A person in a green dress standing on a stage.
BGSU alumna Fatima Camara presented her company 10,000 Threads during The Hatch in 2017.

BGSU alumna credits mentorship during The Hatch with her continued success in fashion industry

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Fatima Camara continues to build her international fashion brand using knowledge from her BGSU experience

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

More than seven years into building an international fashion brand, Fatima Camara ‘17 remains grateful for the advice from her mentor at Bowling Green State University about not compromising brand value.

The advice came from distinguished BGSU business alumnus Paul J. Hooker ‘75 while Camara was participating in The Hatch, a semester-long program in the Schmidthorst College of Business that takes students’ business ideas from concept to reality.

“He told me, ‘Don’t ever start a brand by selling low-cost items because when you’re ready to elevate your brand and provide better quality, you’ll compromise customer loyalty,'” Camara said.

“Paul’s advice has always stuck with me. I’m very grateful to BGSU and the whole Hatch team for helping me develop and refine my idea. The mentorship I received was invaluable.”

Dozens of BGSU students like Camara have pitched their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch in a format similar to the television show “Shark Tank.” The event, a part of Entrepreneurship Week (E-Week) at BGSU, challenges students to develop unique ways to solve problems for the public good.

More than $800,000 has been invested into student businesses since The Hatch began in 2013.

“The Hatch is a self-guided gauntlet of experiential learning,” said Ryan Holley, assistant teaching professor in the Schmidthorst College of Business, who works with Hatch participants to refine their business ideas and presentation skills. “Students are taking their ideas from conception to launch. The Hatch is an amazing opportunity for students to explore the tangibility of possibility.”

A person wearing an intricate blue dress.
BGSU alumna Fatima Camara '17 models dresses she has designed for her brand, 10,000 Threads.
A person wearing a red and white dress while standing next to a white horse.
Camara values the mentorship she received through The Hatch in building her fashion brand.

Camara’s 10,000 Threads brand provides custom, high-end clothing that celebrates West African culture. The pieces are made by local tailors in Guinea, West Africa, where Camara was born, and in two production facilities in Senegal and Nigeria.

Camara, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and product development from BGSU, said she often felt pressured to reduce prices or sell less expensive items while building her brand.

Instead, she relied on the advice from Hooker and remained committed to her initial vision.

“That advice has been essential to my success as a business owner,” Camara said. “Even when I faced challenges, I pushed forward to build a list of clientele who are willing and able to pay for high-priced items. I value the quality of my clothing and the designs I create, and I want my customers to do the same.”

After living and working in Atlanta for several years following her graduation from BGSU, Camara returned to her native Guinea in 2021 to focus entirely on her business. 

Since then, Camara has expanded her production capabilities, trained for five months to learn an intricate sewing technique and begun designing her first custom wedding gown to expand her business into new markets. New this year, Camara is donating a school uniform to a child in Africa for every item sold.

“I couldn’t focus on my clothing line as much as I wanted while working full-time,” she said. “I’m so happy I had enough faith in myself to devote all my time to 10,000 Threads.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 04/02/2024 01:29PM