Maddie Sepcic ('19), a logistics and supply chain management alum, recently launched her own swimsuit and activewear company Cabo Couture. Before diving all-in as an entrepreneur, however, she was employed at logistics company Expeditors International as an order management agent.
"I had my own clients at Expeditors International, including Dillard's," says Sepcic, who credits UNT with helping her develop her logistics skills and land the job at Expeditors International during a career fair. "I helped Dillard's see what was being exported from its suppliers and what was being imported to the U.S. It was cool."
After a year of putting her logistics skills into action, Sepcic decided to start her own company. For quite some time, she had been dreaming of doing her own thing and launching a women's apparel brand. During her lunch breaks, she'd work on Cabo Couture, making purchase orders and designing her packaging.
"You know, it sounds kind of crazy to quit your job in the midst of a global pandemic," she says. "I walked away from a career I would have probably gone really far in. But I knew in my heart that I needed to do something more."
Starting a small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has offered new challenges for Sepcic to overcome. So far, she's been trudging through them with a positive outlook and hard work.
"I'm the type of person that takes challenges and turns them into factors of motivation and change," says Sepcic. "I think the pandemic challenges me to be able to pivot when necessary and allows me to relate to my customers more. Also, if COVID-19 hadn't occurred, I don't think I would have found the courage to take the chance and start my business."
The idea behind Cabo Couture was originally inspired by the city of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Sepcic's favorite place. She wanted the clothing to represent Cabo's fun and vibrant culture while keeping function in mind. She chose colorful yet premium fabrics that were comfortable enough to lounge in, yet strong enough to endure high-intensity workouts.
"My business was created out of my feelings on the pandemic in that I wanted to feel the way I did while traveling no matter where I was. I wanted the pieces to evoke the same feelings I feel while in Cabo," Sepcic says.
With the help of her blog, The Dallas Heiress, and Instagram, she was able to reach several costumers, but she's not solely online. Already, Sepcic's products are available in shops around the world, including The Glass Box -- a boutique in the Cape Hotel in Cabo San Lucas -- and House of Mo in Dallas.
"It's super rewarding to see my clothing on a rack and to know that someone is going to wear them," Sepcic said. "Strangers wearing my stuff? That blows my mind."
Sepcic has some big goals regarding the growth of Cabo Couture, such as becoming bicoastal by the end of 2020, getting her products into a big retail store like Nordstrom and having her own physical store. Her biggest goal, though, is to inspire people.
"One of the hardest things about launching this business was taking that risk of leaving my job and going into something I had skills in but had never truly done. I had never designed clothing, so there were a lot of risks involved," Sepcic says. "The whole thing was hard, but I think that's what makes it more rewarding in the end."