Kent State Student Brings High-End Fabric to Downtown Kent
Fashion design student Symone Baskerville has worked hard to bring her dream of a high-end fabrics store to downtown Kent.
Now, that dream has become a reality with the opening of Kent Fabrics.
When Ms. Baskerville came from Chicago to Kent State to study fashion design, she realized that living so far from home was not nearly as difficult a transition as living in an area with limited choices of fabrics available for to her to use for her class projects.
In Chicago, Ms. Baskerville had easy access to high-end fabrics and quality materials from a variety of sources. Ms. Baskerville did not realize, however, that Kent State students didn’t have the same opportunity.
“I would come up with so many project ideas, but I realized that none of this would be possible because I had no way of getting the materials to make my products,” said Ms. Baskerville. “My advisor said I should go to the fabric store, and I told him that there literally isn’t a fabric store around here without driving off campus, and not every student can do that.”
After Ms. Baskerville spoke with her advisor about potential careers and her future beyond graduation, she thought of an idea that would solve the fabric issue here at Kent State.
“They had an event during the spring semester called Idea Olympics by LaunchNet,” said Ms. Baskerville. “You had to pitch an idea and business plan to solve a need for Kent students or Kent in general. So I came up with the concept of Kent Fabrics, and I would pitch how this could be an actual business that Kent State Fashion students needed.”
Ms. Baskerville won Kent State’s LaunchNet Idea Olympics that year and dove head-first into turning her business idea into reality by opening an actual shop in downtown Kent.
On Dec. 3, 2018, Ms. Baskerville had a soft opening for her new store at 175 E. Erie St., Suite 101, a space that she shares with another small business, Handcrafted.
The walls of her store are lined with a wide variety of colorful fabrics from silks to cottons, many from manufacturers throughout the Midwest. Also on display are newspaper clippings about her new business and its growth.
Ms. Baskerville has the opportunity to grow Kent Fabrics more than ever before.
“The growth that Kent Fabrics has gone through is amazing. I was hosting pop-ups with other small businesses in Kent as a way to still make my brand known,” said Ms. Baskerville. “But now I have my own store, I’m established, and I can’t believe my own idea has become what it is today.”
Ms. Baskerville explained that without the support of Kent State Fashion School, her advisors and LaunchNet’s Idea Olympics, she never would have thought she could make a change for Kent State students.
“My biggest advice for everyone, not just students at Kent State, is if there is a problem, instead of complaining about it you can be the one to make a change,” said Ms. Baskerville.
“Students have no idea how many opportunities they have at Kent State and if they want to do something, really anything, Kent State wants to help you make your ideas possible.”
Ms. Baskerville knows that the availability of a high-end fabric store will appeal to many fashion students and she is excited to see how the store will grow into the New Year. Ms. Baskerville hosted Kent Fabrics’ grand opening on Jan. 19.
To learn more about Kent Fabrics, visit www.kentfabrics.com.
More information about LaunchNet’s Idea Olympics, can be found at www.kent.edu/launchnet/event/2018-launchnet-idea-olympics.