The Flytrapp | Designer Feature

by - Monday, February 09, 2015

There is so much talent that comes out of the fashion school at Kent. We know how much you guys loved hearing from Tessa at Neighbors Apparel last semester. This semester we wanted to introduce you to Sandra and Kiara, recent KSU grads and fashion design majors, who started their own company after graduation. Read on to learn more about their designs, their lives and get advice on running your own business. 

Name: Sandra Campbell & Kiara Tillman
Major/Minors in College: Fashion Design–Technical Track (Graduated Spring 2013)
Current Job: Co-Founders and Designers of The Flytrapp

Tell us a little about yourself!
SC: I grew up in Washington, DC and still reside in the area. As a child I was very observant and contemplative and always lived inside my head. I would take my nubile fascination of nature, arts, diversity of culture in my family and the city, and plain simple ideas and retreat into whatever world I could create from those influences. In ways, I am still that child because life never ceases to fascinate and inspire me.

KT: I’m originally from Syracuse, NY. I've been designing and drawing fashion illustrations since elementary school. People have this misconception that fashion designers are living this glitz & glam lifestyle, but I'm just an ordinary girl. I love to eat everything, watch movies and workout at the gym. I have a vocational training certification in fashion technology, interned with Design Lab Inc. and job shadowed at Justice (formerly known as Limited Too) for winning the Rock the Runway Fashion Show!
Did you have any favorite classes from your time in fashion school?
SC: I really loved my Art History courses, especially those centered around African culture and masquerading cultures around the world. My favorite design class was taught by Professor Sandra Murphy during my semester at Kent’s NYC Studio. She really pushed us to dig deep and push ourselves conceptually.
KT: My favorite teachers were Professors Tameka Ellington and Archana Mehta, which taught a bulk of my sewing and drawing classes. They were the most stressful ones, but I learned a lot and they’ve molded me into the designer I am today.
What inspired you to start The Flytrapp?
SC: Our brand uses the concept of flight in many ways to illustrate women coming into their own personality and sense of style. The Flytrapp aims to take a global and open-minded approach to portray an “urban” girl lifestyle. In essence, we want The Flytrapp to embody the woman who will be what she wants to be and take flight when she is ready—no matter her circumstances.

KT: Like many recent grads who couldn’t afford to move to a major fashion city, we were desperate for action. We both wanted to start our own clothing line and when Sandra found out that I was currently living in DC, she contacted me. Our first brainstorm meeting was in her basement. It’s been a journey ever since!

What has been the best moment for you, since starting your company?
SC & KT: We launched our very first Spring and Summer collection at DC Fashion Week back in September. We opened an online fundraising campaign and raised nearly $1,000 to help us showcase. It was our first fashion show and it honestly couldn’t have been possible without our supporters.

Are there any difficulties that you didn't expect about being a business owner & designer?
SC: We’ve been running this business on our own with little to zero guidance for almost a year and are learning something new everyday. I guess structuring and being financially stable is the hardest part. Unless you’re financially set, being a starving and emerging artist is the real deal. I work as a Center Consultant at FeDex and Kiara currently works at Macy’s as a Visual Merchandiser. Any little money earned is imperative to our business’s efforts and as we continue to grow, hopefully working additional jobs won’t be an issue for our business.

What advice would you give to students interesting in starting a business?
SC & KT: You have to dedicate a lot of time and creativity to your business. Follow your own path and at your own pace because there is no right or wrong way. Always gather and organize your resources and be prepared to do plenty of research. Pay attention to what's really going on around you and know your customer! This will help you effectively target your market.

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