Ondraé Lawson has always been interested in fashion. It was not until she went to a bible study she did not know was tailored toward entrepreneurs that she thought to turn what she was passionate about into a business.
“I was always one of those girls that never wanted to get her clothes dirty and paid attention to every single detail of my outfit,” Lawson said. “The older I got the more freedom my mom allowed me to express myself through my clothes. I would draw and customize my things and dress differently.”
Lawson is the creator of Saint Ondres luxury clothing brand that specializes in men’s and women’s street wear and women’s swimwear. Saint Ondres has been featured in Select Styles Magazine, LUX Media Magazine, and multiple fashion shows including VIM since its inception, garnering a buzz amongst students at Michigan State University.
“I like Saint Ondres because [Ondraé] holds herself to a higher standard as the designer,” MSU senior Jaylin Jones said. “It’s not just a clothing line with a name on a plain t-shirt. She creates fashion. Her jackets and hoodies look authentic and swaggy, and the swimwear is dope too.”
Lawson is a senior advertising major at Michigan State and says that she did not start the business for herself.
“I turned my passion into a business with hopes of leaving my mark on the world,” Lawson said. “People always complain about how major brands appropriate culture and how the faces of those brands don’t advocate for what’s right. I want my brand to do the opposite. My goal is to create a billion dollar brand that competes with the other luxury brands that we know. I basically just want to use this to create a platform so I can do a lot of good in the world.”
No matter how large Saint Ondres gets, Lawson will not forget where there company first started.
“The thing I like most is seeing the growth,” Lawson said. “I never delete anything so I have everything; from my first sketch of a t-shirt to my first logo. Keeping track of the growth is definitely my favorite thing.”
Lawson and Saint Ondres’ growth represent persevering through the bumps in the road that many entrepreneurs face in their journey to success.
“I know setbacks come with the journey,” Lawson said. “In my mind there is no other outcome but success. The setbacks are annoying at the moment, but never discouraging. Plus I’m surrounded by motivation. Outside of my family, I see it everyday on social media or the news. I really just want to help people. That’s what keeps me going.”
Lawson’s work is helping people in ways she may not recognize.
“Saint Ondres is a brand that is nothing short of inspiring,” Bianca Akani said. Akani is a senior majoring in advertising with a minor in entrepreneurship. She also serves as the president of Trendustry, an organization at Michigan State that specializes in fashion and fashion identity in the student community. “Given that women, especially black women, are surprisingly underrepresented as fashion designers, it’s amazing to see Ondraé utilizing her talents to create a brand of her own.”
Lawson is already making an impact and wants young entrepreneurs like her to not be afraid to ask for help.
“You don’t have to be afraid to tell someone your idea,” Lawson said. “There is no such thing as the perfect time. You just have to do it and don’t stop.”
If you want to know more about Saint Ondres, the link to the company’s website is www.saintondres.com.