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It’s the end of an era for #Girlboss as founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso steps down

After selling ownership of the company she founded back in December, Amoruso cites the pandemic and declining revenue as a reason to step away.

It’s the end of an era for #Girlboss as founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso steps down
[Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images]

It’s déjà vu all over again.

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Sophia Amoruso, the outspoken founder of apparel retailer Nasty Gal and more recently of multimedia company Girlboss, is stepping down as CEO. She announced the move in an Instagram post.

Back in January 2015, on the heels of a challenging prior year that saw sales declines and the subsequent cut of 10% of its staff, Amoruso handed over the CEO reins to then-Nasty Gal president Sheree Waterson. The company eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016.

Last December she sold Girlboss—a media platform that hosted events, a blog, a podcast, and even a social network that was dubbed “LinkedIn for Women”—to Attention Capital, a new media holding company that aspired to become the next IAC. She remained its CEO.

Until now: Amoruso says she’s ceding the helm to “the very capable five-person digital-first team” and leaving along with 10 others.

Once again, the move appears to be based on slowing revenue. In her post, Amoruso writes:

2020 has quite literally been a world of pain for most of us in some way, shape, or form. For Girlboss, COVID was a head-on, high-speed collision.

The Girlboss business relies upon two things to drive revenue: events and brands sponsoring those events. Yes, we also host podcasts, send newsletters, and are highly visible on social, but the majority of our brand partnerships are also predicated on some integration with the Girlboss Rally.

I’ll keep most of the details for the next book, but essentially it boiled down to this: we had a high 8–figure partnership lined up, along with other deals that we’d already closed. Then BAM. COVID hit. Revenue decimated.

In the post, Amoruso noted that the Girlboss social network community was 60,000 members strong. And donations to female entrepreneurs totaled $430,000, among other accomplishments.

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“I’m not sure what’s next for me, but what I am sure of is that I’ll always be a champion for Girlboss,” Amoruso wrote. “I’ll always be ‘the’ Girlboss. And I’ll keep harvesting my learnings for all of you as much as I can, wherever I can.”

And while she said she plans to prioritize “wellbeing over my ambition” and “inspired to give more than I receive, and to be of service,” she’s already launched “a little love letter/newsletter” that she hopes her followers will subscribe to. What will she discuss? “Entrepreneurship, money, productivity, marketing, and, life and stuff,” naturally.

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About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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