âIf you look around downtown, you can see Apple and lululemon. They’re both big, successful companies, so there’s something about the names of fruit, âjoked Athena Wang, a UCSB student and founder / designer of Watermelon Apparel, when I asked her how she got it. found the name of his brand. “Watermelons are a fruit too, and I’m very superstitious, so I hope there is some truth to this.”
Watermelon Apparel is Wang’s clothing brand, which offers cute and comfy clothes like oversized t-shirts and crew-neck sweatshirts. Last spring, Wang was running his own online store when inspiration came to him while his mind was wandering during an accounting class. âWe were talking about business,â she said, âand I just thought, ‘Well I have a business. It would be cool if I could do it in person.
Wang has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which she attributes to her father, who is the inspiration behind the brand’s name. Her father, who now runs his own tech incubator, grew up in rural China and worked as a watermelon seller. Her family was very poor and often struggled to find enough to eat. He would get up in front of the sun every day for years to sell watermelons at the market.
“I named it Watermelon Apparel to constantly remind me of the work it took for my family to move from the rural part of China to the capital of China, then from China to America and California. , which is amazing, âWang said. me. She admires her father and admires his success and dedication and tries to emulate that for herself and her community.
Right after this accounting course, Wang started looking for temporary leases for commercial space. She contacted a few real estate agents, picked out places to visit, and then set out to find the perfect ephemeral place.
After going through her selections and signing a contract at the end of June, her next task was to prepare the store for its opening on July 17th. Wang hired a small group of women to help her, one of whom convinced her to start posting TikToks as a form of marketing for her brand.
The idea worked. In fact, I discovered Watermelon Apparel on TikTok when an article that has since garnered 1.6 million views with almost 200,000 likes appeared on my “For You” page. The description of the video reads, “when 5 students are allowed to open and run an entire clothing store,” and shows Wang and his team painting the walls, assembling mannequins and preparing the 3,000 square foot site for his first customers.
Intended to include size and body, Watermelon Apparel began posting videos on how their clothes fit models of different heights and body shapes. Wang also intends to expand the types of clothing they offer on their next release.
Watermelon Apparel is only open until September 17, so be sure to stop by and check it out at Paseo Nuevo before it disappears.