You’re looking for that perfect game day outfit. You go online, open Etsy and find the most incredible crop top with your school’s letters. You immediately add it to your cart and proceed to checkout when you realize that the top (well, half of a top really) is FIFTY DOLLARS. This is the exact frustration Natasha March faced on the daily. Cute college apparel is ridiculously expensive and, in most cases, cheaply made. Natasha realized she could make cute, customizable clothes similar to those on Etsy herself for much less-and that’s exactly what she did. What started as a fun hobby has turned into a real business with over 6,000 followers on Instagram. This week, I sat down with Natasha to find out more about the success story of her brand — College Tailgate Tees.
Her Campus (HC): Tell us a little about yourself and your interest in business.
Natasha March (NM): My name is Natasha March, and I’m a sophomore at FSU studying Marketing and Retail Entrepreneurship. Both of my parents own businesses, and my mom works in the marketing field, so I think growing up in that environment and learning from my parents had an influence on me.
HC: As a Marketing major, what skills have you learned that you’ve applied to College Tailgate Tees?
NM: I haven’t started taking major-specific classes since I’m a sophomore, but I hold a marketing position in Chi Omega that has taught me a lot about social media strategies and advertising my small business by connecting with my audience. It’s super important to present your business in a way that is attractive to your audience.
HC: What gave you the idea to start College Tailgate Tees?
NM: When I was a senior in high school, we had a senior day where we wore a shirt representing the college we were committed to. I didn’t have one, so I decided to make my own! I wore it to school and a lot of my friends were very supportive and complimented my work. Many of them asked if I could make them one. Once I saw that it grabbed the attention of my peers, I considered the idea of selling them to people outside of my friend group. From there, I made an Instagram page to start the shop and uploaded a few photos. I started getting orders here and there, and it’s only grown since!
HC: Did you find it difficult to run a business while balancing a challenging major?
NM: There are definitely challenges balancing my schoolwork and the business. Both are extremely time-consuming. I get stressed out a lot, but I manage it by sticking to a schedule and making sure I’m staying on top of my orders and due dates. So far, it’s been working!
HC: What are you most proud of in terms of College Tailgate Tees’ success?
NM: I’m most proud of my work when I’m out on campus and I see someone wearing an item I made, or when I go on social media and see photos of girls wearing College Tailgate Tees apparel. It makes me super happy to see someone enjoy something that I made, and I’m glad I can give them that! I’ve also been able to be more financially independent from my parents, which gives me a sense of accomplishment.
HC: Is College Tailgate Tees something you consider pursuing after college?
NM: I’m not sure yet, but it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. Retail inspires me and I think it’s something I want to go into, but I need to learn a lot more first so I can decide if it’s something I can do successfully! I’m very passionate about it though, so it’s an option.
HC: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
NM: My biggest obstacle is balancing my schedule and finding space. I have a small space in my apartment, so it’s hard to store everything I need to live and work. I’m also busy all the time, so sometimes I don’t get to be as social as I’d like. But, I’m managing it one day at a time by staying as organized as possible.
HC: What are your next steps for the company moving forward?
NM: I just spent about two to three months working on a new fall collection that I just released. I’m happy with how it turned out since I put so much time into it, and I’m glad to see such positive reactions from my audience. Right now, my next steps are to keep doing what I’m doing and saving money so I can get a separate workspace in the future!
HC: Do you have any words of encouragement for college women attempting to start their small businesses?
NM: My best advice is to find something you’re passionate about and plan every step of the way. Planning is very important to reach your business goals. Also, be patient! Things take time. Just because you’re not selling out immediately doesn’t mean you won’t in the future!
If you want to check out Natasha’s work, follow @collegetailgatetees on Instagram!