Tori Hogan, freshman in apparel merchandising and design, has started her own fashion business on her bedroom floor.
She takes gameday wear and gives it a custom twist.
Hogan’s business is called Gameday Denim. She paints the back of denim jackets with a custom design of the the buyer’s university “100 percent totally free-hand.”
She said that back in January she started thinking about gameday fashion and how few people have denim articles of clothing that have school spirit.
“I wanted to dress nice for gamedays and wear something that represents Auburn that isn’t just orange and blue,” she said.
The idea sparked out of pure curiosity, and her observance of the lack of Auburn denim wear.
“I asked my friend, ‘If I buy this jacket for you and paint it, will you wear it?’” she said.
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Her friend agreed and had another on board as well who even bought her own jacket. This was the beginning of her soon-to-be entrepreneurial endeavor.
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“I just did these jackets randomly, but then people loved it and wanted them. Now, I probably do five to 10 jackets a week,” Hogan said.
Hogan sells her designs on Instagram at @gamedaydenim_.
She got into selling them when the demand became high. The demand got really high for Hogan over the summer. She had to put some orders on back order.
“I started doing it for my friends, and then I had so many people start asking me,” Hogan said. “My mom told me, ‘Tori, you can’t do these for people, you have to do them for a profit.’ So then I just posted on my Instagram, and I probably got 10 orders that day. Then it just kind of spread.”
Her denim designs are not just Auburn specific, but anyone can order one to have a jacket with their university on the back. Hogan has even begun doing jackets with people’s sorority incorporated into the design.
“I’ve done jackets from Boston College, all the way down to Clemson and to Florida State,” she said. “The most fun one to do is Florida State because of how intricate it is.”
She has painted converse and denim shorts per customer request, but her main focus is the jackets.
“Denim is what I gear toward because that’s what I started with,” she said. “If I branch out, then I branch out. I have thought of doing a couple different things, but I always come back to jackets because that’s what most people want.”
With the rise of fall fashion coming up, Hogan sees the jackets to be what her primary focus should be.
“It’s nice to have something, especially if you are covering up your outfit, that still shows support of your team,” she said.
A customer does not have to buy their own jacket, but rather Hogan already has them. However, they are not always the same style to make sure she stays on trend with what her buyers want.
“A lot of the jackets I ordered offline on Forever 21, but the last batch I ordered I got white denim jackets that are super distressed from American Eagle. I get them just from whatever store is in trend that is not too expensive.”
Hogan prides herself on her merchandise always being new and never used, so they uphold an integrity of being trendy and of good quality.
She also never makes a jacket the same. Each painting is an original design that no other previous customer has received.
Most of her customers are college students. However, her business has caught the eye of the wife of an important Clemson official.
“The wife of the president of Clemson ordered one,” she said. “Beth Clements has a jacket from me. I did a ton of Clemson jackets, and she knew a common person, and they had posted something about my jacket and sent something to her, and she said, ‘I’d love to order one.’”
“I give people 5 percent off if they post on their Instagram story about me to spread the word,” she said.
She also has one brand ambassador who receives $10 for every jacket she helps sell from her 5 percent-off code.
All these aspects of the business are helping her generate more customers and create a general following that has increased her sales.
As for the future of Gameday Denim, Hogan is not sure what is to come.
“My dream is to have a denim store,” Hogan said. “If this was to turn into something bigger, I would have to have someone helping me. I definitely could not do it alone.”
Hogan is happy to announce she has yet to have a return, which makes her so happy because she tries her hardest to make each customer love what they receive.
“It’s hard because of a lot of these people I don’t know,” she said. “I always talk to the customers and do not accept payment until I send the jacket out. I send them pictures throughout. I let them pick the jacket and what they want on it.”
Her ultimate end goal for each order is to make the customer happy.
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