IWA Students Launch Their Own Business

Like many young women their age, AnaSofia Aragon '21 and Lily Collora '21 love trendy clothes. But earlier this year, the pair became aware of the perils of so-called "fast Fashion," mass-produced, inexpensive items made from inferior materials. These clothes are often worn only a few times before they're discarded, only to be replaced by more of the same. 

It was a problem they decided they could do something about. So they created LANA Thrift Flips this past June. Bankrolled by a $150 loan from their parents, the pair headed to thrift stores, purchased clothing and upcycled it, creating blouses from square, silky scarves and adding ornamentation to pants and jeans. Most sell for between $10 and $20.

"I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit," said Lily. "I want to go to college to study business. And we both love fashion. So, we thought this was a great way to help the environment, as well as offer unique, affordable options."

"We really wanted to create a business with a purpose," said AnaSofia. 

They sell their creations from their Instagram page and on Depop. Since launching in June, they've made about $600, they estimate, enough to have paid back their initial investment and turn a profit. The pair have been diligent about investing their profits back into their business. Currently, they have around 56 items in their inventory, and they plan to keep adding more. 

A selection of LANA Thrift Flips' one-of-a-kind creations                                                         

In addition to being a money-making opportunity, LANA, a combination of their first names, has allowed both girls to get hands-on experience in running a business.

"I've really learned how to handle finances," said AnaSofia. "And how we communicate as a team."

"The marketing!" echoed Lily, in discussing what they've learned.

"And we've developed a relationship with the post office," AnaSofia laughed. Lily, who handles most of the company's shipping, nodded in agreement. 

The pair say they've found inspiration for their business in their IWA classes. 

"Leading with Service helped me a ton," said AnaSofia. "There were a lot of jobs our group had to do, and I learned how to communicate better and how to pitch our project."

"Mrs. Postel's textiles class was a big help," said Lily. "I learned hand stitching. And we're taking Leading With Business now. I'm so happy I get to take that class!"

The next step for the team is to add to their inventory, and they are researching the best ways to send their products to social media influencers who can help to promote the brand. Both AnaSofia and Lily are adamant about keeping LANA going when they head off to college; they're hoping they'll be at the same school or the same city. 

In the meantime, they'll be hitting the thrift stores, searching for fast-fashion pieces they can turn into new treasures.