The company’s founder, Meaghan Daly, is a Penn State graduate who earned her bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences at Brandywine in 2016. She began Meaghan Paige after finding inspiration on a trip to Paris, which she took with Brandywine Global Programs during her senior year.
“I started getting serious about sewing in 2014, so I had a few designs already,” said Daly. “I brought them to Paris with me. Then I met some of my best friends on that trip, who are also into fashion, and we staged the first photo shoot for Meaghan Paige on the streets of Paris.”
Daly went on to host fashion shows on campus and in the surrounding region, and Meaghan Paige began to emerge as a company by the end of her senior year.
Today, Daly brings the culture of other cities and countries to her customers through her design process. Every Meaghan Paige collection is based on the colors, patterns and cultural staples of countries that Daly visits.
“I had never seen another brand base its fashion choices off of travel in that way,” she said. “We decided it would be fun to give it a shot.”
Meaghan Paige has undergone many positive changes. Daly’s designs are featured online and in local boutiques. This past year, the company went through a different kind of makeover — a year of business mentorship and support from Brandywine Boost.
Brandywine Boost, an initiative born out of a $50,000 Invent Penn State seed grant, offers advisory support to small- and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs in the Delaware County region. This support includes one-on-one direct analysis and advising, interaction with Brandywine students and group workshops, and, in some cases, a microgrant of up to $5,000 for the small business.
In 2017, Daly’s fashion company was selected as one of the first Brandywine Boost grant recipients.
“As a Brandywine alum, I thought it would be great to work with the students and professors from my community,” she said. “Also, I’m a startup, so every little bit of help goes a long way.”
Daly worked with students and faculty members from four different Brandywine classes who used her company’s real-world scenarios to instruct students in principles of business, advertising and communications. Brandywine students worked to improve the Meaghan Paige website, inventory process and other logistical processes.
“As a business owner, you have so many plates to juggle that you often just go with what has worked in the past,” Daly said. “The Brandywine students and faculty did a great job highlighting my business from a point of view I hadn’t seen before and making it more sustainable.”
Looking back on the 2017-18 academic year, Daly can already see major improvements in the daily operations of Meaghan Paige. She has been able to attend more shows, do more branding events, and even take time off from her second job to focus on her own company since working with Brandywine Boost.
Most of all, though, Daly appreciated the opportunity to work with familiar faces from her student years.
“I’ve learned that you really have to stick by your community when you’re a startup,” she said. “A lot of people assume that in order to be successful you need to move to a big city and meet the right people — but nobody knows you there. These are my roots. These are the people who know and support me.”
Through her years as the driving force behind Meaghan Paige, Daly has learned the importance of perseverance, focus and commitment, especially in small business ownership. Through working with Brandywine Boost, she also has learned to appreciate the power of community in a new way.
“I loved my time at Brandywine and made lifelong friends there,” she said. “Working with Penn State has brought me so much confidence as a business owner. I know they have my back and are here to help.”