Profile: Emily Gigliotti

We’ve all experienced scrolling through our Instagram feeds on game day and coming across picture after picture of girls dressed in incredibly cute tees that have been altered in some kind of way to add a unique twist to their outfits.

Unfortunately, many of these tees can retail for a lot of money, and as college students, we definitely don’t have too much money to spend just on adorable shirts that complete our game day looks. An alternative that more and more girls have been taking is by looking to social media to find pages that offer similar, if not the same, styles of tailgate apparel from people willing to create and sell them for lower prices.

One student who provides personalized tees at Temple is Emily Gigliotti, a junior who recently launched her own startup, Alter U, where she transforms old tees into tailgate tees for incredibly affordable prices.

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Emily Gigliotti is a junior transfer marketing major, who just started her first semester at Temple University this fall. Gigliotti has always been an artsy person and began recognizing the trend of personalized tailgate tees online. The only issue that she found with the apparel she was discovering was that many of the prices were not ideal for the average college student.

“People were selling these shirts for around $60 a piece,” she said.

Gigliotti didn’t let that discourage her or take away from the fact that the shirts were an essential to have, so she decided to personalize some of her old tees that she had laying around into cuter tees for herself to wear.

Friends of Gigliotti began noticing her new and improved tees and asked if she could do the same for them.

Her friends gave Gigliotti some old tees of theirs and were satisfied with what they got back. People began complimenting and asking Gigliotti’s friends where they got their shirts from. After high demand, Gigliotti thought it would be a good idea to advance the process of altering tees and begin charging people to get their tees altered to whatever style they desired.

Two weeks into the fall semester, Gigliotti’s startup, Alter U, was born.

“I was told that startups look good on resumes, so I thought why not?” she said.

Alter U can do just about anything you’d like to an old tee you might have laying around.

The startup can alter more than just old tees: t-shirt dresses, tanks, hats, sweatshirts, and more. The customer has the option of getting their piece bleached or laces added for $20, or simply just have their clothing cut in a style they prefer for $15.

“Look it up on Pinterest, show me the picture, and I can do it,” she said.

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The process of doing business with Alter U is simple.

Alter U can be contacted through its Instagram, where the customer can send a direct message or an e-mail to Gigliotti. Gigliotti and the customer will set up a time to meet where she will give a form to the customer to fill out what they would like to have done to their tee. Gigliotti will take the tee from the customer and head back to her apartment to begin working on the project. The tees are completed within a day.

“The tees take about an hour. If the customer wants bleach added, it can take around three hours,” she said.

Once the tee is done, Gigliotti will send the customer a picture of the final product via text message, allowing the customer to recommend any last minute touches they would like to have done to their tee. Gigliotti and the customer will meet up again the following day where she will present the customer’s new and improved piece of clothing to them, and the customer can pay Gigliotti for her work.

Gigliotti loves to see her customers wearing Alter U gear, and reposts her customers in their tees on her startup’s Instagram page.

Her Instagram page truly captures the hard work that she has been putting towards Alter U, as exemplified through her clear, bright, and fun pictures.

Though the concept of selling personalized tailgate tees is a very clever way to be a help to college students here, you can start to find more and more students on other college campuses begin taking part in this new activity on social media as well. These pages have been a help to Gigliotti in getting an idea of what types of styles to produce for her customers.

“On Instagram, I follow other university tailgate tee pages. It helps me get an idea of what people like,” she said.

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While this startup is something that Gigliotti is doing just for fun as of now, she has high hopes and confidence in how Alter U will do in the future.

“I can see it expanding to other universities in the city,” she said.

Philadelphia is home to many different colleges in the area, and Gigliotti would love to one day produce Alter U gear for students there as well.

Even as a hard-working student, Gigliotti finds a way to meet the needs of her customers quickly and makes sure to handle every one of her orders with a whole lot of love. If you have an old tee lying around that you’d love to see altered to wear for game day no matter what the season, Alter U is definitely the way to go. The results are fast, and the experience is a pleasant one.

To contact Gigliotti at Alter U for any inquiries or to simply view her awesome work, check out her Instagram page, @alteruforu