Before starting James Street Co., Jess Reese didn’t think she could work in the fashion world. It seemed unattainable — like a made-up job.
Now, four years after starting the luxury knitwear brand, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Reese started James Street Co. out of her basement. In the beginning, everything was knit to order, and she knit, processed, and shipped all orders on her own. Her company has since grown, with clothing made in Los Angeles and Peru.
She continues to grow her company in the Master of Business Creation (MBC) program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. The unique graduate program allows founders to build their companies with personal mentorship, a cohort of other founders, and access to funding and other resources.
“The MBC curriculum applies to business owners that have launched or are preparing to launch their businesses,” Reese said. “Some programs don’t prepare you for the real world, but I have brought many topics I learned in class back to my employees and started implementing them.”
James Street Co. clothing is made in small batches with respect for the environment. All the fabrics are traceable, and factories are vetted to ensure ethical practices. Additionally, the brand does limited drops with no restocks. It’s important to Reese that the company doesn’t end up with excess inventory.
“I worked for brands that overproduced and the waste they created was shocking,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to do something different.”
What really sets the brand apart, however, is its style. Although the brand caters to women, the clothing is androgynous, with occasional gender-neutral clothing lines. Because there are no restocks, every collection is unique and created with customer feedback in mind.
Reese is excited about the future of James Street Co. With help from the MBC program, she has created a marketing plan for social advertising and is looking to target magazines to increase brand awareness.
“The whole process has been really exciting,” Reese said. “Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for four years and created my own job. I hope it keeps growing and eventually becomes a family business.”
James Street Co. has a loyal customer following with more than 44,000 followers on Instagram. The company has products in stores across the world and has been featured in publications such as The Cut and The Zoe Report.
Learn more at http://jamesstreetco.com/