If you’re looking for a rags to riches story with an ultra modern twist, look no further than Sophie Amoruso’s rapid rise to fame. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nasty Gal, the fastest growing e-commerce site in the US, Amoruso credits her brand to hard work and online banter.

Whilst many traditional retailers are debating the value of Facebook, Amoruso’s swift success has come via social media savvy and a keen eye for fashion.

According to BBC News Online, with more than 1 million Facebook likes, 207k Twitter followers and $100 million revenue in 2013, Nasty Gal is an online fashion store that began as an eBay vintage clothing sale. Amoruso started her online life hawking found goods and chance bargains; it’s widely published that her first sale was a shoplifted item.

The Nasty Gal fashion brand is a textbook testament to the power of social media. By fostering public relations borne of grass root customer service and stakeholder relationships built through social media, Amoruso has now expanded to bricks and mortar stores – converse to the pathway that most retailers follow.

Whilst Amoruso describes herself as a “community college drop out”, her business models a best practice response to the challenges that many public relations practitioners are only beginning to address- namely how to harness “two way and symmetrical communication”. (Grunig: 2009)

At first glance, Amoruso’s growth of Nasty Gal appears as a linear rise to fame of a clever retail concept, yet equally, this is a story of intuitive public relations at its very best. Through early adoption of social media, teamed with an acute understanding of stakeholder online relationships, Amoruso has produced a global branding built on the type of communication that academics such as Grunig are only beginning to theorise.

Grunig, J. E. (2009). Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalisation. Prism 6(2): 1


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