By Erin Egan, Fashion and Textile Design student
It’s been about a year since Emily Harris graduated from the Wilson College of Textiles with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion and Textile Management, and what a year she’s had! From taking her blog from hobby to business, to opening a storefront for her own boutique, she’s making the most of entrepreneurial life.
Harris was in her third year at Wilson College, concentrating in brand management and marketing, when she started her blog, Well Hot Glam as part of her New Year’s resolution. Within a year and a half, it was not just a hobby but a full-blown business, serving as a platform for Harris to share herself, her experiences and her favorite fashion items. This blog is where she found her passion for entrepreneurship. She was creating content for herself and her followers, according to her own rules and intuition. “I found that I was most inspired and productive when I had to make things happen on my own,” she said.
Fast forward to graduation, Harris was searching for a job that she really had a passion for while continuing to push new content on Well Hot Glam. She spent her free time drafting a business plan and discussing the possibility of entrepreneurship with her family. Finally, she got a phone call from her most recent job prospect and learned that she would not receive an offer. This is the moment Harris remembers her father saying, “I think you should just go for it,” referring to her business plan. So she did, and Jack & Georgia was born.
Named for her grandparents, Jack & Georgia launched in October 2018 as an online women’s clothing boutique, complete with trendy apparel and accessories. Since the online launch, Harris has opened the first storefront in her hometown, Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
This journey hasn’t been easy, though. Harris cites the financial aspects as the most challenging part of launching her business. Creating an inventory requires being real about what you can afford and thinking seriously about prices and profit margins, which most recent graduates like Harris don’t have much experience in. Her solution? “Research, research, research,” she said. “Every single business has had to go through the same problems you have to go through, and chances are they have talked about it online.” She admits that it’s still a trial-and-error process, and it’s important to evaluate what works for her company in terms of marketing, pricing and visual merchandising.
Harris has also begun to recognize the importance of effective communication with vendors and other industry members. She credits her classes at Wilson College of Textiles for her teaching her valuable skills in professional communication and collaboration, through group projects and presentations.
Emily Harris has poured herself into her businesses with passion and persistence. She’s dedicated to quality content and staying true to herself while growing and learning more about the fashion industry every day. She appreciates entrepreneurship for its highs and lows, knowing that both the best and worst part is that, at the end of the day, the entrepreneur is responsible for each success and failure. Everyday is an opportunity to learn from the day before, and every small step of building a brand is important. After all, this venture started with a personal blog, and Harris’s experience managing online content has been crucial to her success. “It is the new age of digital advertising that has made this industry so profitable, and I think it is a true testament to the entrepreneurs in the fashion industry,” she said.
Considering her experiences over the past few years, Harris leaves aspiring entrepreneurs with a few words of encouragement: “You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”