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Megan Wettach, Young Entrepreneur

posted on October 4, 2007 at 2:20 PM


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This southeastern Iowa community may seem an unlikely location for a national clothing line that specializes in prom and pageant gowns. In 2001, as a 17-year-old senior in high school, Megan Wettach opened Premier Prom and Pageantry in her hometown of Mount Pleasant.

Wettach: I deal with so many people from New York City, they say well what part of the city is that in? I said it's in the Midwest. It's not in the city, and they thought well how can you operate your business in the fashion industry from Iowa? You could be operating business anywhere with email and internet and all of that. Whatever quality of life is the best for you and you enjoy, that's where you need to be centered. And for me it's Iowa.

Narrator: During the first three years in business, growth averaged more than 50% annually. The success of her retail store drove Megan’s decision to renovate a building on the town square that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, her business continues to flourish.

Wettach: We have one thousand different styles in stock at our retail location.

Narrator: The multitude of elegant gowns for sell at Premier Prom and Pageantry include Megan’s own line of clothing. The Megan Amanda Collection is a national wholesale apparel company specializing in Misses and Children’s pageant suits and prom dresses. The gowns Megan manufactures have sold at Nordstrom’s, Von Maur and boutiques nationwide. From an early age Megan’s business vision was linked to her fascination with the glam world of pageants.

Wettach: I used my talent and started a violin studio and gave private lessons and from the money I earned I paid for my first pageant.

Narrator: Winning nearly 30 titles including Miss Teen Iowa, Megan set-up shop after experiencing difficulty finding gowns to wear to pageants. Despite having no formal business training, she identified a market gap and filled it.

Wettach: My business plan consisted of discussing it with my parents at a restaurant on the back of a napkin.

Narrator: She continued to run her business while attending classes at the University of Iowa. It was here she learned more about business practices, earning a Certificate of Entrepreneurship. In 2003, Megan won the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition.

Wettach: By taking classes at the University of Iowa, I was able to go national and be very involved in an industry.

Wettach: And that's how the Megan Amanda Collection started.

Narrator: In addition to her work creating and selling prom and pageant apparel Megan also produces American co-ed pageants for the states of Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. She has managed to create synergy, integrating her services and products, and increasing her profits.

Wettach: Frankly, if I would not have taken classes at the University of Iowa entrepreneurship department, I would just be a little girl in a small town that has a retail store.

Tags: business economy fashion Iowa

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