updated 04/21/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 04/21/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
Ginnie Johansen, 20, could not find a belt to wear two years ago, so with some hemp, ribbon and a buckle she stitched up her own on her mother's sewing machine. She then asked her father, Gerry, a Dallas management consultant, to help her market her creation. "I wasn't impressed," he admits. Undaunted, the Southern Methodist University undergrad sold a few to boutiques around Dallas, then teamed up with her younger sister Jane for an overnight selling trip to shops in Waco, Austin and San Antonio. They came back with $1,500 in orders. Finally convinced she was "really going after the brass ring," her father put Ginnie in touch with a local belt manufacturer and helped her set up headquarters in the family guest house. Today Ginnie Johansen Designs (she is founder and vice-president; Dad is president) employs 14 people, has 1,300 outlets across the country including Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer and figures to gross $1 million this year. Ginnie has added pocket squares, headbands and side combs to her trendily preppie line of belts, which retail for $10 to $12. She shares an apartment with two Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters and can manage to attend classes only two nights a week. Still, Ginnie has no intention of quitting. "College," she explains, "keeps me in touch with where I should be."