April 26, 2022
Georgi Gnibus is making the most of her University of Missouri education. Not only is she pursuing a law degree, she also is cutting her entrepreneurial teeth as the owner of a sustainable fashion shop, called Rad by Design, located in the MU Student Center.
Gnibus, a talented designer and seamstress who transforms used clothing and textiles into new garments, has been operating her brick-and-mortar store on campus since August 2021. Mizzou selected her and two other student business owners to receive retail space this year through a competitive process managed by staff in the Griggs Innovators Nexus. U.S. Bank sponsors MU’s storefront program.
Gnibus has two employees helping her run her store, but juggling a fashion business with law school hasn’t been easy. What keeps her motivated, though, is her goal to work with entrepreneurs when she’s an attorney and a desire to combat waste in the textile industry.
“Because of this experience, I feel like I can relate to clients on a deeper level, not just as their attorney, but also as a small business owner,” Gnibus said.
Originally from Carisbad, California, Gnibus learned how to sew as a hobby from her mother and grandmother. She began selling her pieces online in 2018 after receiving encouragement from friends and family who received compliments on creations made from hand-me-downs and clothing from thrift stores and garage sales.
“I did pretty well, which led me to develop new designs, try new things, and I started doing different pop-up markets,” Gnibus said.
For the people
Receiving regular feedback from customers has been invaluable for Gnibus. She’s also built a following of more than 600 people on Rad by Design’s Instagram account.
“Repeat customers come in and recognize me,” Gnibus said. “I love that. That’s one of my favorite parts.”
It’s not uncommon for customers to see Gnibus using her sewing machine to whip out new designs inside the store. She clearly knows her craft. And now she has firsthand knowledge of what it takes to run a business with help from the Innovators Nexus and the 4impact and Entrepreneur Quest programs.
“They helped facilitate my experience here in the retail space,” she said. “They have also provided the resources for all the other not-as-fun aspects, such as taxes.”
A key characteristic Gnibus shares with other successful entrepreneurs is persistence.
“It’s all just slow traction over the years,” she said. “I’ve stuck with it even when things have been slow.”