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, a founder in the Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, 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.
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.
“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.”
Find this article and a lot more in the 2023 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.