With the help of the Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Susma Gurung is pursuing her childhood dream.
Since she was a kid, Gurung has been passionate about fashion. Growing up in Salt Lake City, Gurung scoured thrift shops for the perfect pieces.
While she loved finding hidden gems for herself, she fell in love with upcycling.
“This passion of mine led me to start reselling for about three years,” she said. During this time, Gurung delved deep into “fast fashion,” a business model that many large retailers like Shein and H&M subscribe to – mass-producing trendy clothes on slim margins, only to repeat the cycle when styles change.
“I wanted to be part of mitigating the fast fashion problem,” she said.
In 2022, she launched Off the Rack, a startup that hosts flea markets in Salt Lake and Provo. The company has three core values that speak to Gurung’s original intent: community, sustainability, and creativity.
Gurung and her co-founder wanted to create a place where Utahns could share their locally sourced designs and sell and trade vintage items. In practice, she says Off the Rack has become a place to not only find one-of-a-kind pieces, but also make lifelong connections.
“Growing up, I did not see a big fashion and art community,” she said. “Having a sense of community is very important to me, so when I had the chance to create one, I pursued Off the Rack.”
Off the Rack is currently in three physical locations: the University of Utah, Olympus High School, and Provo High School. Vendors can reserve spots through their website, but if you’re just planning on browsing, anyone in the community can show up.
Since its kickoff, Off the Rack has hosted 15 successful events across all three locations. Virtually, they’ve attracted nearly 5,000 Instagram followers.
Gurung hopes to see this growth continue.
“We hope to scale Off the Rack to other university and high school locations,” Gurung said. “We also want to focus on creating an online version of our marketplace.”
That’s one of the reasons she enrolled in the Master of Business Creation (MBC) program at the Eccles School, a professional business degree program that helps founders grow and scale their business ideas while also earning a graduate degree.
The chance to make deeper connections is what truly sold Gurung, though.
“The MBC program allows me to connect with other founders and share our experiences,” she said. “I’m also able to meet other professionals and experts who can help me grow my business.”
Learn more about Off the Rack at offtherack.co.