This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of SMU Look.
By: Anna Grace Carey
Chandler Helms (‘16) is making waves in the fashion industry with the release of Buyer’s Marque. This revolutionary app allows fashion buyers to take notes on new merchandise, plan appointments, calculate budgets, preview orders and export all of the data. She’s organizing the chaos of a wholesale market. Here’s a look back at how Helms went from bachelor’s degree to business owner in just two years.
Junior Year: Inspiration Strikes
While working at the Fashion Industry Gallery in Dallas, Helms noticed that fashion buyers had a problem: inefficiency. Buyers spent their days taking notes on new collections by hand and their nights calculating budgets and planning orders. More often than not, it was a time-consuming mess. Helms realized there had to be a way to make this purchasing process less painful.
Senior Year: Research and Design
Helms spent her senior year interviewing buyers in Dallas and Oklahoma City to see what tools they would want in an app. Around the same time, SMU adopted the clear bag policy for its stadiums. Helms designed and sold stadium-approved purses to boulevarding enthusiasts. She was the first person in the SMU area to sell clear (but cute) handbags. Helms would eventually go on to invest the profits from the bag business in Buyer’s Marque.
Spring 2016: Exciting Moments
Helms graduated from SMU as a journalism and French double major with a business minor. After graduation, she decided to chase the dream and move to New York City. She spent the next six months in the corporate training program at Dior.
2017: Almost There
It was a busy year for Helms. She worked a full-time job at Rebecca Taylor and developed Buyer’s Marque at the same time.
New Year’s Day 2018: Two Weeks Notice
Helms was nervous to quit her job, but her coworkers were supportive and encouraged her to pursue Buyer’s Marque full-time.
Helms is finding her way as a small-business owner. She sets a top-three focus for the week to stay on track. This week? She’s prepping for a promotional event, focusing on her social media presence and working on hiring employees.
Over 1,200 people downloaded Buyer’s Marque in its debut weekend this February. Helms was ecstatic. Now? She is working on using customer feedback to update features, planning on traveling to different markets and looking into investment opportunities. After that, it’s time to keep growing.