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Mandy Fry: Inspiring Next Generation of Creatives

Mandy Fry had only a vision and a 1933 Honda Accord when she left Kentucky to attend design school in California.

The only thing she knew about fashion came from Seventeen Magazine, where she discovered an ad for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

So, Fry packed her bags and drove across the country to pursue her dream school.

She had to work three part-time jobs and took out loans, but her hard work eventually landed her a start at local apparel company Roxy as assistant designer.

Throughout her now 20-plus years of experience, Fry helped fellow OC firms Billabong and Volcom become leading brands in women’s fashion.

In 2019, she joined another area apparel company, Z Supply LLC, as president.

At the time she joined the company, it was largely a one-product apparel business.

“When I first got hired, we only had knit sweaters,” Fry, the company’s president, told the Business Journal last year. “It was easy to introduce new categories.”

She has steadily built the Costa Mesa brand’s collection from casual basics to multidimensional categories, and has overseen 45% growth of the company to date.

The company’s offerings now include loungewear, eyewear and activewear.

Fry was one of the honorees at the Business Journal’s 29th annual Women in Business Awards held on Oct. 5.

“Being a female leader is breaking barriers and shattering the glass ceilings, not for our ourselves, but for the generations to follow,” Fry said during her acceptance speech.

Exponential Growth

Fry’s leadership has “driven exponential growth and innovation” at Z Supply, said Candice Nakagawa, senior vice president and market leader of U.S. Bank, when presenting the award to Fry.

Under Fry, Z Supply launched shopB2Z, an online wholesale platform for retailers.

It streamlines the shopping experience with a virtual showroom and user-friendly technology.

In May, Z Supply debuted a resort-style collection called “The Cabo Dream Collab.”

Z Supply partnered with retailers Aloha Collection and Slowtide on the collection, featuring Z Supply’s signature palm tree prints on Aloha Collection tote bags and Slowtide’s beach towels.

The apparel company also expanded its offerings in 2022 with its first-ever eyewear and activewear lines to complement its existing collections.

Giving Back

Fry envisions Z Supply to be more than just a brand.

Inspired by her own financial struggles in college, Fry helped establish the Z Supply Foundation in 2021 with a focus on funding creative arts education.

“We hope to inspire the younger generation and show them that it’s possible to become the next designer, creative director or top marketing person in their industry,” Fry said.

Z Supply Foundation has raised $250,000 in its first fundraising campaign and “is just getting started,” according to Fry.

In just two years, the foundation created 30 scholarships for students pursuing a degree in creative fields at schools like Otis College of Art and Design, California State University, Long Beach and California College of Arts.

The foundation also supported Maui fire relief efforts back in August with donations of $15,000 and 500 units of Z Supply products to Maui-based charities.

Philanthropy has always played a large role in Fry’s life.

In her free time, Fry and her family have packed meals and helped build homes in Mexico for families in need.

“Together we have the power to inspire and make a positive impact on our families, our communities and our businesses,” Fry said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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