By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Indian American husband and wife duo, Suresh and Sudh Iyer, ventured into the ecommerce space and in the latter part of 2016, they acquired Frill Clothing, a one-stop sorority shop, most notable for their Shark Tank appearance.
Part of the acquisition led them to move the company headquarters from Raleigh, North Carolina to the greater Seattle area.
Suresh was an IT professional for about a decade prior to venturing into the ecommerce business with Frill Clothing. While he is the spokesperson, Sudh takes care of most of the business.
Frill Clothing’s presence has been mostly in the East Coast, but they started to expand to the Midwest and West Coast in the past few years. Suresh said that their goal is to expand across the country and eventually, the globe.
The company not only offers clothing for sororities, but also wedding attire and they plan to get into the fraternity business, too.
However, like many businesses, they took a hit during the pandemic.
“We had a vision, but ran into the pandemic so we put that on hold. We wanted to expand to other business areas across the globe,” Suresh said.
Some of the biggest challenges they faced were on the supply chain side.
“Any company in the ecommerce world ran into supply chain issues. The supply chain slowed down, which caused the slowdown of moving all raw materials as well,” he said.
In addition, people started working from home, which meant fewer people were going into colleges and universities, which slowed down the demand for sorority gear.
The Comcast RISE grant is going to help bolster Frill Clothing’s path to get back on track and beyond.
“Things slowed down in the latter part of 2020 into 2021 because of COVID. We used to get a lot of orders, and this grant helps us to stock inventory and get back to the level we need to be at, and also refocus our energies with more marketing.”
Suresh added that they’re already seeing a positive trend in sales and he believes that it’ll pick up even more in the coming months.
“The folks that we interface with are enthusiastic clients who compliment our goods. We go through the quality checks to make sure it fits what clients need, and in return, we receive lots of compliments, and that’s what makes us stay in the business itself.”
Some of their most popular orders include the Classic and Magnolia collections, which mostly feature dresses. The pricing options start at $25 and are economical for group orders as well as mixing and matching pieces.
A lot of their repeat customers ask for specific products, and Suresh and his wife work hard to accommodate their requests and maintain the quality of the goods.
Suresh also said that their plan is to restart efforts to design more clothing. They used to have about 10 people on staff, but they’re down to about four, including him and his wife.
Frill Clothing serves a wide range of clientele, including Asian- and Black-sororities in the Southwest region as well as California.
The original founders, Sharon Bui and Kate Steadman, founded the company centered on philosophy and while they aren’t tied to the business anymore, they still act as influencers.
Suresh and his wife are from the southern part of India and have been living in the United States for about 25 years. They have a high schooler and enjoy traveling the world. They split their time between Seattle and Austin.
For more information, visit frillclothing.com.
Nina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.