Sophia Amoruso: Celebrity endorsers aren't great for fashion, either

By Nathaniel Mott , written on January 31, 2013

From The News Desk

Oh, sweet vindication. NastyGal founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso, the first PandoMonthly Los Angeles guest of 2013, spoke out against celebrity endorsements and their role in e-commerce companies -- a happy coincidence, given my earlier argument that new products should be sold by geeks, not celebrities.

"I think we're in an era where brands have to be completely transparent. And I'm also coming from a place where I'm very lucky to have not masterminded this business as 'I'm a female entrepreneur, I sell things to women.' It's been very serendipitous," Amoruso said.

But, on that same token, there may be a few companies that choose a celebrity co-founder or representative in an attempt to appeal to their target audience. Think something like BlackBerry hiring Alicia Keys as its creative director, but applied to e-commerce and on a greater scale.

"I do think there is definitely an element out there of, you know, companies who find women who represent the business in a way like 'They're the founder!' or 'They're the voice of the business' when they're not really running the business," she added, calling the practice an "interesting way of feigning transparency."

Amoruso relayed a story about how she was asked who her "dream" celebrity endorser would be, and said that she "couldn't even remember the names of some list of celebrities."

She continued, "But I just realized, when you put someone here [raises hand] it kinda puts you here [lowers hand], and that is fundamentally against what we're building. And I don't think we need anyone's stamp of approval -- I think we, and the customers, internally and collectively, are cool enough and confident enough to do what we're doing without requiring that."

That rule applies to technology products and to e-commerce equally well, and one can only hope that both categories of companies will realize this sooner rather than later.

To watch the interview in its entirety, click here