Most MBA students go on to work for major corporations or gain additional training to take back to their employers, but one first-year MBA student, Julia Perry, has other plans in mind – launching her own fashion line.
For a long time, Perry dreamed of starting her own clothing line, and now she may be the only BYU MBA student to ever design her own clothing line, start a fashion-design company and show her threads at Las Vegas Fashion Week.
And for her, Perry said BYU has given her the tools necessary to pursue her dream.
“BYU has so many resources available to students who want to start their own company,” she said. “Coming to business school has taught me a lot of things I can apply to my fashion experience. The MBA program has given me the perfect timing to start my own line.”
Some valuable skills Perry has learned through her coursework include how to implement effective social media strategies and how to create a trademark for her brand. She said the MBA professors are experts in their fields and have helped her advance her business plans.
Jeffrey Howlett, Director of Venture Mentoring Services at the Rollins Center, said the center helps students like Perry research and validate their ideas before putting them into action.
“One of the greatest resources we offer students is the opportunity to receive mentoring in their specific area of business,” Howlett explained.
Perry’s journey here began when she was 8 years old learning to sew in a 4-H club. The Provo native took every sewing class Provo High School had to offer and worked as an alterations tailor until graduation, which helped shape her design aesthetic today.
Perry decided to pursue fashion as a career after high school, and although coming from a long-line of BYU alumni, she went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for her bachelor’s degree.
Right out of college, Perry started working for designers, including Isaac Mizrahi, Ralph Lauren and Elie Tahari. Learning from these designers taught her a range of skills that have been useful in helping her launch her own business.
“Any creative artist wants complete creative control,” Perry said. “I’ve enjoyed designing for other people, but I wanted to do my own thing and design for myself.”
After spending a decade in New York, she had a feeling one evening she should apply to BYU’s MBA program and started filling out the application almost immediately. Since coming to BYU, Perry said she has had many opportunities that she may have missed otherwise.
Her collection focuses on contemporary career apparel for women, and each ready-to-wear garment contains clean lines and earth tones. Perry’s clothing line, , debuted on the runway in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Feb. 19, alongside collections from other emerging designers.