Even though Heidi Klum and Michael Kors told Christina Scarbo her fashions were "out" on the hit TV show "Project Runway," it might have given her the "in" she needed in the world of fashion.

Scarbo, who last year was selected as one of 15 designers from across the country to compete on the television program, survived eight weeks before being eliminated. "Project Runway" not only gave her some important exposure, but it served as a valuable learning experience.

"I made a joke at E! that 'Project Runway' was my free master's program because it was totally like going back to school," Scarbo said. "All of a sudden, you're instantly bonded with 14 other people, and you learn so much from everyone."

In fact, Scarbo is not long out of school. After graduating with honors from the Polimoda Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2004, she returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. She was quickly embraced by the local fashion scene. Clothes from her inaugural line, Kit Pistol, were picked up by Jack Henry Couture.

Shortly thereafter, the Red Bull drink company sponsored Kit Pistol in its annual Red Bull Ascension show, and Scarbo's funky yet precise fashions got her picked by the GenArt Organization in 2006 as one of three designers from the West Coast to showcase in GenArt's annual show.

In addition to her custom clothing line, Scarbo is a personal stylist for "Dancing With the Stars" host Samantha Harris.

"My favorite part about my line is the custom aspect building things for individual men and women on a specific basis," Scarbo said.

She's gotten her name established, but now she needs to work on other aspects of building her business.

"I'm working on figuring out how to keep up efficiency, without having to physically be present in order to sell my pieces how to make my brand bigger than me. It's very difficult," said Scarbo.

Gabriela Gonzalez

Christina Scarbo , 26, President and Designer, Kit Pistol, Los Angeles

Business: Clothing design

Employees: 3

Quote: "I do everything for my line myself. To me, that ensures quality."

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.