Lusine Mkrtchyan, a 2000 graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, noticed a gap in the sports apparel market that she was determined to fill –there was a lack of stylish clothes for women.
“I was tired of modifying over-sized clothing into fashionable pieces,” said Mkrtchyan of her inspiration to create a fashion line for female sports enthusiasts.
In 2010, Mkrtchyan finally decided to take a leap of faith and create the clothing line she had envisioned.
“After graduating from USC, I worked for major corporations including Ford Motor Company, Citibank and NBC, but I wanted something more out of my career,” she said. “I wanted something more fulfilling.”
So Mkrtchyan, who had always had a passion for fashion, cashed in her 401K and put her entire savings towards starting Simply Sporty.
The brand began with a license from the University of Southern California and has grown from there. It now provides trendy options for female sports fans at nine NCAA schools, including UCLA, ASU, Cal and SDSU.
Simply Sporty also provides fashionable fan apparel for more than 15 NBA and NHL teams, including the L.A. Lakers, the L.A. Clippers, the L.A. Kings, the Miami Heat, the Utah Jazz, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Detroit Pistons, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Carolina Panthers.
According to the line’s website, the company gets its inspiration from “students, fashion runways and the streets to create offerings that allow female fans to proudly showcase their school colors and team spirit, all while maintaining their femininity.”
“The details set us apart,” said Mkrtchyan. “Our designs are meant to fit a woman's body.”
Simply Sporty offers a range of spirited women’s apparel, including dresses, jumpers, tank tops, tube tops and T-shirts.
So what’s next for the fashion-forward brainchild of this USC alum?
“Our goal for this year is to grow our licenses as well as distribution, and obtain an NBA license,” said Mkrtchyan.
She is also working to expand the brand’s reach through the new “Face of Simply Sporty” model search.
“We’re looking for real girls to be the face of the line, and through this search we are also doing something to build the brand through social media and grassroots efforts,” explained Mkrtchyan.
Simply Sporty clothes can be found at Sport Chalet and college bookstores, as well as specialty retailers including Greek Escape, Sports Iconic, Sports Treasure and Sports Fever. They can also be found online at www.simplysporty.com.
—Reporting by Joyce Tseng