Gianna Foltz, 23 and Em Natalicchio, 23
• Both live in Syracuse
• Co-founders and CEOs of
BAZAAR, an online marketplace that sells products developed by Syracuse University students, alumni and professors
Accepted into Kauffman Engagement Fellowship; “Best Show Booth” winner at SU Tech Garden Demo Day; awarded seed funding by the Raymond von Dran IDEA Awards
What makes you stand out in your chosen career path?
EM: As a fashion design major, when we graduate after school and go into the industry you’re basically working very low income jobs or you’re not valued as an employee. That’s just the fashion industry, it’s always been the fashion industry and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Most of the designers want to just design after school and the fact is that most of us aren’t capable of doing that ever unless you’re like a prodigy or you have high connections.
GIANNA: To start a fashion brand or to start a product line you need tons of capital to just start manufacturing and so for a student fresh out of school, that may have a brand image or a product line in mind, but they don’t have the means to produce it. They get a job, a low level job like at Vince Camuto, Ralph Lauren, X,Y, and Z and they make $20,000 a year working 80 hours a week and being mistreated, so we didn’t want to go into that, and we also wanted to help our fellow graduates promote themselves and start their own lines.
Define your design style:
EM: It’s high-end, high quality.
products. Very unique.
EM: It’s a huge emphasis on beautifully designed things.
GIANNA: We believe that well-designed things can be $400 or $4. The price doesn’t say anything.
EM: All of our products we want to contribute to a beautiful lifestyle and that’s coming up with the direction we’re headed in.
In 10 years, we can expect to see this from you:
GIANNA: We want to be on 50 college campuses with a strong brand image and have a recognizable name … We would also like to help students manufacture their work because that was our original idea. They’d give us a prototype and we’d be able to produce it, so if we could have a manufacturing facility or connections with one … We want to be like the IKEA of college merchandise.
Photo credit: Photo by Susan Kahn Photography