Fashion merchandising student follows her passion
Wells Maley has a piece of advice for students pursuing a dream of starting a business: go for it.
Maley, a senior fashion merchandising major, recently launched her own business, Swells of Splendor, that features original artwork on home and apparel products like shirts, towels, tumblers and mugs.
Now is the time for students to invest in their ideas, she said.
“We have so many opportunities and resources while we are in college,” Maley said.
Swells of Splendor began as an Instagram mood board last year, and later became her business’ namesake and inspiration for her textiles.
“I wanted to create a virtual dreamscape with images including bold color, luxury fashion, idyllic travel spots and retro glamour,” Maley said. “The pictures were providing me with currents of creativity. They were very splendorous and coastal oriented.”
After summer internship opportunities were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Maley began designing textiles. Her initial intent was to make and sell pajama shorts with her mom as her partner.
The up-front cost was too expensive, so Maley pivoted to print on demand products. Print on demand providers supply and create her final products and ship directly to her customers.
Instead of handling an inventory, she is able to focus more on designing textiles, selecting products and managing her website.
With both of her parents in the fashion industry, Maley said she receives a lot of support and encouragement.
Maley’s mom is a portraitist and contributed artwork for two of the original designs by Swells of Splendor.
“It’s been really special to do this together,” Maley said. “It has made the whole process a lot sweeter. From the emotional side and the business side of things, my mom has been a huge support and a guiding force.”
Each day brings challenges, but Maley said she continues to learn and grow in her design process and business management. One of her biggest challenges has been mental setbacks.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m not moving fast enough,” she said. “I have to remind myself that these things take time. It may take weeks, months or years.”
She said she’s also been encouraged by the FACS faculty members. Majoring in fashion merchandising has expanded her insight into design, taught her about product quality and marketing products to consumers.
“I have been encouraged by everyone within FACS,” Maley said. “My teachers are eager to help and offer any advice.”