A MY DEVAN, 31, of Center City, is owner and creative director of the women's fashion brand Naveda, which is her last name and first initial spelled backward. Her brand focuses on ready-to-wear and custom-embellished pieces from casual chic to formal bridal wear. She recently moved the business from New York to Center City.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Naveda?
A: I worked for a financial-services firm in Chicago but had a passion for fashion. I applied to Parsons [the New School of Design] and got accepted. I also have an MBA from Drexel. Naveda allows me to mesh my entrepreneurial and creative sides. I finished Parsons in 2014 but began Naveda before then.
Q: Startup money?
A: It was self-funded with more than $200,000.
Q: What inspires your design?
A: Exotic places. That's why so many of my pieces are almost like found treasures.
Q: The biz model?
A: One is direct-to-consumer through my website or trunk shows. I also wholesale to 15 boutiques across the country.
Q: Why'd you relocate the biz?
A: Philadelphia has art and history, but fashion hasn't quite gotten there yet. There's lots of trendsetters, creative minds here. I see an opportunity.
Q: Your ideal customer?
A: A woman who's eclectic but also focused, ambitious and professional. She likes to travel; somebody who's in her 30s or 40s and has disposable income.
Q: Cost of clothes?
A: The company has two divisions: Naveda, which is ready-to-wear, and NavedaCouture, which is custom formal or bridal wear. Everything is done by hand, all embroidered, the beading, the dyeing and weaving. The clothes are made in India right now, but I'm looking to expand to Dubai and Turkey. That skill set is only available in a few places. On a retail level, my prices range from $50 to $300 for ready-to-wear pieces like hand-beaded collars, casual T's and pants. A custom bridal gown would be $1,500 to $6,000. My couture contains the finest silks.
Q: With whom do you compete? What differentiates you?
A: I don't think I have a direct competitor, because I'm doing something unique in the market. I think handmade, beaded embellishments separate my brand from others.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: I've probably sold 600 to 700 pieces, both ready-to-wear and couture.
Q: What's next?
A: One goal is to expand distribution in the Philadelphia market. I also want to build my bridal-wear business.
On Twitter: @MHinkelman