May 22nd, 2007 04:51 EST
B@WS Builds a Clothing Line
Fashion is a must-have for many youths nowadays. A person`s fashion statement often even reflects his or her personality. For these Southwest Minnesota State University students, that statement is one uniquely their own.
"Building Attitude with Style," also known as B@WS, is a clothing line started by four students here at SMSU. The company is owned by Christian Ekunwe, Crystal Reeves, Tashauna Swanson and Eric Rud and, according to these students, each member has his or her own unique contribution to share.
Each member also plays a unique role in the company`s operations. Christian Ekunwe, the president of the company, is originally from New York and is currently a junior majoring in radio communication. Crystal Reeves, a sophomore majoring in art with a business minor, is in charge of design and development of the company. Tashauna Swanson serves as graphic designer. After receiving her degree last year, she is now back in school to take additional classes. The final owner, Eric Rud, a junior who used to go to SMSU, now continues his education at Brown Institute in the Twin Cities. He handles public relations.
The idea of starting a clothing line began with Ekunwe, a fashion enthusiast who had dreamed of having his own fashion line. He approached Rud, Swanson and another former owner, whom Reeves eventually replaced. They did a lot of research before starting the company, read books and learned about the ins and outs of the business. Through this challenge, they said they have learned not only about clothing, but also how to be a better person.
The company is not only about perseverance, though these students have plenty--three of its members are disabled... it is also about the courage of going above the limit and breaking stereotypes.
"No one has ever done this like us," Ekunwe said. "We want to set and example and be an inspiration to other people like us."
B@WS owners said their clothing line brings people from different walks of life together. Most of their products are urban style, with college students as its main target, but it also focuses on showing how clothing can make a positive statement.
"We want to make people feel confident about their look," Swanson said.
"We are not putting up something that is not going to work [for people]," Reeves said. "We want our clothing to be versatile."
The owners said most of their products are limited edition-- in fact, they said, some of the stores that they are supplying in New York are out of stock already. The reason for this, the students said, is that they want to take each production step slowly and they do not want to overproduce.
The company`s slogan, "For the likeness of all people," is demonstrated through the use of non-professional models on their website. B@WS uses students from campus as their endorsers rather than experienced individuals from modeling agencies.
The owners credit their success to the support they have had along the way.
"[Our] families, people who came to the launch party and friends who believed in us since the beginning, keep believing in us." To these people, these SMSU entrepreneurs offer their wholehearted thanks.
As for the upcoming events for the company, they want to expand the into other states and build it into a big empire someday. They are currently looking for new models to endorse their products. The company can be contacted through their site www.bawsclothing.com and their Myspace www.myspace.com/bawsclothing.