We had the good fortune of connecting with Maia Dilek Yilmaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maia Dilek, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up, I’d always been interested in entrepreneurship. In high school, instead of getting a traditional job, I started my own tutoring business. I wanted to be my own boss, have a flexible schedule, and earn a higher income. The experience taught me a lot about marketing and service-based entrepreneurship. Now as a student at ASU, I wanted to continue my love for entrepreneurship, but this time as a product-based business. As I’ve always had a love for fashion, an online boutique seemed like the perfect fit for me. In my experience, clothes directly affect the way I carry myself. In other words, when I like what I’m wearing, I feel much more confident and capable. That for me is an amazing and important feeling! I wanted my boutique to embody these values of confidence and empowerment for other women, too.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business, Dilek Apparel, is a student-owned and female-owned online boutique based out of ASU. After working hard on a business plan and model between semesters this past academic year, I launched the boutique at the beginning of February 2021. Now, a few months later, I release new styles every Friday, ship internationally, and have a local pick-up option at ASU during the academic year.
Dilek Apparel aims to inspire confidence and empowerment. To do so, we offer a range of women’s clothing, such as crop tops, skirts, dresses, pants, bikinis, and more! Each piece in the boutique is unique, bold, and sexy. These styles are chosen by me to fit a persona of an independent, boss woman who wears whatever she wants! I’ve always used fashion as a way to express myself, and I want to encourage other women around me to feel empowered to do the same. The clothes I choose to wear affect the way I carry myself, so dressing in a way that makes YOU feel confident is such a beautiful and important thing. Plus, shopping for new and unique styles is such an exciting experience for many women! My goal is to provide other young women across the world with unique and sexy clothing pieces to make them feel like their most authentic and confident self.
The most rewarding part of running Dilek Apparel are the genuine and thoughtful reviews I receive on my clothing. I know the joy that comes from finding comfortable, perfect-fitting, affordable and unique clothing pieces. It makes me happy to know that others are finding those things in my boutique. In the fall, I plan on organizing another pop-up shop where locals can shop my boutique clothing in person. These are always such fun events, as I get to meet and interact with a lot of the boutique’s Instagram followers and customers. I’d love to see you there – you can follow our Instagram @dilek.apparel to stay updated. It’s a great opportunity to see the colors, material, and sizes in person and see what Dilek Apparel is all about!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
1. Crumbl Cookies: cookies with changing flavors every week! 2. Hole in the Rock: cute hiking spot that gives an overview of Tempe & downtown Phoenix, perfect to watch the sunset!
3. Candle Chemistry: choose from more than a hundred scents to create your own candle!
4. Wonderspaces: exhibit showcasing amazing artwork in Scottsdale Fashion Square!
5. First Fridays: festival in downtown Phoenix showcasing local artists and vendors on the first Friday of every month!
6. Mill Avenue: lively area of Tempe with lots of local shops and lots of amazing food options!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Owning a business brings multiple challenges, such as accepting and learning from failures, balancing work and life, and constantly creating – new content, new ideas, and new ways to market my products. I’d like to shoutout my mom for instilling this entrepreneurial mindset in me from a young age and encouraging me to explore my creativity.
My mom is an incredibly strong woman: a first generation immigrant, a first generation college student, and had the resiliency to live and raise her kids in the absence of her husband and family. The highlighted values of female confidence and empowerment within my business come from growing up with my mother as a strong female figure in my life.
All throughout my life, I have admired her strong work ethic and commitment to lifelong learning. It pushed me to emulate the same. On a daily basis, the support and love I receive from my mom help me to develop resiliency and to disregard the fear of failure. I would not be able to balance school, my business, and my social life without the values she taught and instilled in me!
Other: TikTok: @dilekapparel