The Arts

Stacy Igel ’99

Smart Starter

Stacy Igel

Photo by Amanda De Cadenet

“She started it” is a common get-out-of-jail-free card for siblings and playground troublemakers everywhere. But Stacy Igel ’99 would be proud to say that “she started it” — and not just when describing Boy Meets Girl (BMG), the clothing line she debuted in 2001.

The Boy Meets Girl brand offers “ath-leisure” designs geared toward young women. Igel describes the BMG girl as both “downtown” and “uptown,” “not too classy” but with “a little class,” and “not too edgy” but with “a little edge.” So, essentially, anyone. In 2014, Igel began selling her line exclusively through, and in May of 2015, the line moved into select Nordstrom stores. Before that, she started a program in which she teaches young fashion students about the industry. And before that, Igel was starting off alongside designers such as Rebecca Taylor and Stacey Bendet.

Igel started starting things as a student in UW–Madison’s School of Human Ecology (SoHE). She majored in retailing with concentrations in design and merchandising, and she received a certificate in business. In SoHE, Igel worked with the head of the design department to develop a senior thesis. “I was basically carving out my own design program at Wisconsin,” she says. During her senior year, she was asked to speak to her fellow students about getting internships — she had scored hers with designers such as Zandra Rhodes, Donna Karan, and Elsa Klensch.

During the same year, Igel designed, marketed, and sold her first design, a women’s top similar to what she calls a “hippie sack dress.” She sewed one hundred of these garments and, like traveling salesmen of old, sold them to girls on spring break. “That cross-relates to what I had to do when I first started the brand,” Igel says. She recalls driving to storefronts in Los Angeles with a roller bag filled with shirts to sell them.

As the marketing landscape changed from samples in suitcases to tags on Twitter, Igel adapted. Before Facebook offered Pages as a platform for businesses, she used her personal page as a grassroots effort to market BMG. Now, @BoyMeetsGirlUSA and @StacyIgel are on all major social platforms. Most recently, she’s been live-streaming her blog, Behind the Seams with Stacy Igel, on Periscope. Social media helps Igel get to know her customers, but it also helps customers get to know her brand. She calls this “humanizing the brand in the social media space.”

Igel has come a long way since her poolside peddling to spring-breakers. As for where she’s headed next, who knows? She just might start something.

Published in the Fall 2015 issue


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