Beginning as a way to pass time in their Village C West dorm room two years ago, Julia Greenzaid (COL ’17) and Laura Fawzi (MSB ’17) recently launched their own business in the spring of their freshman year to sell customized school apparel across the country. Lo+Jo Bands capitalizes on the growing power and popularity of social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, and Georgetown’s supportive environment for innovation.
How did Lo+Jo Bands grow from a “DIY project” to a larger apparel and accessories startup? What was the timeline of the company’s development?
JG: We started freshman year just selling hairties on Etsy.com. Etsy’s a website where you don’t have to be very legit — you can just put your products up and sell them to anyone. We would get orders here and there on Etsy. That year for Georgetown Day, I got a shirt and I just put daisies on it. People said, “Oh, cute shirt,” and we didn’t really think anything of it because daisies were our signature. And then the next year — this is sophomore year now — it was a snow day and we were super bored said, “Oh, how about we just crank out some daisies and find things we can put them on?” We put them on a couple of Georgetown shirts and put those on Etsy. People responded and were like, “Oh, can we buy that?” And we’re like, “Do we sell our one shirt? We only had two, and they were our shirts.”
LF: We started getting them from the bookstore and making those … and the bookstore ran out of those shirts.
Do you have campus representatives at other schools?
JG: What’s interesting is that Instagram is the biggest form of marketing. Kids from different schools — a lot of bloggers — say, “Hi, I will share your product with my friends, with my sorority, with my school if you send me a free one.” We’re like, “Is it worth it? Do they have followers?” And that’s when we started getting campus representatives at different schools. We said, “We’ll send you one, but in return, you have to agree to Instagram it and tell your friends.” So now we have one at Florida State.
LF: We advertise a lot on Instagram to get new followers.
Would you say that certain campuses are hubs?
LF: Once it grows at a school, it grows even faster because people start hearing about it more. Certain schools like Alabama and Auburn — we’ve never gotten an order from them; they’re big schools – because we’ve never gotten an order there, no one knows about us there. At Michigan, we keep getting orders there. People see them at the tailgates and are like “Where’d you get that?’
JG: The evolution of our product is insane. First, we just took a T-shirt and put daisies on the bottom. Now we’ve added a few extra steps: we acid-wash, or we dip-dye them in tie-dye, we cut them, we always do some weird cut. We started adding trim as an extra touch, but every single one is different. That’s how we fulfill our promise to being unique because each sweatshirt has a different trim.