Designing an entrepreneurial journey


Pictured is Rose Soma facing a mannequin wearing fabric

“My mom has a quote from when I was five. ‘The worst day of my life was when I was born because I couldn’t use scissors.’ It’s funny, but it’s true. Designing in various contexts is the one thing in my life that comes truly intuitively. It’s also the one thing I believe I’ll never stop doing, because when I get bored with one medium, or my ideas get copied, I can just switch it up.”

“I am better with pictures than words,” says Rose Soma, owner of Rose Soma LLC, the design label for her products available through Etsy, online and in retail stores, including The self-described introvert has been working on her business formally since 2017, but has been designing all her life. And though there are some challenges in being an introvert while starting your own business, the introspection and perspective that it affords Soma contributes to her art and her ability to be transparent while running an authentic brand.

But is running that brand the right decision right now? That is something that Soma is considering as she embarks on a journey through her honors thesis to explore international influence, the use of sustainable textiles and 2D printmaking, her entrepreneurial journey and burnout, and 2020 in general, all through the lens of zero waste fashion design.

As she researches her thesis, Soma is likely to make more discoveries about herself, design and her business. And self-discovery has been a big part of her WMU journey to date.

“Pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship was one of the best choices I made coming to Western. But more important than the classes we register for is the content each class provides and what each student chooses to do in the class. If I can give any advice to another student, it would be this: if you love your work, don’t let anything get in the way of it.”

Soma says that she has enjoyed nearly every class she has taken at WMU, because she has made it an opportunity to broaden her mindset, joining the many students who feel excited about their courses at WMU, including 99% of business students who say their instructors inspire excitement and passion for learning.

The pandemic has been a time of reflection and retrenching for Soma, as it has for many students. “I think it’s important for me to be completely honest about what’s next: I don’t know. There are things I can control, and there are things I cannot. Rose Soma LLC, like almost all other businesses, was not untouched by the effects of the pandemic. Surrounding myself with supportive family members was a really great move for me these past few months, as was making hundreds of masks with Carly McKay in March when the pandemic first hit. Going forward, I’m looking at many options, including pursuing my master’s degree, writing, going back to designing primarily streetwear, or a combination of all three. No matter which direction I go, I am hopeful for what this next year holds for my business and at Western.”

Follow Rose Soma LLC on Instagram.