Northeastern alum, Lindsay Burke is well on her way to competing with big name clothing designers with the creation of her very own line, Harper Lei. From what started out as just a hobby, Lindsay has created a bustling business that has the industry talking – not to mention her long waiting list of customers who are eager to rock her designs.
After graduating from Northeastern last spring, Lindsay was unsure of her future plans. Did she want to continue on to graduate school and further her education? Was psychology the right field for her? In the midst of her indecisiveness, Lindsay decided to go on a spur-of-the-moment service trip to Costa Rica. It was there, in the small village of Nosara where Lindsay found the inspiration that would motivate her to create Harper Lei. “I was so inspired by the culture and their dedication to simplicity. It was so rare to find such beautifully, flowing yoga-like dresses in the U.S,” Lindsay said.
If there was no clothing like this available in the U.S., she was determined to create it. And that’s just what she did. Upon returning to the States, Lindsay made several trips to NYC to search for the kinds of fabric she saw in Nosara. She wanted to use eco-friendly, quality fabrics made from thin material to create those natural pleats and beautiful flow. Once she finally found the fabric she got to work with nothing but her mom’s sewing machine. She started taking apart her old clothes to figure out how they were put together and spent hours upon hours hovering over the sewing machine. She made clothes for her sister and friends and before she knew it, she had people asking if they could purchase her clothing. She knew she had created something special and if her designs were in such demand, maybe there was a market for her brand.
She started utilizing social networking to get the word out about her designs and finally settled on a name that reflected the beautiful simplicity of her creation: Harper Lei. After a photo shoot where her friends and family modeled her clothing, her website was up and running and her new business had finally begun. “I think it hit me when we did the photo shoot,” Lindsay said. “I saw the pictures and I realized how amazing the clothes looked. I noticed how impressed people were and I realized it could be something so much more.”
During the fall, Lindsay attended a Northeastern event for start up companies and successfully sold about 10 of her dresses. She was also one of several young entrepreneurs invited to attend a luncheon with famous fashion designer Tory Burch.
Now Lindsay is now focusing on marketing her brand and expanding her line. Her goal is to be ready to sell her designs publicly within the next year. Click here to check out Lindsay’s clothing line!