BCBUSINESS 30 UNDER 30
Our 30 Under 30 celebrates B.C.'s young guns who excel in their respective industries, give back to their community and planet and who will lead business in this province for years to come. Each year, winners of our 30 Under 30 will be featured in the April issue of BCBusiness and on BCBusiness.ca, with one exceptionally amazing young world-changer gracing that issue's cover.
Mariel Armstrong, 27Co-founder
The Story: Partyskirts started with Mariel Armstrong and her older sister, Lauren, huddled around their mother’s sewing machine as she stitched a high-waisted, full-bodied garment of 100 per cent silk taffeta. Mariel had recently graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing in Los Angeles, and Lauren had studied marketing at Parsons School of Design. They wanted to start a business together; their late father, Bev Armstrong, an entrepreneur who co-founded the Rocky Mountaineer with his brother Peter, had always encouraged them to follow their dreams. The skirt provoked rave reactions from friends and strangers, and they knew it was their product. In 2013, they started selling a short-length skirt in vibrant colours and landed a collaboration with Teen Vogue in which they designed six skirts that were featured in the magazine and sold on their website. Soon after, they designed a custom print for Keds shoes, with skirts to match; they have since added a “lady-length” version, which was worn by talk show host Kelly Ripa. Producing their skirts in a small factory in Vancouver gives them the ability to act quickly on a trend and make small runs to meet demand on their site. They have cautiously branched out, making Partytops and a more casual silhouette for spring, but they remain committed to their original idea. Says Mariel: “Partyskirts is a lifestyle; it has an energy behind it.”
Markers of Success: In addition to collaborations with Teen Vogue and Keds, Partyskirts has received endorsements from influential Vancouver bloggers Jillian Harris and Monika Hibbs, and a sale-spiking seal of approval from U.S. style queen Blair Eadie. Sales are almost exclusively online; only a handful of stores in Vancouver and Toronto carry the garments. In 2015, Partyskirts revenues grew to $300,000. PHOTO: ADAM BLASBERG