Kate Steadman and Sharon Bui have created a fashion enterprise with style and affordability in mind. Their business, Frill Clothing, created flattering clothing for all women.
How did you come up with your business name?
We honestly picked our name after creating a long list of options. We read through them and when we heard it, we knew!
Why did you start your business?
We started Frill because Sharon was tired of being required to buy expensive and unflattering recruitment clothing every year. As a consumer, she wanted recruitment clothing to be more affordable, stylish and flattering. We saw the need within the market and we knew each other’s strengths. Kate has the production know-how and Sharon has the sorority and marketing know-how. So, together, we started Frill!
How was it starting your business as a college student?
Starting a business in college was extremely difficult. Kate and I barely had any money in our bank accounts, but we had a dream. We wanted to solve this problem, and saw the opportunity within a niche market. It wasn't easy doing homework in the library, answering phone calls and typing emails in between classes, but it was worth it! As college entrepreneurs, we had a wealth of resources at our fingertips including fashion professors, the Entrepreneurship Initiative and the College of Textiles at N.C. State.
How did Pinterest inspire you?
Pinterest is the whole reason why we are still a business today. During our first two years of business, we spent no money on advertising. One of our pictures went viral on Pinterest and sororities across the country started finding out about us. Not only that, but we were forced into the bridal market, because brides saw our picture and wanted their bridal parties to mirror it. We received at least 50 emails a day from brides begging us to make their bridesmaid's outfits. It's not the Pinterest boards that inspire us, it's how we became an international business because of one pin that went viral on Pinterest! It's crazy how people around the world have seen and like our clothing!
What makes your business unique?
Our business primarily caters to sororities who need stylish and fashionable clothing for recruitment. We are one of the very few companies that does this. We offer tons of customization options, such as being able to choose any fabric and dying it to match a specific sorority's color. We then send the client a “fitting box” so they can try on a whole size run of their products – Something that big box stores do not do. Upon completion, we send the products to the sorority and mail a check to the philanthropy of that sorority's choice. The sorority girls love talking about how their skirts are philanthropic during recruitment.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
We hope to dress 75% of the 3,175 National Panhellenic sororities. We would also like to start dressing the National Pan-hellenic chapters that host Probate for their new members. Probate is where Pan-Hellenic sororities present their new members to their campus in matching outfits. Not only that, but also hope to have our bridal line in bridal stores across the country and around the globe!