'This is what I want to do, and if this
doesn't work, I've failed,' which I never did. I never wanted to be
a CEO. I mean, I want to be one today but I never intended to be a
CEO. I never intended to build a $100 million business. If that was
what I was focused on, I think I would be missing all of these
things along the way, all of the small things that got us here.
Q: You discuss book-smarts versus street-smarts and not going
to college yourself. What is your stance on college?
A: It just wasn't for me. I think it's amazing. I think if you know
what value you can derive from college and are mature enough to do
that and get what there is to get out of the college experience,
it's perfect ... If you're unhappy like I was, and too impatient to
complete four years of anything at that age, it's not for you.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Patricia Reaney and
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