By Tara DeLorenzo
Combining her passion for fashion and a love of summer, Maddy Sasso has launched Pinkly Perfect, Inc., her debut brand of apparel and accessories made for teenage girls looking to keep that feeling of happy summer days all year long.
Sasso, 27, introduced the brand April 1 after leaving her job as an associate designer in New York. The line is inspired by Sasso’s love of Avalon and her many childhood summers spent there.
“When I’m in Avalon, especially last summer, I notice all these girls riding their bikes or grabbing an ice cream or hanging out at Circle Pizza,” Sasso says. “They also have this love for going down the shore.” She thought it would be a great idea to “capture that beach-town pride and that excitement of the shore and the magical essence of it through clothing and accessories.” If she succeeded in doing that, she figured, her line would “appeal to a lot of people who feel the same way that I do.”
Sasso has been involved in art and fashion since she was a youngster; she even designed her eighthgrade graduation dress, as well as her junior-prom dress. Through high school at Mount St. Joseph in Flourtown, Pa., she took classes at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, and she then studied fashion design at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
“I loved having a creative outlet that also made people feel good,” she says. “When you put on something you’re excited to wear, it can give you a whole new outlook, and I like being able to do that for people. I just love the form of expression that comes from fashion.”
After graduating, Sasso moved to a job in New York City and worked there for four years with women’s ready-to-wear and girls’ active-wear brands before deciding to chase her own dreams.
“I was happy where I was,” she says, “but I couldn’t see myself being fulfilled if I continued to work for another company and if I didn’t go after my own dream of starting my own thing. So I started taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology that had more of a business focus. One of the classes I took gave me the idea to combine my love for going down the shore in the summertime.
“[Even] before I was born, my parents were going to Avalon. It is just such a part of me; it’s my happy place. When I think about my childhood going down the shore, those memories are the most important thing to me, so I wanted to combine my love of that with fashion.”
While Sasso had hoped to launch Pinkly Perfect in the summer of 2015, she postponed its debut in order to get more consumer feedback. To start to get the name out there as she worked on the line behind the scenes, Sasso developed an Instagram account and blog in order to see what her customer base responded to best. These posts included images and sayings that were representative of the beach, and there were also teenage contributors to the blog. Sasso let this brainstorming portion go for six months before the production aspect went into full swing. With that part came one of Sasso’s favorite aspects of the whole design process: seeing the samples.
“There’s so much that happens that people don’t know about when you’re getting an idea for a garment,” she says. “Everything is designed on the computer, so you don’t really get to see it until the sample comes in. So when you pack it up and see it, it’s such a tangible thing. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while, but it just hits you like, ‘Wow this actually happened.’ You don’t realize that even though you put in all this work and it’s done, you get hit with a feeling like, ‘Oh yeah, it paid off .’ It’s really exciting.”
After so much time spent collaborating with her potential customers, Sasso has a very clear image of the audience she hopes to reach.
“My ideal audience is teen girls who are just interested in having fun with their friends,” she says. “They’re carefree and fun, and they go down to a beach community in the summer. It doesn’t have to be the Jersey Shore, even though that’s who I found has been responding the most; I think that’s just because I have that relatable element to it. They’re just girls who like to have fun and want to go out to get ice cream cones, love their time at the beach and who ride their beach cruisers around. They hang out with their friends and just daydream about summer all year long.”
The name of the brand is meant to bring customers to their happy place. Sasso is a fan of the color pink, as well as the more girly aspects of it. While there is not pink in every item, there are many touches of pink throughout the line. Pinkly Perfect also has a very upbeat sound to it, she notes. She also added that pink is a happy color, and summer makes people happy, making the name and her brand a perfect fi t.
“I definitely think my love for the shore and Avalon is the driving force for all of this, and just talking to girls about it, I see such an enthusiasm for the message I’m trying to convey,” Sasso says. “I want the whole brand, even just through Instagram, I want it to capture the magic of summer. I want people to see Pinkly Perfect or an item that they wear or even a picture on Instagram or blog post, and have it take them back to summer vacation, whether it’s July or if it’s December and you’re wishing for summer. I want to take people to their happy place.”
Currently, her entire line is available in Stone Harbor at Mimi’s & Suncatcher and at the company website, pinklyperfect.com. Some Pinkly Perfect merchandise is carried in Avalon at Serendipity and Sundae Best.
Sasso plans to have spread the word about her line with a booth at summer festivals and also with sales trips to Newport, R.I., and Laguna Beach, Calif., as she targets the East Coast and Southern California.
“It’s easy for me to start with the Jersey Shore since that’s where I know, but I want it to grow and be everywhere,” she says.
No matter where her products reach, Sasso is dedicated to making an endless summer feeling for her customers.
“I love Avalon so much; I tell people that there’s no one who loves anything as much as I love Avalon, and I think that so many people feel that way about it,” she says. “I feel so passionate about Avalon and fashion, and this was a way to bring my two greatest passions in life together. I think there’s a void in fashion that I could fill, where I can do what I love and cater to these teenage girls.
“I want to capture the magic and innocence of summer. The whole idea of the magical summer is in the clothes; we’re looking at the fun girly-girl inside of you who just wants to get an ice cream cone with her best friend.”