Entrepreneur Callie Willeford took her 2013 University of Texas Business at Dallas Administration degree and combined her love of her alma mater and her passion for Greek life to create her own t-shirt company. Southern Crowd launched just three months ago, but it’s already gaining immense popularity (probably because her designs are irresistibly cute!). I interviewed Callie to find out more about her start-up.
Pink Paperdoll Blog: When did you start your company? What was the inspiration behind it?
Callie: I have been designing t-shirts and apparel for UT Dallas and my chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta for about two years now and I found that I absolutely loved designing t-shirts. There are a ton of companies out there catering to college and Greek life students, but not many that can cater to the average college student budget. My partner in crime, Rachel, is the manager of Off Campus Books in Dallas, a textbook store serving UT Dallas. We work together on everything from design ideas to marketing to inventory. Rachel and I make a great team because we can bounce ideas off each other and make avalanches happen out of snowflakes.We wanted to create a company that could have great quality t shirts, with awesome designs at a reasonable price. We started the company about three months ago, sitting around brainstorming the perfect name for what we wanted to portray through our clothing. Both born and raised in Texas, we have deep southern roots. That combined with our passion for knowing everyone belongs somewhere, Southern Crowd was born.
Pink Paperdoll Blog: Do you plan to have a brick-and-mortar location or continue as an online retailer?
Callie: Eventually I would love to have a brick-and-mortar location or have retailers sell our products, but for now we are trying to build up business and become a prominent online retailer.
Pink Paperdoll Blog: What’s the best part, so far, about running an apparel company?
Callie: I absolutely love hearing from people that they love my designs and are so excited to wear new shirts. It’s a fantastic sense of pride knowing that people want to own something you’ve created.
Pink Paperdoll Blog: What have you learned so far?
I’ve learned that marketing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. You have to be persistent, especially with social media sites. Repetition is key!
Pink Paperdoll Blog: What would you tell others who are interested in launching a company?
Do it and commit!! I was hesitant at first to jump into this huge project, but I am so glad I did. Take a leap of faith and trust yourself, you never know what could come of your plan so make it happen!!
Best of luck, Callie! I’m sure we’ll be seeing big things from Southern Crowd and I can’t wait to see your newest designs.