Meet Tori Robinson and Leah O’Malley: two industry trailblazers who turned their heartbreak into a multi-million dollar business.
Through their respective breakups, “Boys Lie” became their daily mantra and a term of endearment they used to build each other back up again.
Alas, the formidable empire we all know and love as Boys Lie was born.
Boys Lie has evolved from being a clothing brand, to a tight-knit community of strong, like-minded people learning how to heal.
Over the last 3 years, Tori and Leah have used their personal experiences to build an unparalleled community of loyal customers.
With 125k+ IG followers, Boys Lie has become a celebrity favorite for Megan Fox, Kehlani, Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa, Madison Beer, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Stella Maxwell, and Delilah Belle, among many others.
We sat down with the power-duo to discuss the evolution of their brand, how they’ve remained at the forefront of the fashion industry, and their unlikely journey to Forbes 30 under 30.
You were able to develop a streetwear brand into a multi-million dollar company. What’s your secret to success?
L: When we first started Boys Lie, we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into if I’m being completely honest. What I do know is that we both truly believed in the brand wholeheartedly. That passion and love for what we were doing generated a natural drive to bring our vision to life. There is no secret to success, you just have to really believe in what you are selling.
Can you talk a bit about your creative process? What drives your inspiration for each drop?
T: We are a very collaborative team when it comes to the creative process. We think about what is trending, how we can push the envelope, what designs we need for each release along with what will resonate with our loyal customers. Everything from the materials used to the affirmations on the garments is deeply and strategically well-thought-out.
L: Our inspiration comes from what our brand represents - various forms of heartbreak that don’t just symbolize our own experiences, but also the experiences of our customers. Everyone has their own story. We are inspired every day by all the reach outs we receive on the daily, and aim to incorporate these narratives into our designs.
In an industry that’s constantly evolving, how do you stay ahead of the trends?
T&L: We don’t stay ahead of the trends, we invent our own trends.
In what ways do you use social media to leverage your brand? In other words, how has social media played a critical role in the success of Boys Lie?
L: There is something really special about creating a unique and close relationship with your customers. When we first started our IG, Tori and I were logged in every day, communicating back and forth with our followers. In having those personal conversations, we were able to really connect with our consumers on a deeper, more humanistic level.
In a sense, we played an important “older sister” or “mentor” type of role with them. In doing so, it takes away from viewing Boys Lie as just a “brand” focused solely on making profit, and instead brings our faces and intimate, personal experiences to the label. When we are designing a new collection, we like to post “this or that” stories and have our consumer base choose what they want to see in the next line. It gives them the ability to play a role in designing the clothes with us, fostering an important dialogue that doesn’t always exist between brand and consumer.
Can you talk about the significance behind the name Boys Lie? How does this relate to your brand mission?
T: Boys Lie is a physical representation of overcoming heartbreaking experiences and learning how to hurdle over them. From what we’ve seen each other go through with our own heartbreaks, we wanted to show others that they are not alone in their feelings. In this regard, we’ve created a community of people who are learning how to heal.
L: It became our daily mantra, Boys Lie, not in a negative way, but more so about self-love and empowerment. It’s what got Tori and me through each day. Our goal was to create something that allowed you to wear your heart on your sleeve and to never feel like you are going through this alone. Heartbreak comes in different shapes and sizes and we are a brand where you can express that freely, without judgment.
You both were selected as Forbes 30 under 30 honorees in 2021. Can you talk a bit about your journey to this point?
T&L: Boys Lie was originally launched as a cosmetics company with two pieces of merch however, what we thought would be a great success ended up being one of our greatest mistakes. We did not succeed in creating this revolutionary makeup company that we had envisioned and were faced with the reality to re-strategize and pivot our business model.
We had noticed that our two pieces of merch featuring empowering messages had quickly grown in popularity and spurred our decision to further explore the fashion side. In the Spring of 2019, we relaunched Boys Lie as a comfortable knit streetwear with a limited-edition, monthly “drop model” and we quickly acquired a growing fan base of loyal customers waiting for the very minute pieces were available.
The line was quickly picked up by retailers including Revolve, and Urban Outfitters. We focused heavily on influencer marketing and quickly garnered brand loyalists including dozens of A-list celebrities and social media influencers, such as Stella Maxwell, Irina Shayk, Kylie Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Dua Lipa. Alongside this, our brand got coverage top in top fashion publications including Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, ELLE, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.
Overcoming challenges with perseverance proved to be the best educational opportunity we could have ever asked for. We have found a symbiotic dynamic that highlights our strengths. From the shared learning experiences with loss and failure, we have been able to evolve our brand’s core foundation with pillars based on a strong will, discipline, and care.
It's Women's History Month. How does your brand pay homage to empowered women around the world?
T: As a brand, we have taken huge steps forward towards philanthropy. We have raised $50,000, which has been donated to the Lilth Fund, LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund, RAINN, Asian Pacific Fund, Black Visions Collective, The Minnesota Freedom Fund, Reclaim the Block, Go Fund Me for Ahmaud Arbery, and the George Floyd Memorial fund.
L: We have also begun speaking on behalf of the industry, in an effort to break boundaries in the fashion space and educate undergraduates on entrepreneurial impact and the promotion of positive change. Tori and I recently spoke at Harvard's Undergraduate Women in Business Convention and USC's Own It (All Female) Summit to further raise awareness on women's leadership by educating students on how they can overcome what was once a limitation in their work field.
Photography by: Courtesy Boys Lie