Lebo residents launch online clothing shop

Erin Carmody, left, and her daughter, Theresa, started a women’s clothing business.

Theresa Carmody, Alexander Place, always dreamed of starting her own business.

Although she has a full-time job she loves, when the pandemic started, she realized she wanted a side hustle and turned her interest in beauty, clothing and fashion into the online clothing retailer 97 Threads.

“Entrepreneurship is in her blood,” said her mother, Erin Carmody, pointing out Theresa’s father and all his siblings have their own businesses.

97 Threads fuels Theresa’s entrepreneurial spirit. “I’ve never been good at a strict regimen. I kind of like to do things my own way,” she said. The 2015 Mt. Lebanon High school graduate was able to create her own curriculum while designing an entrepreneurship and marketing major at Ohio University.

There’s a distinct division of labor in her new company. Theresa is creative while Erin is administrative. “We are a company of two,” Erin pointed out.

The clothes are all made in the U.S. and come from relatively small companies, some in Los Angeles others in New York. “They sell at wholesale, and we’re allowed to resell at market prices because we have our retailer’s license,” Erin said.

“We decided we wouldn’t price anything over $100. That was our motive at the beginning. Keep it good quality, but at a low price,” Theresa said.

97 Threads sells sweaters, jackets, activewear and other versatile clothing to a target audience of 18- to 30-year-olds. Theresa can offer same-day delivery and super-fast shipping because the fulfillment center is in her studio apartment, and she does all deliveries in the Pittsburgh area herself.

Erin says gaining traction is the biggest challenge for 97 Threads so far. “Getting the word out beyond family and friends…we have to figure out how to go viral,” she said.

Theresa hopes influencers like Hailey Bieber and Anna Heid might show some interest.

In the meantime, Erin’s advice for anyone launching a startup is “don’t quit your day job. It’s a process. You just have to stick with it, be patient, keep working at it,” she said.

Theresa agrees. “Yeah, don’t quit your day job because it might take a while, but hopefully you can get there someday with hard work. I think anyone will.  If you put in the work, you can make it happen,” Theresa said.

“I also think if you’re passionate about it you should do it if you have the means to.”

97 Threads can be found online at www.shop97threads.com.

Photography by John Schisler