How To Be A #GIRLBOSS: Review
Last night in bed I visited nastygal.com for the first time. I’d heard of it a few years back but just thought it was “just another ASOS”. How wrong I was! Ten minutes later I realised how totally unique it was, how it makes you feel a bit more “individual” than any high street purchases, and it wasn’t crazy expensive!; in a nutshell it’s not like most online clothes sites where it is generic dress after generic dress, it has a VIBE. Maybe it was these “Alexander Shades” which made me feel all nostalgic about the vintage sunglasses my Nan used to wear, or these gangster JC play Jeffrey Campbell platforms called “As If”, or a leather scrunchie….WITH BUNNY EARS.
You catch my drift. This isn’t your normal online store. Plus you don’t feel robbed, which is always nice. The sartorial gems you find on Nasty Gal have something you feel is generally going represent your weird style without being too sheepy. You can also buy books amongst the clothes which I’d never really seen before on a fashion e-store. I reckon that’s a little reminder from founder/CEO Sophia Amoruso that’s there more to fashion than what meets the eye; i.e. that you also need brains and intellect to be a “badass bitch”.
So, that brings me neatly onto Sophia, my new idol in life. Described as the “cooler girl’s version of Sheryl Sandberg” (or something like that), which I thought was a bit weird because they don’t really have anything in common. Except for releasing feminist books about business. Also I must apologise to anyone that unfortunately follows me on Twitter or Instagram because I get obsessed with things, and at the moment it’s #GIRLBOSS, Sophia’s new book/memoir/self-help guide that has taken the world by storm. It’s like when you play a song you like over and over again, no doubt pissing off everyone you know. So, sorry ’bout that. I knew I had to write a blog post about it to get it out of my system. Ahem.
I read a fair few reviews before I got my own paws on #GIRLBOSS, and I must say I feel a bit bad for being a bit judgy beforehand. I wasn’t sure how good the book was going to be. I also assumed that the success of Nasty Gal must have come from some sort of big corporation, or that Sophia had a famous family or was rich or something. I feel bad for thinking it was nepotism straight off the bat. But how many girls do you know who are millionaires before the age of 30, who were shit at school and had loads of weird crappy jobs? It’s an amazing, amazing story. I regret my previous cynicism, my god I am so surprised, impressed and hugely inspired by Sophia’s journey. I hate the term “rags to riches” but it is pretty much the most niche, crazy story of nothing-to-everything I have ever read about.
I’m going to sum up the top five things I found most inspiring from Sophia’s book, otherwise this blog post could go on for a VERY long time.
1. You literally have to work REALLY hard: Sophia doesn’t beat around the bush. She describes in detail the sweat, blood and tears that went into making her company work. She was addicted to growing it and put all her time and effort into it, day after day, didn’t slack off just because she was “working from home”. She would work all day and half way through the night to make sure all her eBay packages looked perfect for her customers. Her customers would think that there was a team behind her store but it was just her, in a room, doing everything. If you want something hard enough you have to work for it and be OK with rejection. All successful people are basically the ones left who kept working, working working and fighting for it. Having a good work ethic and self-motivation is completely key. She’s not a fan of people who think you can just handed a dream job on a plate.
2. Being the loser at school is a good thing: There is a section in #GIRLBOSS called “School is not my jam”. She basically talks about how she hated school, she wasn’t very good at stuff and the teachers gave her a hard time. She shows us her report cards which are pretty bad. I definitely think that a lot of people who struggle to focus on the routines of school/university can thrive in the working world better than those kids who never took risks and played by the rules. The naughty ones can turn out to be better suited to more scatty, creative roles.
3. The power of social media networking: The most fascinating parts for me were how Sophia built her own network with just an internet connection. She built up a huge customer base on MySpace (retro) from manually friend requesting people and chatting about her store, then on eBay she’d be her own photographer and creative director, and then moved it over to her own website where she had full ownership. It’s safe to say that her website wouldn’t have been successful from the start without her hefty social media following. She’d single-handed built up connections and marketed herself via social channels, and delivered amazing, friendly customer service.
4. Start saving your dollars: Sophia might be a self-made millionaire but she also has some good advice on saving and not spending money you don’t have. There’s a great chapter called “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet”, and she has a point. She talks about how you should be saving 10% every month into savings, calling it an “oh shit” fund (for any situations in which you end up slightly screwed).
5. Don’t be “selectively mean”: There are some interesting chapters on how to “stay employed” as Sophia got fired from so many earlier jobs she talks about job etiquette and how to act in the workplace (and not be a dick, basically). She talks about the positive benefits of having a tough boss, how not to over-share *too* much, don’t chew gum in job interviews, plus her pet-hate: those people who are “selectively mean”, the people who are nice to their boss/people higher up but really mean to anyone ‘below’ them. Ugh.
It’s a really, really good and useful book, especially to anyone who’s needing a bit of a pep talk about their career. Buy here.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic