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Student’s business startup sells ‘Saw it in the Movies’

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Staff Report
Published Feb. 18, 2016

A Clemson University entrepreneur’s business startup, “Saw it in the Movies,” finds clothing, jewelry, shoes or whatever bling catches a would-be customer’s eye in a movie, television show or possibly on the red carpet. The university has nurtured the online business started by Diana True of North Augusta, a senior business major.

True said the idea originated in her parents’ living room.

“About five years ago, my dad and I were watching TV, and he thought it would be cool to have a T-shirt one of the actors was wearing, but there was no easy way to find it,” True said. Since some initial financial help from her father and development of a website, True has added a business partner, recent psychology graduate Jasmine Ellis.

Diana True (right) and business partner Jasmine Ellis check out online fashions at Entourage Clothing & Gifts in Clemson. (Photo provided)

Diana True (right) and business partner Jasmine Ellis check out online fashions at Entourage Clothing & Gifts in Clemson. (Photo provided)

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“We’re up and running but have a lot of hoops to jump through before we can start realizing revenue,” True said. “It’s a trial-and-error process. We need to form an LLC and develop an operating agreement for the employees, including engineers, we’re going to need. And that’s a challenge, because they’re going to have to look past immediate financial gain to what the future might bring.”

If someone can’t find their desired product on the website, they can message True or Ellis to find it for them. The attire can range from a T-shirt to an expensive gown.

The business will make money through affiliations with online retailers, which will include the likes of Amazon, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue. True said customers can find and order their desired attire but the business hasn’t yet reached the point of receiving a commission.

“The average commission on these purchases is 8% to 10% of the order,” True said. “The affiliations, forming the LLC, marketing and the myriad of other business needs are keeping us plenty busy in moving this into a profitable operation.”

True has received support through the University Professional Internship Co-op. The intern program is part of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which serves as the campus hub of entrepreneurial studies. Diana is among 850 students paid for 160 hours of experiential learning in the past academic year. Every week, students file a report on their accomplishments, goals for the coming week and areas where they need help.

True said marketing is a challenge.

“Social media is the most cost-efficient and effective way to get our brand out there,” she said. “It’s free, and so many in our target audience are engaged on channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and on Pinterest.”

True and Ellis have identified male and female 18- to 25-year-olds as their target audience.

“We’ve done research and surveys and determined those are our primary audiences,” True said. “With females, the interest is more fashion trend purchases, while the male population is more heavily into graphic T-shirts.” She said there is a “very loyal, cult-like following among TV and movie-goers. Twilight, Star Wars, Star Trek and Hunger Games, for example, have huge fan followings. Through a variety of channels, we need to tap into those groups with an internet presence and engage them through social media.”

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