Toolkit for Success

Katherine (Gibbs) Parr’s ’01 VSB career has taken her many places but has been centered around one principle: making choices that effect positive change. From teaching in inner city public schools to social entrepreneurship, she has done it all anchored by her VSB education. Parr came to VSB to provide a foundation which could inform any future career she decided to pursue. 

After working in many roles in the fashion industry, she transferred this experience and exposure to create her jewelry company: Katherine Parr Jewelry. Between this transition, she worked as a school teacher, taking time to give back to her community through education. 

The passion for service instilled by her family and deepened by Villanova inspired her to focus her company around creating social good. As an entrepreneur, Parr has focused on ethical and sustainable business, something that a lot of fashion brands devalue. Her company has created jobs for women artisans in countries like South Africa, Jordan, and Afghanistan. By economically empowering workers with a living wage and benefits, Parr has made a positive impact in communities around the globe. She has even given a TEDx Talk on this subject titled “The road to economic empowerment is conscious consumerism.” Parr highlights the importance of leveraging purchasing power for good by buying from quality brands that reflect sustainable and ethical values. 

Her company was featured in the March edition of Town & Country Magazine among 17 “Brands Supporting Women Artisans.” The feature recognized “brands, designers, and stores that not only put women in the position of power, but also make strides to support the craftsmanship and skilled handiwork of women throughout the supply chain, with ethical business practices.” The article highlighted the boutique’s Freshwater Baroque Pearl Charm Pendant. This is not the only time her brand has earned recognition. The jewelry line has garnered royal interest with a piece owned by HRH Queen Rania of Jordan and another that has been exhibited at Clarence House, royal home of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Parr remains involved in the VSB community as a mentor. She has worked with the Business of Fashion Society and personally offered internships for students interested in the fashion industry. Like many alumni, she loves engaging with fellow Villanovans and staying connected in the network.

Katherine Parr ’01 VSB

Katherine Parr ’01 VSB

“VSB gave me a toolkit for business success.”