After an exceptionally frustrating shopping day, Chelsea Stenson Rippy (BS ’98) decided to start her own clothing company.
“I couldn’t find anything that was modest—the styles were too revealing, too short, or too low,” says Rippy. “I thought if I had the perfect undershirt to wear under these clothes, I could be modest and fashionable.” She bounced the idea off Charlotte Asay Garn (BS ’00), who said, “You have to do this!”
Rippy, who was neither a fashion designer nor much of a sewer, started designing her own clothes. She worked for a year to get the designs right, choose the fabrics, and line up a manufacturer. She partnered with Garn to run the business, which they called Shade Clothing.
Founded in September 2004, Shade Clothing sold more than $2 million in its first year of business. “I joked that I could run this business while my kids were napping,” says Rippy. “Our main source of advertising is women telling other women.”