Logan Brown, a Kansas entrepreneur and Harvard Law School student, loves her home state so much that when she decided to pay it forward, she partnered with Wichita State University to help propel women in business.
Brown is the owner of Spencer Jane, a clothing company founded out of a frustration from the lack of comfortable, professional clothing available to women. Spencer Jane is named after two of her grandparents that had a family farm in Kansas. Brown began her company after she was unable to find a job interview suit that fit her needs. The Spencer Jane brand has become a go-to for professional women, and she was recently featured in Fortune Magazine as part of the “Startup Year One” series.
“Finding professional clothing is really challenging and I think that was something I wasn’t really aware of until I actually started needing it,” she said. “I definitely think it’s a common complaint.”
As fate would have it, Brown’s company launched on the heels of COVID-19, as multitudes of employees began to navigate working from home. This quickly led to many telecommuters morphing their traditional workwear into more comfortable, casual attire. This transition allowed Spencer Jane to avoid the early pitfalls of most startups.
“I do think pandemic is going to change what the new norm is for professional wear, and I also think people have become accustomed to being comfortable in their own home and at work, so I think that there is going to be a big nexus between professional workwear that is also comfortable,” Brown said. “I don’t think that people are prepared to give up on that.”
Spencer Jane’s success the past year has also allowed Brown to help Wichita State.
“I’m from Kansas and I wanted to give back to the Kansas community. There are so many people here that have been able to support me not only now but throughout my entire life,” she said. “I am a huge fan of the Shockers and I’m impressed with the innovations the school continuously makes. I’m also impressed with their ability to connect students to ensure that they succeed.”
One area where Spencer Jane has seen early success is with attorneys. Featured in Above the Law, and by women’s bar associations across the country, including Kansas, Brown has made a strong connection with this audience. Her outreach efforts and Kansas connection ultimately resulted in her connecting with Rob Gerlach, WSU Tech Transfer and Commercialization executive director, and Tonya Witherspoon, WSU Industry Engagement and Applied Learning associate vice president. Courtney Marshall, WSU Alumni Association, also helped guide Brown in the right direction.
They started meeting Brown in April, and within about a week, it was decided that Wichita State would partner with her company. For each blazer sold through the partnership using #WSUTrailblazer as the promo code, Spencer Jane would donate $50 to the Women for Women’s Innovation fund at Wichita State. The fund was created in 2020 by Erin Cummings, a Barton School grad and entrepreneur, and her husband, Kyle Cummings, both WSU graduates.
Sierra Bonn, a WSU Engineering Technology Management graduate, and university innovation fellow who founded Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead! helped organize a visit for Brown to Wichita State’s campus. During the visit, Brown met with several students at Wichita State interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, including Angelique Banh who was a recent recipient of an award from the Women for Women’s Innovation fund.
“By the sheer networking power of campus, we were able to bring this event together really quickly,” Bonn said.
Bonn is excited about the partnership and what it could mean to help future Wichita businesswomen like her.
“One of my favorite things that I’ve heard Logan say is, ‘Yes, I’m a blazer company who wants to sell blazers, but fundamentally I want people to do cool things while wearing my blazers,’” said Bonn.
The partnership between Spencer Jane has already sold enough blazers to donate $500 to the Women for Women’s Innovation fund. Brown says she is looking forward to continuing to work with Wichita State to support future businesswomen.
“It’s everything I want Spencer Jane to be – supporting women on their journey to whatever they want to do and also make sure that people have good blazers in the process.”