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40 Under 40 - Class of 2013
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 8 years ago

Tracy Negoshian, 31

Tracy Negoshian Inc.

Tracy Negoshian dreamed of affording the beautiful clothing created by Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk and Tory Burch. So she decided to make her own.

Starting her fashion career at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Beach, Negoshian spent hours admiring the bright colors and prints of luxury clothing, without being able to afford the astronomical prices. Negoshian knew what the market was missing: affordable yet high-quality wash-and-wear clothing.

While at the national championship football game with her family in 2007, Negoshian couldn’t believe how many people came up to compliment her mom’s expensive Gator-orange tank top with studs, wanting to know where she got it. “I could do better than that,” Negoshian said to her stepdad.

Recognizing her drive, and believing in her business model, her stepdad told her that if she was interested in starting her own clothing line, he’d help her with the initial investment. Negoshian took advantage of the opportunity, and in fall 2008 launched My Game Boutique, a clothing line catering to women wanting to wear “cute” college-colored prints.

Within a year, the Collegiate Licensing Co. asked Negoshian to cease and desist. Negoshian knew she wasn’t breaking any laws or using any logos, so she continued to sell. Eventually, the organization filed a lawsuit against her. Though Negoshian won the legal battle, she said the confrontation served as a wake-up call for her. College football season was only three months long. She wanted to be a lifestyle brand.

So in 2009, she launched the Tracy Negoshian brand, and aimed to become a household brand name in women’s wardrobes nationwide. To spark interest in her bold colors and prints she visited stores wearing her collection and carrying sample sets in her car, Negoshian says. She also attended trade shows and sent out postcards with pictures of her clothing, which garnered interest from sales reps who asked to represent her brand. Within six months, more than 175 boutiques were carrying her clothing. The company profited its first year in business by keeping overhead low, Negoshian says.

She’s now expanded her collection to more than 500 specialty boutiques throughout the U.S. and Caribbean, and releases four collections a year. Gross revenue topped $5 million last year. Her first flagship store is opening in Old Town Naples this month. Her target demographic ranges from 18- to 60-year-old women, with bright, loud colors and exclusive prints.

“Women that wear bright colors and prints attract attention, so the confidence is there,” Negoshian says.

A self-proclaimed “spreadsheet fool,” Negoshian says she creates spreadsheets for everything: tracking popular colors, prints, and even predictions for upcoming popular football teams.

When creating a new item, Negoshian comes up with the print first. “I’m constantly doodling,” she says. She then works with computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator to build a design for the clothing and print. Once it’s complete, she sends a full design pack to factories in Seoul, Korea.

The whole sample process takes two to five months, and she’s traveled abroad multiple times to better understand the culture and build relationships at the factories that help make her products.

“There are so many things that are out of my control in this industry,” Negoshian says. “Just trying to get designs, and what I have pictured in my head, across to people who produce it and bring it to life, and we never know. It’s a huge risk.”

— Traci McMillan Beach

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