When Dana Veraldi made the trek from her home in New York City to the Merion Cricket club to deliver the keynote speech at Career Wardrobe’s annual Empowering Tea and Fashion Show recently, it was a trip back home for the 2002 Shipley School graduate.
Veraldi built her 10-year-old DeerDana brand largely from scratch. It’s now the beneficiary of various celebrity affiliations and partnerships with major brands. While she was majoring in photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Veraldi started making T-shirts screen-printed with hand-sketched portraits of her friends. Later, from a new NYC home base, she moved on to celebrities and other public figures, working various full-time jobs in the fashion industry as she developed her business. Via some powerful social networking, her shirts found their way to the likes of Jay-Z and Justin Bieber. “I wasn’t setting out to do this,” says Veraldi. “I didn’t have a formal business plan or investors. It’s all been very genuine and organic how this company has grown,” writes Tara Behan in Main Line Today.
Despite her success, Veraldi has managed to remain humble. “I have a group of friends around me in New York who are also in creative fields and building businesses, so I can bounce questions, ideas and problems off of them,” she says. “Watching my friends’ companies grow alongside mine helps to ground me, too.”
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