Fowler Alumni Q&A: Bridget Cameron (’10, MBA)
Bridget is the founder and owner of Kahili Activewear
1. Q: Where is your hometown?
I was born in San Diego. However, I was raised in Kilauea, Hawaii on the island of Kauai.
2. Q: What prompted you to earn your MBA?
I'm a life-long learner! Earning a graduate degree had always been a goal of mine, and it was a natural transition to launch directly into the program after my undergraduate degree. I was also excited to be immersed in a more strategic learning environment.
3. Q: Why did you choose to come to SDSU?
I originally looked at SDSU because it offered business specializations in sports/athletics and marketing and SDSU provided the freedom to explore both these specialties. I was also impressed with the faculty. San Diego State attracted a respected group of professors, and it is something that made the program really stand-out. On a personal note, I was also ready to be back near the beach and closer to some family!
4. Q: What made you decide to start your own business?
My family has a very entrepreneurial spirit, and it is always something I pictured doing. However, I have my fellow MBA students at SDSU to thank for the courage to jump in myself. During my time at SDSU, I was surrounded by creative brains and many of the students were motivated by something more than profit. They wanted to tap into a deeper personal calling, give back, or lend to the community in a creative way that simultaneously developed strong business values.
5. Q: How did you choose to market sports bras?
When I asked myself what gave me the most joy in life, the answer was "moving around in the outdoors". I was also inspired by other swimwear business owners from my hometown in Kauai, and, as I dug deeper, I found a whole world of good that could be done in the activewear industry. Environmental materials, local production, slow fashion, honest marketing, healthful lifestyles, female empowerment - there were so many areas one brand could touch. I've been working to grow a conscious brand ever since.
6. Q: Are you designing your sports bras as well as marketing them?
I design the styles and have a production partner to help me translate drawings to software. I then source the production locally. Otherwise I do the marketing, creative asset development, sourcing, business strategy, and more.
7. Q: What did you learn from your MBA education that helped you with your business?
I learned how to think differently. SDSU gave me the space and the tactical tools to go after a business I felt truly aligned with. SDSU has a strong community of bright, bright people. I couldn't envision a better environment to have immersed myself in. The people made all the difference.
8. Q: Do you have a favorite professor or favorite moment from your time at SDSU?
Lori Ryan was my ethics and corporate governance professor and we worked long and hard on my graduate thesis together. She did more than elevate my writing, but also instilled a strong sense of business ethics. I believe her teachings and example greatly influenced my passion for ethical-based businesses.
9. Q: What’s next for Kahili Activewear?
We're currently working on expanding local production and aligning with nationwide cause-based, conscious marketplaces. There are so many brands, organizations, and groups emerging that both educate and encourage a better way of making decisions in the market - whether it is for environmental, social, human, or other reasons.
10. Q: Do you have any advice for the students at SDSU who are budding entrepreneurs?
Don't be afraid of ideas that sound silly. No matter what you come up with, trust that there are a world of directions it will take you. Take it inch by inch, surround yourself with positive people, and go as slow as you need. Just keep going. You'll be surprised what you create and who you inspire.