Better Than Revenge: How the Boys Lie Founders Built an Empire on Heartbreak

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If you haven’t heard of Boys Lie, you have definitely seen girls sporting the brand around campus — do eye-catching, oversized sweat sets with f*ck men-esque phrases ring a bell? Boys Lie checks all of the boxes to be Gen Z’s perfect brand. The label is an ingenious take on WFH attire with bold graphics and sassy slogans about self-empowerment. Not to mention, it’s founded by two young women who built their business from the ground up, paving their way to success with little experience and a lot of determination.

The Childhood Neighbors to Business Partners Pipeline

Boys Lie founders Leah O’Malley and Tori Robinson grew up together on the Main Line, attending the same schools and running in the same circles. However, they did not become the inseparable duo they are today until much later. The co-founders shared on “The Tom Ward Show” how it was actually their ex-boyfriends who brought them together in college, as they were best friends at the time. Following graduation, Leah and Tori ended things with their beaus and were left with the resentment that comes from any unhealthy relationship. After many deep talks and drunk nights discussing their break-ups, the mantra “boys lie” was born. After screaming the phrase everywhere from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to a pizza shop in New York City, people began to suggest “boys lie” had potential to be something more than an inside joke — and with that, Leah and Tori got to thinking.

That’s Why Girls Wear Makeup, And Boys Lie

When Leah and Tori initially decided they wanted to start a business together, they had the slogan “boys fall in love with that they see, girls fall in love with what they hear, that’s why girls wear makeup, and boys lie” in mind. Naturally, they felt this would be perfect for a cosmetics line, accented with some Boys Lie merch to maximize brand recognition. However, they soon realized the makeup industry was difficult to differentiate their products in and turn a profit, causing them to seriously consider shutting down. Right as they were about to pull the trigger, Gigi Hadid was photographed wearing one of their signature sets following her breakup with Tyler Cameron during the fall of 2019.

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This completely changed Leah and Tori’s mindset and trajectory for their brand. The Boys Lie Instagram account was gaining traction, with DMs from celebrities and followers alike about how they could get their hands on some of the merch. Almost immediately, the co-founders pivoted the brand to much of what it is today — colorful loungewear with catchy phrases about female empowerment.

By the time business began to pick up for Leah and Tori, the COVID-19 pandemic was looming on the horizon. While the founders attribute the stay-at-home orders to being a catalyst for their expansion and sales, it also made it incredibly difficult for them to find manufacturers available to print their pieces. They described how they ran from Los Angeles to Compton to sneak into The T-Shirt Shop, and printed during the employee’s lunch break and after hours while begging different distributors for garments to print on. This hands-on, demanding grind built Boys Lie a foundation of hard work and perseverance. While difficult at times, Leah and Tori said they would not have done it any differently. They learned so much about the business and feel confident managing their own brand today.

Business is Booming

Fast forward a couple of years and countless A-Listers have been seen rocking Boys Lie, including Megan Fox, Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa, Madison Beer and Ariana Grande. While this is partially due to their influencer-oriented marketing approach, where they reach out to celebrities via social media, the brand’s stardom has become au naturale, with stars asking the founders for sold-out products and exclusive access to future collections. Leah and Tori attribute their continuing success to their limited-edition monthly drop model where they post sneak peeks on social media so that by the time it is released, customers are waiting to purchase their favorite pieces. This type of business model assures customers they are wearing something unique and different, while reminding them once it sells out, it’s gone forever.

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In early 2021, Leah and Tori received the highest honor for young entrepreneurs — a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Forbes not only recognized their multi-million dollar brand, but their efforts in trailblazing the niche luxury loungewear market we know today. Forbes also released their first clothing collaboration ever with Boys Lie which sold out almost immediately. The creators viewed this as an affirmation that others see their hard work and that it was time to take a breath and celebrate their success.

Photo posted by @BoysLie on Instagram

Lately, the co-founders have been enjoying steady growth of Boys Lie with a growing consumer base and trendy collaborations. Their most recent collab with Yung Reaper this past summer introduced nightwear and dresses to the brand with shimmery lace and sheer pastels.

As their brand expands, Leah and Tori have been looking to give back to their community and educate women hoping to grow their own businesses. In an interview with Amy Rosner at Gotham Magazine, they discussed how they recently spoke at Harvard’s Undergraduate Women in Business Convention and USC’s All Female Summit to encourage women’s leadership. As of March 2022, Boys Lie has raised over $50,000 for various charities supporting reproductive rights, the LGBTQ+ community and racial equality, especially in the face of police brutality. The co-founders prioritize using their platform for more than just making a profit, but leaving a positive impact on the world.

Shop Boys Lie on their website, Urban Outfitters, Revolve, PacSun and local boutiques such as Connections on South Allen Street!

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