You may have noticed a little extra sparkle in our Pride photoshoot this year–it’s all thanks to Kelsey Campion and her ultra-fun brand, Fringe+co. Kelsey is the creator and self-appointed “Chief Sequin Officer” at the New Orleans company that designs and manufactures apparel and accessories made to steal the spotlight via tinsel, sparkles, sequins, and, of course, fringe. It’s a playful vision we can’t get enough of.
TomboyX: What inspired the birth of Fringe+co?
Kelsey Campion: There isn’t one thing in particular that inspired the birth of Fringe+co. When I was 13, I told my mom that I wanted to either be a psychologist or a fashion designer. Being quite an academic, I pursued the more academic path until I realized that I was unfulfilled. I left my former career in forensic psychology while getting my Ph.D. to pursue a more creative life. I started my creative career in photography but quickly realized the fashion bug never quite left me so I bought my first sewing machine, found someone to teach me how to thread it and slowly taught myself design, production, marketing, and business. I design pieces I want to wear and pieces I want to see in my closet, and luckily a lot of other people want to have closets similar to mine!
TBX: What’s next for the brand?
KC: We just purchased our manufacturer here in New Orleans and my partner came on full-time to run that, so we are having fun (and being challenged) learning a new side to the business. We also recently bought a party bus and are building that out! We really want to create, design, and throw the events that people wear Fringe+co. to, so we’ll be building out the experiential side of the brand over the next year.
TBX: What’s been your favorite part of building and running Fringe+co?
KC: Building a community around joy and sparkles and fun has been an absolute dream and I truly have the best, most inspiring and supportive clients. Additionally, I love having full creative control over every aspect of my business–if I were to be honest I was never a great employee because I was always challenging higher-ups on ways to improve and grow, and I always felt like my opinions were not considered. Knowing that at the end of the day if something is going wrong it’s up to me to fix it and if things are going well I have had a major hand in that decision making-process is really nice. I like the freedom and flexibility and challenge of running and growing my own business and have learned so much about myself along the way.
TBX: Do you have a favorite Fringe+co piece?
KC: Truthfully, no. I have certain ones that hold special places in my heart but I truly don’t make anything (or buy fabrics) that I don’t absolutely love. I’ve made one design that I didn’t love and didn’t fit my personal style, and let’s just say it’s no longer a product offering because it’s hard to sell something you don’t absolutely love and wear all the time.
TBX: What else are you passionate about?
KC: I have a really bad habit of turning hobbies into business so truthfully I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I do find a lot of inspiration in traveling and having lived overseas I try to travel as much as possible. Outside of work I enjoy working out, hanging out with my dog and my fiancé, Liz, and attending the millions of fun activities that New Orleans has to offer.
TBX: If you were in charge of the whole universe, what would your top 3 commands be?
KC: Be unapologetically yourself in all you do.
Don’t take yourself or life too seriously.
More frosting, less cake.
TBX: Anything else you want people to know about you and/or Fringe+co?
KC: I am fully aware that from the outside my business looks like it’s all fun and sparkles, but the reality of running and growing a business is a lot less Instagrammable. When I first went on my own with Fringe+co. full time I vowed to share the good, the bad, the sparkly and the ugly of running a business and there’s been a lot of ups and downs over the last 5 years. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that whatever I’m scared of or anxious about right now will seem like small potatoes in 6 months. I’ve learned so much about myself, my strengths, my tenacity and my drive and am way more in tune with who I am and what I have to offer than I was 5 years ago. Running a business isn’t for everyone, but I think I’ve found the right fit for me.
Shop the party vibes at www.fringe-co.com. Check out Fringe+co on Instagram and TikTok @fringe.and.company, and follow Kelsey’s adventures @chiefsequinofficer.