Is there trouble brewing in Nasty Gal?

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Sophia-AmorusoWhether you actually own some of their clothing items or not, you’ve probably heard of Nasty Gal. One of the more prominent fast-fashion labels on the high-street amongst the younger crowd, the brand is one of the most successful e-commerce companies. Did you know that they actually clinched $100 million in sales in 2012? Financial gains aside, not a lot of good things have been heard about the brand of late. Apart from their embarrassing faux pas at the Billboard’s Music Awards last month, it seems as though the company hasn’t been the nicest to their employees.

With just a humble 40 employees on the onset in 2012, the company went on a hiring frenzy and employed 280 more people by the end of 2013. Most of the new employees were top-tier management personnel poached from other high-street retailers. While newcomers were employed in higher-paid and more senior positions, original employees continued to work in the same positions as before. Unsurprisingly, the latter group felt undervalued and unappreciated, which culminated in some leaving the company.

Of course, we can’t forget about the growing celebrity status of founder, Sophia Amoruso. After the launch of her much-awaited book, #GIRLBOSS, in early January, she embarked on a highly publicsed book tour. Crediting the success of Nasty Gal to her apparent superpower prowess in terms of management ability, one of Amoruso’s notables quotes is: “I’ve had the luxury of managing people who don’t need to be managed… It’s an office full of girls and no one is bitchy… The one person who has permission to be bitchy is me and I’m not.”

That’s ironic considering the massive layoffs which soon followed. After the final round of dismissals, only about 100 employees were left in the company. It already sounds pretty awful that nearly two-thirds of the company were let go, but the manner in which the layoffs were carried out is even more questionable. It seems that pregnant women, those who were about to take maternity and paternity leaves, and those diagnosed with medical conditions were first targeted – ouch! Taken aback by the sudden turn of events, some dissatisfied ex-employees have filed lawsuits against the company.

Amoruso has since stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal. We shan’t jump to any conclusions but it sure sounds as if someone’s shirking responsibility, doesn’t it? With the high turnover rates in the company at both executive and top-tier management levels, there’s no doubt that there’s internal strife brewing beneath the veneer of booming consumer rates. Perhaps sticking true to their name, Nasty Gal has made the unconscious decision to up their “nasty” factor.

Photo Credit: Nasty Gal

Vanessa Ang