Junior Kiira Lizza, from Millington, NJ, has put her Management and Business major to good use by helping market her mom’s Finnish cashmere line, ARELALIZZA, and establish a lifestyle market in the United States. Her Campus learned more about the luxe line and how Kiira’s Skidmore education helped her get started in the business.
Her Campus: Tell us a bit about the background for you mom’s cashmere company, ARELALIZZA.
Kiira Lizza: The main store and headquarters are in Finland, where my mom is originally from. We have multiple stores selling the line in Finland and just signed with a very posh store in Paris so we are starting to expand across Europe. Right now, the focus is to bring the label to the United States and find its niche markets.
HC: Where did the inspiration behind ARELALIZZA come from?
KL: The name is a combination of my mom’s business partner’s last name and my family’s last name. My mom and her business partner wanted to create a fashion line that was inspired by a certain type of lifestyle and in 2006 they established ARELALIZZA, which produces a variety of clothing, including sweaters, knit tops, pants, socks, and scarves, all of which are very simple, elegant, and relaxed. Together, they create all of the designs, inspired by natural living, my mom having worked with cashmere for a long time. She studied knitwear and sweater design at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and has worked for numerous top fashion labels, including Saks, Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel’s—everyone in the sweater industry. Her first designs were actually in a Macy’s window!
HC: When did you begin working for the company?
KL: I didn’t really get involved until last year because I was still young and hadn’t taken that many business courses. But I think now, with the amount of business courses I’ve completed, I am more comfortable working for my mom. What I primarily do is focus on sales and networking so I am in the process of trying to find buyers for our line. So, I network with a lot of people to see if they have any connections that would help the line. I’ve even been able to make a few connections through members of the Skidmore community to see if they can help promote the line. It’s tough because unless a store is veryinterested, it’s hard to get a line noticed since so many people want to have their products sold in stores. A few weeks ago, my mom was able to get in contact with Vogue and had an appointment with them to show the line, so we’re waiting to hear back to see if it will be featured!
HC: What role has your business education at Skidmore played in working for ARELALIZZA? Have your courses brought a new perspective to the company?
KL: They definitely have. I’m planning on going to law school after Skidmore, so I’m taking classes with a legal emphasis, but my Business major has definitely helped me with the company. I’m also in finance right now, so I’m hoping to get involved with the financial side of the business. I also learned a lot of important skills from my marketing course where I learned how to locate a customer base and appeal to them. It’s business skills, but it’s also social skills. Networking is a big part of it, but it all goes hand in hand.
HC: With your sights set on law school after graduation do you still see yourself continuing to work for ARELALIZZA?
KL: Yes, definitely. Now that I’ve become involved with ARELALIZZA it’s become a family business. Especially because my mom will always be involved, I want to continue supporting the family business.
HC: What is ARELALIZZA planning for the future?
KL: We are currently trying to promote the ARELALIZZA through social media. We have a Facebook page and have a spring competition currently going on. Additionally, we are looking to open our own stores in Copenhagen and Stockholm. This will help us branch out further in Europe while still trying to place our lines in U.S. stores. It’s important to be placed in the right store in the U.S. because we see ourselves as a lifestyle store, not just a fashion label. Merci, a posh lifestyle store in Paris, picked up our line and we are very excited about this! Furthermore, we are looking at opening pop-up shops during the summers to promote ARELALIZZA. Maybe you’ll see ARELALIZZA on Broadway in a few years!
Be on the lookout for this stylish Scandinavian loungewear (with a twist!), which is sure to hit U.S. stores soon. Can’t wait? Visit ARELALIZZA’s website and order directly from their online store or check them out on Facebook.