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Founder Feature: Stephanie Su

What’s the right accessory for pole dancing? 

That was the burning question that led Stephanie Su to design a gorgeous and uber-functional gym bag as the initial product in her company, Persu Collection.

“Several years ago, I became obsessed with taking a wide variety of fitness classes, including pole dancing and boxing,” Stephanie explained. 

“I was constantly hauling my duffel bag to work with me so I could go straight to whichever classes I had that night. In order to keep my clothing, shoes, and fitness accessories organized, I used plastic bags to separate them in my big, open duffel that was basically falling apart. So I started looking for a more functional and high quality gym bag that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to carry around with me constantly.”

Scouring the Internet and SoCal boutiques yielded…nothing.

“The bags I found were either sleek and stylish but lacking functionality, or highly functional but looking like the cargo pants of gym bags. I came to the realization that I might be able to design my own dream bag,” recalled Stephanie.

A year of designing, creating prototypes, and testing multiple samples led to the production of two bags, the Jessica and the Tom, named after Stephanie’s parents. The company’s name originated from a conversation with her best friend.

“She said, ‘Why don’t you just call it Persu? You’re pursuing your dream, your last name is Su, and the bags are made per you.’ She couldn’t have picked a better name because since then, I’ve continued to ‘persu’ my passions with a goal to help others ‘persu’ theirs as well,” Stephanie said.

Without funds to complete her first minimum order, Stephanie launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. She met 303% of her $30k goal in 43 days.

Stephanie took that money and produced the first Persu Collection. She is a firm believer in delivering quality, durability, and functionality to her supporters.

“For me, the rewarding part of creating Persu Collection bags is the opportunity to design bags that are not only stylish and sleek, but have hidden functionality for particular lifestyles. If I were only creating fashionable bags for looks, without the functionality, it wouldn't be as fun. I enjoy the challenge of problem-solving how and which functions to put in a bag based on a person's needs,” Stephanie said.

A second Kickstarter campaign for two new bags, the Ama and the Quila, launched in October 2019 with an end date of November 22, 2019. This campaign proved the first time wasn’t beginner’s luck.

“My second Kickstarter campaign successfully funded in seven and a half hours!” Stephanie reported. (At the time of this writing, funding is at over 200% of goal, and there are 12 days still to go.) 

In addition to products, Stephanie offers a series of empowering experiences for women through her company. 

“I’ve tried a multitude of different workshops, training, and classes over the last decade to address issues of self-confidence, empowerment, and the need to constantly grow,” Stephanie said. “I’ve felt compelled to share the benefits of the things that have worked for me with others.”

To do that, she’s cultivated a series of local workshops and experiences, including offers of improv, dance, self-defense, and “lady boss twerkouts,” available via the Persu Collection website.

Joining The F Project makes perfect sense to Stephanie, given her love of sharing vision and value for body and mind.

“I joined The F Project because as a solo female founder, I love connecting with other entrepreneurs who are experiencing a similar journey as me,” Stephanie said. “Entrepreneurship is tough. Having a network of female founders you can turn to and collaborate with is crucial. Part of the fun of being a member of The F Project is being able to cheer on other female founders!”

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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