Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College
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Class will consult alumna on garment line to support her charity in Thailand

August 27, 2015

Students in Assistant Professor Courtney Cothren’s Fashion Retail Management class are collaborating this semester with a Stephens alumna setting up a tutoring facility for orphans in Thailand.

Katie Dillman ’09 is the founder of the Make Our Day organization, which currently supports activities for low-income children there. Her goal is to employ Thai teachers to help children with essential skills such as math and reading. She ultimately hopes to turn the facility over to the teachers by 2018.

To help fund the project, Dillman purchases and sells garments via social media. Before the next wave of her campaign, she wants to select garments that reach a broader audience, find ways to better promote her merchandise and create a signature look.

That’s where Cothren’s class comes in. Students will essentially serve as her consultants, offering up ideas and opinions on looks, items and outreach.

In class today, students already had some initial thoughts. They agreed that a short-sleeved T-shirt and more neutral colors would be best when trying to sell to all ages and agreed that Dillman should make sure customers know the story behind the clothing—and that 100 percent of proceeds benefits her charity.

The project will also require students to get an understanding of her sales figures, assess competitors, recommend new e-commerce platforms and help her style future advertisements.

Dillman is working with another group of students to help her create sports-themed headbands to sell to raise money for the tutoring center. This summer, she also hosted authentic Thai dinners to support her efforts. Dillman is in the U.S. temporarily before returning to Thailand, where she’s spent the past few years teaching and tutoring.

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