Sophia Amoruso
Speaking to The Diary of a CEO, Amoruso said that the first thing she sold, was stolen. @sophiaamoruso via Instagram

Christina Amoruso is an American entrepreneur, author and the former CEO of online fashion retailer NastyGal, named one of the wealthiest self-made women in the world by Forbes in 2016.
Amoruso founded NastyGal in 2006, which has since been listed as one of the "fastest-growing companies."

A little over ten years later, in 2017, the former CEO created Girlboss Media, a content company that supports women's professional and personal progression.

In the same year, Netflix launched its new comedy series "GIRLBOSS," which followed Amoruso's journey to becoming the owner of a multi-million-dollar fashion empire and starred Actor Britt Robertson.

The comedy series was inspired by the former CEO's best-selling autobiography, #GIRLBOSS, which revealed how Amoruso started her business by selling clothes online and working on a college campus.

Speaking to The Diary Of a CEO, the most-listened-to podcast in the UK that boasts an average of 990.1K views each month, Amoruso said that she grew up in the suburban region of Sacramento, California.

"The homogenous nature of living in the suburbs is something that totally crushed me. I knew that there was more out there, and I didn't know what it was," the former CEO revealed. "I wanted out from a very young age."

After finally moving out of her parent's house at just 20 years old, Amoruso said that she started a career as a stripper.

"It was fun, I loved it," she said, noting: "Nobody pulled anything, I never got messed with. I drank my White Russians and ate my Subway sandwich from next door... I got to dance to music that I liked, made money, didn't really have to engage with anybody, and got really comfortable with my body in a way I hadn't before."

"I wasn't even 21; I used someone else's ID to work there."

As an insecure teenager, while reflecting on her stripping career, the former CEO said that her work was "like exposure therapy."

Sophia Amoruso
Amoruso founded NastyGal in 2006. Forbes/@sophiaamoruso via Instagram

During the rebellious early years of her twenties, Amoruso said that she was arrested for shoplifting.

"That was a low point," she said, going on to recognise that the crimes "taught me that breaking some rules puts you in other people's hands" and only acted as a "shortcut" to avoid working an autonomous job.

"The first thing that I sold online was stolen," the former CEO added, explaining that she would steal a "huge stack of books and put them on Amazon for 10 cents less than all the other resellers."

"I would sell them overnight, ship them through media mail, and pay my $350 dollar rent."

"I am not proud of this. I was really young, and I was fighting my way. I never stole from individuals."

At 21 years old, Amoruso founded NastyGal.

NastyGal, named after an album by American singer-songwriter Betty Davis, started as an eBay and reselling store that sold vintage garments.

As the only employee, Amoruso said that NastyGal generated $75,000 in revenue in its first year, which she returned to the business. Six months into NastyGal's second year, which saw $250,000 in revenue, the former CEO left eBay and created her website.

"The next year did $1.1 million, the next year did $6.5 million, and the next year did $12 million," Amoruso revealed.

"It's crazy how fast it all happened. NastyGal went from doing $150,000 a year to doing $150,000 a day and then $150,000 over lunch."

Sophia Amoruso
NastyGal was listed as one of the "fastest-growing companies" in 2016. Marie Claire/@sophiaamoruso via Instagram

At its peak, NastyGal, home to 200 employees, saw an average of 100 million annual sales.
While the retailer's growth rate highlighted Amoruso's success as an inexperienced entrepreneur, the former CEO said that "things became too complex too fast."

After Index Ventures handed down a $40 million pledge the same year she founded Girlboss Media, Amoruso was forced to file for bankruptcy and announced that she was stepping down as CEO.

Although she had previously received an offer to sell the company for $400 million, in 2017, NastyGal was sold to British online retailer for $20 million.

Amoruso advised aspiring entrepreneurs: "I would say to listen to your gut. There will be a lot of voices around you, and there will be people who know more than you and have experience. You should listen to them, but you should also maintain and continue to cultivate a voice that can supersede any advice that anyone gives you."

Since leaving her post as CEO, having learned from her mistakes, Amoruso founded the Venture Capital Trust Fund to support other startups and businesses with rapid growth.

The now 39-year-old also works as a mentor, supporting the newest generation of founders and entrepreneurs.