The future is pink and full of bosses for Sophia Amoruso.
The Nasty Gal founder has turbocharged her efforts to take the brand Girlboss, which was also the title of her 2014 book, into a full fledged digital media, entertainment and education company called Girlboss Media with its inaugural event, Girlboss Rally, which was held in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
The sold-out event drew roughly 500 attendees and some 50 speakers who included Amoruso (naturally), Instagram cofounder and chief executive officer Kevin Systrom, comedian Whitney Cummings, actress Britt Robertson, BBG Ventures president and managing partner Susan Lyne, Peggy Noland, Glossier and Into The Gloss founder and ceo Emily Weiss, Beautycon Media ceo Moj Mahdara, L’Oreal vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship Rachel Weiss, True & Co. cofounder and ceo Michelle Lam, Vice Media chief operating officer Alyssa Mastromonaco and Nasty Gal ceo Sheree Waterson, among many others across fashion, finance, entertainment, beauty and media.
It’s a new plot point on the graph for Amoruso, who is starting over and perhaps redefining success for herself.
“Sure, I’ve been on the covers of these magazines… but it’s not really what success is and so I think to reframe the concept of success together… it’s a really important thing and that’s what we’re focusing on,” Amoruso said.
The six-person Girlboss Media team, currently based out of a Silver Lake live/work space, aims to do similar events and more publishing in the future, she added.
The all-day conference, which charged $350 for general admission or $600 for VIP access, featured many speakers who have appeared on the Girlboss podcast and several who consider themselves friends of Amoruso.
“Sophia’s a bud. I’m a big fan and I would support her in anything she wants to do, and the Girlboss property and brand spoke to me the minute she wrote the book,” said Sara Christensen, who spoke at the event and was also on one of Amoruso’s podcasts.
Christensen, who cofounded juice bar Liquiteria and about 15 years ago transitioned to the investment side, mused about meeting a couple Rally attendees during a VIP cocktail Friday who already knew her story through the podcast.
“Girlboss now has a global reach and women supporting women is near and dear to my heart,” she said.
“I think it’s really cool to surround yourself with people that inspire you and people that you want to become, so there are people [at the Rally] who are further ahead in their careers in building companies and also people who are just starting, and I like that dynamic,” said Tyler Haney, the founder and ceo of athletic brand Outdoor Voices and one of the day’s speakers. “So it’s fun to pop yourself in the middle of that.”
Whether Girlboss Media is successful remains to be seen, but that Amoruso managed to build a digital brand once before in Nasty Gal could bode well as she bridges the online and offline worlds.
“I think at the end of the day we’re the same people who live offline who live online,” said Rachel Shechtman, another speaker and the former brand consultant who founded the retail concept store Story in New York. “We spend our time in a digital world but we live in a physical world. We’re very familiar with community in a digital world and so I think all these events and conferences and gatherings are the 3.0 version of community. We want to be connected. The more options there are in a digital world, the more we’re deprived in a physical world and all these events are a response to that.”
Amoruso said her book tours, first with “#Girlboss” and then last year’s release of “Nasty Galaxy,” could be likened to mini conferences where she saw people network with one another while standing in line.
She sees opportunity in Girlboss and it’s also a fresh start. Nasty Gal, the company she founded in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in November and was approved for sale in February to Boohoo.com plc in a $20 million deal for the intellectual property. That same month Amoruso packed up her office at the Nasty Gal headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
“I feel like I’m less in a transitional period than I have been for the last few years actually because Nasty Gal was finding its way and there were changes over the course of the last two years — some of them weren’t fun, and I did my very best,” she said. “‘Girlboss’ was a book I wrote. I never planned to do anything more with it, but it could become much more.”
The hashtag has almost five million impressions on Instagram, she said, and there’s the “Girlboss” Netflix series loosely based on the start and rise of Nasty Gal set to debut in April.
It’s the turn of a corner perhaps both personally and professionally now for the entrepreneur, who is seen as one of the trailblazers in digital brand building.
“I got a divorce seven months ago and Nasty Gal happened. I’m in a new relationship. I’m starting a new company,” she said. “I’m learning all kinds of things about myself that I thought I knew and then have the opportunity to unlearn and relearn, so I’d say it’s really exhilarating to feel like I can get my hands dirty at a small company again.”
In fact, Amoruso said, what she’s doing now — starting from scratch and building anew — feels the most natural to her.
“Every decision that you make becomes something you live out for the next year or years or decade,” she said of starting over. “In the beginning you’re not burdened by the legacy of your technology or [a] department. Whatever you created you’re really in a place [of] pure invention in a way and that’s the best part.”