CLEMSON — Draping yourself in what the stars wear can be a few mouse clicks away from it hanging in your closet, thanks to a Clemson University entrepreneur’s business startup.

Whatever the bling is that catches your eye in a movie, your favorite TV show or maybe at the Academy Awards later this month, “Saw it in the Movies” can help you find it, and buy it.

Saw it in the Movies is the brainchild of Diana True of North Augusta, a senior business major with an entrepreneurial focus. The idea for the online business was born 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.”

Movies, Fashion, Purchase

Diana True, right, and business partner Jasmine Ellis check out online fashions at Entourage Clothing & Gifts, Clemson.
Image Credit: Charity Shaw

So, after some initial funding from her father, development of the website began in 2014. Now, along with business partner and recent psychology graduate Jasmine Ellis, True’s startup is in the business of finding clothing, jewelry and shoes seen worn by entertainers.

“We’re up and running, but have a lot of hoops to jump through before we can start realizing revenue,” said Diana. “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 Saw it in the Movies patrons can’t find their desired garb on the website, they can message True or Ellis, who will find it for them. The attire can be as simple as a T-shirt or an expensive gown costing thousands of dollars.

The business will make its 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 through Saw it in the Movies now, but her business isn’t at the point of receiving a commission for those purchases yet.

“The average commission on these purchases is 8 to 10 percent of the order. 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.”

Helping True, a full-time student, with accomplishing many of these startup business tasks is the University Professional Internship Co-op (UPIC) program through the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which serves as the hub of entrepreneurial studies on campus.

The UPIC program pays students for 160 hours of work per semester. Campus-wide, UPIC provided 850 Clemson students with experiential learning in the past academic year.

Marketing is one of the more affordable business needs the fledgling startup is working hard to establish, thanks to social media.

“Social media is the most cost-efficient and effective way to get our brand out there. It’s free and so many in our target audience are engaged on channels like Twitter (@sawinthemovies), Instagram (@sawitinthemovies) Facebook (www.facebook.com/sawitinthemovies/) and on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/Sawinthemovies/).”

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. With females, the interest is more fashion-trend purchases, while the male population is more heavily into graphic T-shirts.

“There’s 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.”

True credits a Creative Inquiry class, “How to Start a Start-up,” taught by Matt Klein and Greg Smith, and guidance from instructor Hope Parnell in helping prepare Saw it in the Movies for the challenges that lie ahead.

“We have many challenges and keeping up with the economic, technology and social demands necessary for the business to succeed is among them,” True said. “In order to accomplish that, we need to recruit a talented, passionate team with a vision that isn’t afraid of getting in on the ground floor. It’s doable, and we have great support through our mentors. Now it’s up to us to execute.”

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