When Suzie Chudzik and Olivia Do met in a literature class their freshman year, they had no idea they would eventually go on to open their own online boutique together.
After spending four years as best friends, the two 2012 Rowan graduates dreamed about moving to Red Bank to start a business. In January 2014, Chudzik, an advertising major, and Do, a management information systems major, officially launched their online boutique, Ardour.
“We were working day and night to launch our site,” Chudzik said. “We were able to get inventory, brand our name and build our site all within three months. It’s crazy to see how much you can accomplish once you just push yourself.”
Ardour sells women’s clothing and accessories. The boutique claims to have a very distinct and unique style that sets it apart from others, with a mix of Do’s electric, edgy style and Chudzik’s bohemian, hippie look. It strives to be more affordable than other festival fashion companies like Urban Outfitters and Free People.
“There are brands out there with our style. However, their prices are absurd,” Chudzik said. “Ardour delivers a unique festival style without breaking the bank.”
Chudzik, currently working as a Digital Operations Coordinator at Northstar Travel Media in New York, and Do, working full time as a Java developer at an insurance company in Trenton, wanted to venture beyond their corporate cubicles and partake in something they enjoy.
“Starting a business was almost an escape route from the ‘nine-to-five’,” Chudzik said. “We wanted to build something we enjoy and are striving to share this movement to do what you love within others.”
They decided to break into the fashion industry because they believe it is a fun industry to work in, filled with opportunities to travel and be creative. Both Chudzik and Do share their ideas and work together on all elements of the business. Their individual responsibilities, such as marketing, inventory, posting on social media and editing photos constantly overlap.
“Ardour means a heat of passion and intense devotion. It came about when discussing why we want to do this,” Chudzik said. “We’re here for one reason — to live a life we love.”
Lilyann Hoang, a visitor of the site, loves the products Ardour offers.
“They offer excellent service and I can tell that they pick and choose their products very consciously,” Hoang said. “I can easily notice that they both truly care about the quality of their products and service and about customer satisfaction. I also love how their products grasp their personalities and their passion.”
Chudzik and Do collaboratively decide on the pieces and styles they offer, adding their personality to their brand.
“Our pieces are chosen by us individually, but we also always look for one another’s approval before we are definite in making the final purchase,” Chudzik said. “After all, we are trying to combine both of our styles. There are times that we both cross over and diverge into each other’s styles. We also love to do a play on our products to show our audience how diverse a piece can be styled.”
They both also love music and find their inspiration for Ardour from it.
“Music is the soul of our business,” Chudzik said. “We get inspiration from the artists and the culture you find within the crowds at festivals. We strive to live a positive lifestyle, delivering good vibes through fashion.”
They love going to concerts and festivals, sharing their favorite tunes with others and letting music inspire their work.
“The corporate life isn’t exactly what we want to permanently pursue, but hey, it pays the bills for now,” Chudzik said. “But that’s the main reason why we started to work on this. We wanted to morph a dream into a reality that we love, and to slowly escape from the everyday corporate domain.”
Chudzik and Do hope to work on Ardour full time in the next few years. During their time at Rowan, they made many connections that are helping them grow now.
“We have so many plans, sometimes too many,” Chudzik said. “In the near future we will be launching a crowd-funding campaign to help us raise funds. We want to grow our inventory of unique yet affordable clothing, offer free returns, launch a graphic tee line and open an office.”
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