Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Miami entrepreneur takes a chance and reaps the rewards

<p>Two years after Sophia Blasi founded Urban Luxe, it has customers across the country. </p>

Two years after Sophia Blasi founded Urban Luxe, it has customers across the country.

The word “entrepreneur” conjures up strong visions for many: eccentric billionaires, college dropouts and Silicon Valley tech gurus. 

However, a new wave of Miami University student entrepreneurs is proving you don’t need to be a college dropout tech genius to become a successful entrepreneur. Students across campus are pursuing their passions and upending industries, from the Metaverse to e-commerce. 

Sophia Blasi is one of numerous young entrepreneurs striving to better the world through her business. The senior fashion entrepreneurship and emerging technology in business and design major decided to try something new in the winter of 2020.

With only $500, Blasi founded Urban Luxe, an online clothing store that aims to create long-lasting relationships where clients feel comfortable in their clothes. 

Now, more than two years later, Urban Luxe has survived a pandemic and continues to grow. At a time when many brick-and-mortar retailers have gone out of business, Blasi’s sales have increased each year. Urban Luxe now has customers across the country, with most sales generated outside of its home state of Ohio.  

“I definitely didn't think at the time that I would be doing it as a full-time thing,” Blasi said. “I kind of just thought it was going to maybe be a hobby.”

While the business is successful now, the journey has had its challenges.

Like most young startups, Blasi’s Urban Luxe has been plagued with growing pains. As Urban Luxe has grown, so have Blasi’s responsibilities: running social media accounts, managing finances, packing orders and the many other duties a business owner faces. 

Possibly the greatest challenge that Blasi faces is balancing all these responsibilities as a full-time student at Miami. Between homework, classes and exams, it seems nearly impossible to run a business. But Blasi makes it work.

“I'm using [school] as a learning tool for the business because everything that I'm learning in my major is going hand in hand with what I'm doing,” Blasi said.

Unlike many other fashion companies, Urban Luxe strives to create a community centered on inclusivity. 

“We try to keep an inclusive environment with unique styles that are trendy and affordable,” Blasi said.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Hannah Heitger, a senior accountancy major, has been a customer of Urban Luxe and appreciates this aspect of the company. 

“What makes Urban Luxe different from other online clothing retailers is that it offers the latest trends at affordable prices,” Heitger said. “Sophia is constantly keeping up with the latest styles yet sets prices that are accessible to the average customer.”

Blasi has not only found support from the university, but also on-campus organizations.

Advancing Women in Entrepreneurship has been great letting me come do pop-up shops at Armstrong Student Center,” Blasi said. “They've been so supportive.”

Urban Luxe has also found support from Miami’s Greek life community, where Blasi organizes pop-up shops with each sorority.

With a great support system and consistent growth since 2020, Blasi is looking toward the future.

“I don't know if I want to take it a brick-and-mortar route and do online, or if I want to just keep doing online and running it out of a warehouse,” Blasi said. “I would love to have a little store at some point, but I don't want to just leave it at that. I want to bring it to more of the country, rather than just a small town.”

Blasi encouraged more students to take a chance and follow their entrepreneurial dreams, despite some of the challenges she has faced. Beyond starting businesses, she wants to see others follow their passions, whether that be business, travel, writing or something entirely different.

 “I think just taking a risk is really important,” Blasi said, “ and also doing something that you love and appreciate and can wake up every day and be looking forward to doing for your life either as your career or a hobby or whatever it is.” 

fritznd@miamioh.edu

Comments