It inspired the #Girlboss phenomenon, but thing have taken a turn for fashion-favorite brand Nasty Gal as its founder Sophia Amoruso – described as the “Cinderella of tech” and a “fashion phenomenon” – confirms shock reports the company has filed for bankruptcy.
Speaking at a sold-out breakfast event for Business Chicks, at Sydney’s The Star this morning, it was inevitable Amoruso – who handed over the role of chief executive last year but remains on the board as its executive director – would address whispers the company has sought Chapter 11 protection to help it restructure after two years of financial trouble.
It was the first thing host, Business Chicks’ founder and CEO Emma Isaacs, asked about as the room of 1,000 women who paid $169 to hear her speak about “the good, bad and ugly bits of her business journey” listened intently.
An emotional Amoruso called the timing of her visit to Australia to speak about her personal success with the company’s fall from grace as “wild”.
“I didn’t expect this to happen while I’m here. Leading up to a choice like this that a board has to make to fulfil its judiciary responsibilities, there are so many factors – and options on the table. Many were considered… and ultimately what was crazy is that filing a Chapter 11… it’s actually the most responsible thing to do right now, which is just like a bonkers thing to actually consider.”
She went on to say that Nasty Gal – which she started as an eBay store back in ’06 – would likely be sold off but continue to operate in some form.
“As it stands, what happened yesterday actually allows us to continue operating and to provide some relief and a moment of pause as we get out of things, like a 500,000 square-foot lease in Kentucky.”
Isaacs congratulated Amoruso on her strength and bravery in addressing the issue so publically, at which point she broke down in tears.
“For my first business… I got really far,” she said to cheers.
The LA-based company – known for decking girls out in lace, leather, tartan, velvet, platforms and more (think Spice Girls meets Courtney Love) – has had a turbulent couple of years.
Highs include the release of Amoruso’s 2014 book #GirlBoss – a New York Times bestseller which inspired a podcast, website and TV show soon-to-be on Netflix (Charlize Theron is an exec producer), as well as earning Amoruso a spot on Forbes‘ 2016 Richest Self-Made Women list (she as a personal valuation of US$280M).
It was only weeks ago that she released a followup book, called Nasty Galaxy, “part scrapbook, part inspo-journey, with moments of frivolity scattered throughout.”
The less peachy side of things include laying off 10% of the business’ staff last year, as well as multiple discriminatory lawsuits filed by former employees, with one lawsuit alleging that the company illegally terminated three employees when they fell pregnant.
Watch this space for more on the future of Amoruso’s #Girlboss empire.
Photo: Twitter / @LucyOrmonde.