Last round of speaker series combines entrepreneurship with fashion design

Baylor professor and entrepreneur Andie Day spoke at the final session of "Confessions of an Entrepreneur" on Thursday afternoon. Day focused her talk on fashion and her clothing boutique, Mary Claret. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By Molly Atchison | Print Managing Editor

The last part of the “Confessions of an Entrepreneur” lecture series ended Thursday, rounding out the series with a talk by Baylor professor and entrepreneur Andie Day in Foster 143. Day’s clothing boutique, Mary Claret, was put center stage as she explained to eager business and design students how she’s taken her passion for clothing design and created her own “side hustle”.

Day’s lecture focused on several aspects of her business endeavor, mixing information about textile design and merchandise management with savvy tips on how to get a side business off the ground while balancing a full-time career. Day, who teaches apparel merchandising and design at Baylor, is an Austin resident whose extensive background in costume design gave her a unique view on fashion in the public market.

Day explained that she found a unique gap in the merchandise being sold, specifically in combining modern design and popular silhouette with Eileen Fisher-style minimalist, airy fabric. Once she identified the issue, she set on her way to creating her own designs that could be customized to fit the buyer’s personal needs. “I’ll bring a measuring tape with me and I’ll take the customer’s measurements on site,” Day said. “We’ll talk about what length is good for their height, and my background in apparel has really helped me relate to the customer.”

While Day described in detail how her designs are created and manufactured, she also had a broader message for business majors looking to start their own company. “Only in the time of Instagram can you do this process. I decided to design a product … I took pictures of my friend wearing it and sold it on Instagram to my friends,” Day said.

One of the biggest takeaways for Day from following a more nontraditional process was that social media is one of the best ways to begin branding a company. Day explained that by using nontraditional methods of selling, going to fairs and being a solely online company, a business owner can avoid some of the high costs accompanying come with a “brick and mortar” storefront boutique.

This message of following a less run-of-the-mill path to business success seemed to resonate with the audience. Wichita Falls sophomore Taylor May was one of the students that took Day’s message to heart. “For one thing, I’m a business major, and so I’m still exploring a lot of the majors surrounding the business school,” May said. “I liked hearing about how people have started at Baylor like me, and just gone through all these different experiences and pathways people go through and end up with these amazing businesses and opportunities.”

Although Day rounded out the series for the semester, the Foster Business and Free Enterprise program is working to bring “Confessions of an Entrepreneur” back to campus next fall, where they hope to feature more local business owners who can share their stories with aspiring entrepreneurs.

Baylor Business and Innovation LLC volunteer Luke Harvill explained that the series can benefit people who aren’t even interested in entrepreneurship at the moment. “I’m a finance and econ major, but you never know when your path will go into entrepreneurship, so it’s always good to learn something new,” Harvill said.