Nasty Gal is an American retailer that specializes in fashion for young women. The company has more than 550,000 customers in over 60 countries. Founded by Sophia Amoruso in 2006, Nasty Gal was named “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012 by INC Magazine. Nasty Gal is based in Los Angeles. Amoruso originally began selling vintage clothes from her eBay account, and later switched to sell its own label of clothes, on her own website. In 2017, the company was purchased by the BooHoo Group out of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Many customers have complained about their quality in fabric and customer service.
In 2006, while working as a campus safety host at Academy of Art University, Amoruso launched an ebay store based in San Francisco, selling old pieces of clothing. The store was named Nasty Gal Vintage, the name being inspired by Betty Davis. On their website, the company calls Davis "the patron saint of badass women ... complete with lamé platform thigh-high boots." The eBay store sold vintage fashion that Amoruso would source at secondhand stores; one such find, a Chanel jacket she purchased at a Salvation Army store for , she sold for more than ,000.
As part of the process of founding Nasty Gal, Amoruso was initially handling everything from buying merchandise to photographing the pieces and writing the products' descriptions. Amoruso primarily used MySpace to communicate with her customers and by 2007, had built up a following of 60,000 friends on that platform. In June 2008, Amoruso moved Nasty Gal Vintage off eBay and onto its own destination site. Nasty Gal’s first hire was through Craigslist of Christina Ferrucci. Ferrucci functioned as Nasty Gal’s Senior Buyer and Buying Director for more than six years, leaving Nasty Gal in November 2014.
In 2009, Nasty Gal moved into its first warehouse space in Berkeley, California; the company’s growth drove its next move shortly afterwards to a 7,500-square-foot warehouse in Emeryville, California. Amoruso has emphasized in interviews the importance of social media to Nasty Gal’s growth.
In 2010, Nasty Gal moved its headquarters to Los Angeles, California. In 2012, the company joined the Index Portfolio with a million series A investment in early 2012, followed by a million series B round of funding in August 2012.
By 2012, the online retailer employed approximately 110 people and had opened an additional distribution center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, while its 2011 revenue reached million, marking an 11,200% three-year growth rate. In late 2012, Sarah Wilkinson from ASOS joined Nasty Gal as the company’s Vice President of Design.
In 2014, Nasty Gal opened its first brick and mortar store in Los Angeles at 8115 Melrose Avenue. The store has Nasty Gal footwear, apparel, accessories and intimates, alongside items by brands including Jeffrey Campbell, For Love and Lemons, Cameo and vintage by designer labels such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Moschino.
On January 12, 2015, Amoruso announced that Sheree Waterson would take over as CEO of Nasty Gal. Waterson, formerly president of Nasty Gal, now partners with Amoruso to evolve its retail presence on a larger scale. Amoruso continues as founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal.
Waterson also joined the Nasty Gal board of directors alongside Amoruso and Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer.
On March 27, 2015, Nasty Gal opened its second brick and mortar store in Santa Monica. The 6,500-square-foot store is located on the popular Third Street Promenade and was designed by architect Rafael de Cardenas. The store features a full-service shoe salon and two-way-mirrored fitting rooms.
In 2016, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy. The British-owned BooHoo group announced in February 2017 they had purchased Nasty Gal. Nasty Gal will now be under the BooHoo portfolio umbrella.
In 2017, Nasty Gal would be opening its first UK pop-up shop on London’s Carnaby Street in November.
In 2015, a lawsuit was filed accusing Nasty Gal of allegedly firing four employees because of pregnancy in violation of California laws.
Nasty Gal has faced criticism online in a variety of publications due to its allegedly "toxic" work environment and numerous negative reviews on Glassdoor from unhappy employees.
Nasty Gal’s original label launched in 2012 and consists of limited-edition styles. In September 2012, Nasty Gal debuted its first Nasty Gal Fall/Winter 2012 Collection – Weird Science- during New York Fashion Week. Since then, the company has continued to launch various collections timed to major fashion seasons throughout the year. In addition, Nasty Gal launched its first-ever footwear collection, Shoe Cult by Nasty Gal, in August 2013. In 2014, Nasty Gal debuted three additional in-house collections: the vintage-inspired Nasty Gal Denim Collection, Nasty Gal Swimwear, and Nasty Gal Lingerie. Nasty Gal also collaborated on a swimwear line with Minimale Animale in 2014. Additionally, Nasty Gal collaborated with M∙A∙C Cosmetics on a capsule collection of lipsticks and nail polish in December 2014.
Expansion into publishing
In 2012, Nasty Gal released the first issue of what was planned to be a semiannual "lifestyle magazine", titled Super Nasty, which featured spreads on "fashion, music and culture," and was included free in customers' orders. Amoruso functioned as an editor-in-chief.
Contributors and photographers for the magazine's first issue include Terry Richardson, Hugh Lippe, Jeff Hahn, Alexandra Richards, Syd tha Kyd, Langley Hemingway, and Girls writer Lesley Arfin.
The second issue of Super Nasty was issued in spring 2013 and featured Kesh, model Sidney Williams, Io Echo, Haley Wollens, Phoebe Collings-James, Charli XCX, and Akiko Matsuura.
In 2014, Nasty Gal founder Amoruso published the best-selling book, #GIRLBOSS. Following the book’s release, Amoruso launched the GIRLBOSS Foundation to inspire women to take their careers into their own hands. The foundation awards grants each quarter to women with creative projects.
On April 21, 2017, Netflix released their new original show, Girlboss, loosely based on the book. The series has since been cancelled after Season 1.
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