KICKSTARTER

Throughout their four years together at Georgetown University, Samantha Hiranand (COL ’11), Berin Bezmen (MSB ’10) and Odile Liu (MSB ’10) formed an unbreakable bond despite their diverse backgrounds and personalities. Today, those same differences serve as the inspiration behind 3BORO, the trio’s emerging company for athleisure clothing, sportswear designed for both exercise and everyday use.

3BORO’s name stems from the women’s love for the diversity and energy present in the various boroughs of New York City, where Bezmen and Liu currently live. On its Instagram, the group has started the hashtag #BOROGals series, in which they feature a woman in the brand’s signature clothing and include a blurb detailing her aspirations and hobbies. Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu know they do not have the same resources as larger companies, but they still want their feed to accurately capture the daily lives of ordinary women.

“Right now, what’s being represented in the media is not the full spectrum of women,” Liu said in an interview with The Hoya.

The hope is that this initiative will promote the brand’s goals of inclusivity and global connectivity.

“A lot of the messaging marginalizes a big chunk of how people connect with each other,” Liu said.

Founded in 2016, 3BORO aims to promote a community-centered culture, a strategy Liu says contrasts with those of big name-brand athleisure companies like Nike or Lululemon, which have centered their campaigns on competition and individualism. 3BORO’s message of inclusivity and acceptance draws from the trio’s own friendship.

“Odile, Berin and I are very, very different people,” said Hiranand, who is based in the Philippines. “But we all met and became very good friends, and now we’re working across borders.”

Although Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu are passionate about their company, fashion was not always on their radars. While at Georgetown, Bezmen and Liu studied business, and Hiranand had a background in finance from helping with her family business back home in the Philippines. It was not until Hiranand returned home to the Philippines in 2015 that the idea of a fashion startup began to take form.

Hiranand realized that, unlike in the United States, where athleisure is a major industry, the Asian markets were not being offered high-quality, affordable and stylish athletic wear.

3BORO

Similarly, Bezmen and Liu were drawn to the accessibility and adaptability of athleisure attire.

“Wearing workout clothes is part of our daily lives,” Hiranand said. “It’s become a part of what we wear daily.”

Because exercise is often turned into a social activity as well as an opportunity to relieve stress, the women wanted 3BORO’s products to be affordable and versatile to fit the lifestyle of every woman — while still being fashionable.

The brand’s first collection draws inspiration from New York City’s architecture.

For example, the geometry on the leg of the brand’s Lexi leggings was inspired by the design of the Empire State Building. The bright fuchsia color of the Bowery leggings is inspired by the building’s daily light displays. Even the Maddie sports bra is inspired by the suspension chords on bridges in New York City.

Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu took the time to make sure they found the perfect breathable fabric by speaking to experts. They have been able to reuse the fabric in several of their clothing items. The fact that just one fabric can serve several purposes ensures that the costs of 3BORO’s garments – both to the consumer and to the environment – remain reasonable.

“We maximize our fabric usage to not only help the environment, but to help the consumer as well,” Hiranand said.

Right now, 3BORO is a three-person operation, but Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu are aiming high. After their Kickstarter campaign ends on Nov. 5, their next step is to officially launch their first collection and expand their designs and marketing; 3BORO has already surpassed its crowdfunding goal of $6,000 by $3,808.

Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu plan on utilizing the funds to initiate an e-commerce site in the United States and a wholesale presence in the Philippines. They recognize that there may be obstacles in entering the athleisure market, which has already been penetrated by big-name brands, but the three are determined to challenge themselves and distinguish 3BORO by promoting its inclusivity, fun designs and appreciation for diversity.

When asked to give advice to other young entrepreneurs, Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu emphasize the importance of being patient, doing research and taking time to discover where your true passions lie.

“Some people immediately jump the gun and start a business, and when it doesn’t go where they predicted, they are stuck in an unstable position,” Hiranand said.

The three also encourage entrepreneurs to be confident and not pay undue attention to their critics.

“You’re not going win if you try to satisfy every person,” Bezmen said.

3BORO is moving forward, but Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu are determined to stay connected to the Georgetown community. Looking back, the women of 3BORO wish they had been more in touch with female entrepreneurs during their time at the university.

Now, Hiranand, Bezmen and Liu want to serve as role models to young Hoyas and entrepreneurs hoping to take the world by storm.

3BORO

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