Dao Chloe Dao — a few years after ALP

An Action Learning Project (ALP) is a thirteen-week team consultation that enables companies to develop or improve a business process. It provides an exercise for a team of extremely bright Rice MBA students to integrate the concepts they have acquired in their courses to issues facing your business.

Applications for 2014 ALP are due by November 12, 2013. Applications will be processed as they are received, and timely applications that meet the program’s objectives will receive priority. Students will begin work in mid-January and complete written reports and oral presentations by May 2014.

To apply for an ALP at your company: http://business.rice.edu/alp2013

Don’t Call it a Comeback

By Shatha Hussein

We caught up with Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway Season 2 and owner of Rice Village boutique Dao Chloe Dao

Chloe Dao is on the move. It’s been eight years since the designer brought the winning title from season two of Project Runway home to Houston, and with a fresh spring/summer line and new projects on the horizon, she’s showing no signs of stopping.

Dao says her current collection is “a mix of preppy with touches of tribal. The collection is light with lots of movement in each piece.”

The owner of Rice Village boutique Dao Chloe Dao recently signed on to become a judge and co-executive producer on Project Runway Vietnam, a spinoff of Lifetime Network’s competition reality show for aspiring fashion designers.

Her Kirby Drive storefront is a top destination for Houston fashion lovers and she’s also a face of The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Houston Is” campaign featuring the hippest Houstonites.

It’s hard to believe that in 2010, Dao’s business hit a slump. The momentum from the Project Runway win and successful sales of her designs on QVC had begun to dwindle, so she turned to the Jones School’s Action Learning Program (ALP) to get an outsider’s perspective. 

During an ALP project, four to six first-year MBA students collaborate to help revive a struggling business with guidance from faculty advisors. The students tackle issues ranging from brand management to financial modeling and then present their findings and recommendations to senior management, all free of charge.

The ALP team, including Maria Alejandra Peleaz*, Lacey Fluor Gossen, Mallory Engler, Lamecia Butler, John Levine and Jimmy Moffett (all class of 2012), suggested fresh ways to bring in revenue and cut costs, which Dao continues to implement in her business model. “We are always working to reach the goals they set for us,” she says.

The store’s name was changed from Lot 8 to Dao Chloe Dao to capitalize on Dao’s national name recognition. Last year, the store’s interior was remodeled to reflect the new brand, as was the website. “We updated our online shop and are working to make more product available there,” Dao says.

As for the future, Dao hopes to see her line in stores throughout Texas and internationally in the next ten years.

This article is from the Spring 2013 issue of Jones Journal

*Maria Alejandra Peleaz ’12 was inadvertently left off the ALP team list of the Chloe Dao project in the spring 2013 issue. The editorial staff regrets this error.