BY CORIE LYNN
After graduating, college students pursue graduate studies, dream jobs and families. Recent Fort Hays State University graduate Allie Schweizer chose a different path.
Schweizer, who now has her Bachelor’s in Business Management with a focus in entrepreneurship, has decided to launch her own online clothing store.
The store, called Allison Pearl, will sell vintage-inspired and thrifted clothing.
“It’s going to be very catered toward younger girls, like high school and our [college] age,” Schweizer said. “Trendy stuff, very vintage, retro, 70’s-inspired.”
Though the website is not live yet, she anticipates launching by the end of the month, first letting the excitement build on her personal and business social media accounts.
While excited for the launch of the website, Schweizer, who worked as a photographer while attending FHSU, did not anticipate starting a clothing business.
“Since the school [FHSU] had called me and said they said we are not going to be rehiring for the athletic photographer position because of all the COVID stuff, I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to need to get a job,’” she said.
For Schweizer, who said she prefers to stay home and would rather work for herself than an employer, starting a business seemed like the best option. She could simply expand on her own interests and skills.
“I could do my own clothing brand, because I love clothes,” she said, “and I could do my own social media marketing, my own photos for my store.”
Despite the appeal of the flexibility that an online store provides and having the ability to manage every aspect of the business, from modeling or product purchases, Schweizer still had reservations about her idea. Her parents, including her business-minded father, assured her that now was the time to start a business.
“He was like, ‘No, it’s the perfect time to do that, especially with COVID and you’re right out of college. What’s the worst that can happen? You have a degree to fall back on. You can always get a regular job,’” Schweizer said.
With her parents’ approval, Schweizer began researching, planning and building her clothing business from scratch.
Because the business is entirely online, her only costs came from building her website and domain as well as product purchasing. She obtained her tax ID and seller’s permit, applied to wholesale websites for products and launched Allison Pearl’s social media accounts.
Her first round supply of clothing, which includes t-shirts, athletic sets and tie-dye loungewear and bucket hats, has started arriving.
Entrepreneurship for Schweizer, however, goes beyond these practical details. To her, starting a business is a risk, but a risk rooted in one’s creativity and passion.
“I felt like it was better for me to do something I would enjoy instead of a job I hated and felt like it was important to take the risk,” she said.
She believes that others should do the same in doing what they enjoy and what they’re good at rather than letting fear limit their options. In fact, she hopes that, with the growth of her business, to encourage other entrepreneurs through YouTube and other social media platforms.
“I feel like there’s this weird social stigma around like, ‘Oh, we’re just out of college. We need to get a normal job,’” Schweizer said. “[…] I feel like we shouldn’t listen to that because who’s to say it [online business] isn’t a normal job or a safe job?”
That said, she advises others on the fence about starting a business to simply go for it.
“I feel like you just have to decide to just do it and go for it, and then also use your resources and talk to people you know. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people like family members or other people you know that have a business,” she said.
Allison Pearl launches at the end of the month, but the website’s social media accounts are live under the handle @shopallisonpearl on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.