Jami-Lyn Fehr, a Belmont graduate of the Class of 2018, opened her own store this summer called MODISTE.
Fehr, who received her BFA in Fashion Merchandising from Belmont and then her MS in Marketing from Vanderbilt, opened MODISTE with a specific vision in mind: bring new, luxurious and exciting clothes to the Nashville fashion scene. MODISTE accomplishes just that.
“MODISTE is filled with emerging and luxury designers, most of which are unavailable anywhere else in Nashville,” said Fehr.
Not only are MODISTE’s clothes fashionable, they are ethically made as well.
“There are several boxes a brand checks if they’re stocked at MODISTE, including sustainable, ethical (fair wages, no slave labor), female-founded and meaningfully designed,” explained Fehr. “Many of our brands check several of these boxes, but we want our customers to know they’re getting the highest quality clothing available, knowing these pieces will live in their wardrobes forever.”
Opening MODISTE’s doors this summer turned out to be no small feat. The planning process first started with hours of concepting and researching to find the perfect name for the store. After that, the real work began.
“I then began working with my graphic designer, Olivia Fortune, on what the brand would look like. Once we had a solid brand on our hands, I began reaching out to the designers I found, placing orders and building out the website with a fellow Belmont alumnus, Cody Parnell (who also executed the vision perfectly),” said Fehr. “ I launched online first while I hunted for the perfect showroom location, but the plan was always to have a storefront in Nashville.”
Fehr faced more than the typical start-up business troubles. The emergence of COVID-19 and its delta variant added additional struggle to the launching of MODISTE.
“I had to delay my opening, and when I could finally open, a variant emerged, forcing me to shift to an appointment-based structure which certainly doesn’t allow for walk-ins and foot traffic, but I’m hoping to reopen soon,” said Fehr.
While her time at Belmont may not have fully prepared her for a global pandemic, it did prepare her for tough decision making and planning.
“There were many classes I took within the Fashion Merchandising degree that played and continue to play a heavy hand in my decision-making process when concepting, opening and operating MODISTE,” recalled Fehr. “Many of the professors in the fashion program won’t give you an A if you simply do the work, you have to put in extra effort and pay attention to details… that mentality has allowed me to make MODISTE unlike anything else in Nashville.”
Fehr advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to take note of what’s missing in their desired industry and lean into that. “So many Nashvillians have impeccable style but didn’t have a variety of options as far as curated shopping experiences went, and I decided instead of waiting for it to arrive, I’d open the store I was waiting for.”
Since its opening, MODISTE has received attention from a variety of fashion publications. Most notably, from British Vogue. The September edition of British Vogue features MODISTE under the Designer Profile section.
Visit MODISTE’s Nashville location (currently doing showroom appointments only) or customers can shop MODISTE online.