Sister-run online boutique to hold 1st fashion show

Dear mall shoppers, unsatisfied online browsers and style-savvy students:

Sisters Kate Manoucheka Airey and Marnelle Airey have developed a solution to help you fill the gaps in your unconventional wardrobe. Sincerely Fearless is here to appease all of your accessories needs.

These women know what it’s like to walk in and out of stores empty-handed during the pursuit of accessories to accent their bold style.

A mixture of frustration and inspiration culminated on the weekend of July 4, 2011, when they decided to open an online boutique.

“We would always go shopping, and there were never enough pieces that grabbed our attention, and we had to dig for the few pieces we found,” said Kate, junior in LAS.

The Airey sisters immediately narrowed down their target audience to trendy stylistas who struggle to satisfy their fashion needs in conventional stores. SincerelyFearless.com was up and running by November 2011, with Kate Manoucheka on campus and Marnelle in Florida.

“As of now, it’s easiest to sell online, but we do plan on vending on-site during events,” Kate Manoucheka said.

While Marnelle works on packaging and shipping out of her home, Kate works more on the creative aspects, which include participating in fashion shows and developing the site.

When it comes to choosing items for sale, Kate Manoucheka and Marnelle sift through catalogs from wholesalers. The two take advantage of their different styles in order to cater to a greater audience.

“I’m more conservative and girly, while (Kate) is more funky,” Marnelle said.

The sisters keep each other in check, which can sometimes lead to disagreements, as anyone with siblings can imagine. They always remember to have a mutual respect for each other and have made it a rule to only work with positive people, which has helped them grow as a business.

“We plan on branching out to other markets like shoes and other types of accessories and maybe even clothing,” Kate Manoucheka said.

Marnelle has a place in her heart for shoes and definitely sees a market for them in the future.

“Accessories and shoes are like the frosting to an outfit,” Marnelle said.

Kate always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and she’s found motivation from the successes of other small business owners. Marnelle explained the inspiration for their drive originally came from their mother, who always imagined big things for her family.

“She always wanted to start a venture and it never took off, but she always wanted us to be financially stable in life,” Marnelle said.

Marnelle described her mother as a highly fashionable woman with big dreams.

“With (my mother’s) passing, we really wanted to make a positive from a negative,” Marnelle said.

And the sisters seems to have accomplished that as they have grown from nothing to now planning their own fashion show in a matter of months with no outside investors helping them along the way.

In addition to their own site, they not only make use of Facebook and Twitter, but reach out to YouTube celebrities as well. Marnelle finds that a lot of their success is due to meeting the right people at the right time.

Grace Ajanaku, senior in LAS, met the Sincerely Fearless co-founders at a previous fashion show and is now helping them develop their first original show, which will take place April 20th. While their accessories have been highlighted during shows in the past, “Clothing Optional” will be their first big show specifically geared toward their collection.

The fashion show will take place at Soma at the end of April. The sisters are excited for their first big show, especially seeing as they have yet to complete a full year with the site.

“I was definitely surprised that we have our own show so soon,” Marnelle said.

Ajanaku has been working hard by contacting designers and deciding on what clothes models will wear and dealing with the various issues that shows present.

“Every aspect is really important in creating the story because you want people to be inspired,” Ajanaku explained.

Many of the shows they develop include singing, dancing and other performances that students might not expect to see at a fashion show.

“It’s important that you have the right scene and vision in order to showcase the items,” Ajanaku said.

“Clothing Optional” will be a mixture of different elements because there will be other performances, and the clothes will represent the items with different themes.

Sincerely Fearless encourages all women daring enough to be the center of attention to attend and check out their items.

Kate Manoucheka advises anyone looking to develop a small business to immerse themselves in research prior to beginning, as she admits she was blindsided by some things despite the planning she put in.

Through the ups and downs, the sisters are looking forward to the future and the endeavors that are to come.

“We’re still very young, but we definitely have something concrete,” Marnelle said.

In a phone call between Florida and Illinois, Kate Manoucheka mentioned some reactions to their business’ success to Marnelle.

“People look at us like we’ve already made it, and other people can see in us something we have yet to realize.”

The site says it all: “You exude the confidence and courage it takes to defy society’s standard of beauty by embracing your own.”

Sincerely,

Fearless