Images: Kayleigh Watson (except above).
The first time I read this book, I didn’t need it; I had succumbed to my lot and was in the middle of a post-uni, quarter-life crisis transitional period, but felt as though I was on my way.
The second time I read this book, I really needed it; looking back, I was in the middle of a dark spell, miserable in what my routine had become and was very stagnant within.
Prior to the second time, I had always been very cynical in receiving advice, especially one which wasn’t pre-tailored to my needs and one of which I’d have to interprate for myself. After reading #GIRLBOSS front to back however (the first time I frittered around chapters as they took my privy), I left – not with anwers – but with the seeds I needed to begin tangible change in my life.
#GIRLBOSS is the story of Sophia Amoruso. You may not have heard of her, but if you have the you would know that she is the founder and CEO of NASTY GAL, and for that she deserves your attention.
Having spent her teenage years being home-schooled (she hated school) and flitting from one retail job to the next, Amoruso began an eBay store in her early twenties selling vintage clothes (though the first item that she actually flogged online was a stolen book..). Her unpretentious and diligent, yet obvious, business aesthetic – stocking more of the pieces her customers clamoured for and doing away with what they did not – quickly saw her store, NASTY GAL vintage flourish. She relished taking photographs of models in her choice picks, was honest about the condition of her items, and delivered a rapid and personable customer service that would make many bigger businesses weep. But it paid off: her customers would return and – better yet – spread the word.
From my prior statements, you would be forgiven for thinking that it was plain sailing: for Amoruso, it wasn’t. She spent as much time flitting around retail as she did sofa surfing, stealing and trying to find something that paid and gave her a sense of personal satisfaction (and to that last point, aren’t we all?), but what quickly becomes apparent with Amoruso throughout #GIRLBOSS however, is her confidence in her own ability. She built NASTY GAL from the ground up without a single penny of debt. Never in a million years did she foresee her small eBay vintage store morph into a internet retail giant with an approximate $100 million turnover per annum – but it did. That was, by the large, the confidence she had to simply surf the waves and roll with the punches.
Most would not class Amoruso as CEO material. She definitely does not come from a highly privileged or Ivy League background. A childhood Tourette’s sufferer, an ADD teen and high school dropout who went on to become a shoplifter and then, somehow, a CEO of a multinational business, it is definitely somewhat of a Cinderella story – albeit, one of a modern day grafter. She states repeatedly that, even when working the most banal of jobs, she would do it to the best of her capability, not so much as to give her personal satisfaction as to alleviate the boredom most retail jobs induce. She recognises that to get to the top of any business or career, you have to start at the bottom rung of the ladder, and whilst the journey to the end goal is littered with trepidation for anybody starting out, Amoruso offers some sound advice.
- “Life is short. Don’t be lazy.”
- “Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back.”
- “Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favours action.”
- “You combine hard work, creativity, and self-determination, and things start to happen.”
- “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”
- “It is she who listens to the rest of the world who fails, and it is she who has enough confidence to define success and failure for herself who succeeds.”
- “There’s a certain freedom to beeing an outsider. You do what you want, say what you want, and move on when you’ve worn out your welcome.”
- “When your goal is to gain experience, perspective and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention.”
Admittedly, as perceptively contrived as life quotes may seem, there is more that came from. Where #GIRLBOSS succeeds is that that it bolsters in an affable way; it does not tell you what you are doing wrong, or make you feel guilty for not having already achieved a certain landmark. Instead, it tells you all that you could be doing better to improve on yourself and bring you closer to your goals, and whilst no advice book can give you answers, it can ask you questions that can lead you into a more self-fulfilling direction. It is positive affirmation that you have the power to be whatever you truly wish you could be, and as any young person in this day and age knows, that is indeed, half the battle fought.