Fly Female Entrepreneur
In Her Shoes: Let me start off my saying that I’m loving your line and its gorgeous accessories and handbags! How were you first introduced to the world of fashion and design?
Melanie: I was first introduced to the world of fashion by my grandmother. Ever since I can remember she has always had a closet full of clothes, shoes, hats, and accessories. I used to always try her things on and pretend they were all mine. I began to notice the love of accessories and embellishment in everything among women. I have always loved accessories, whether it be bags, rings, bracelets, or necklaces. I’ve always enjoyed being creative by putting together pieces and coming up with different styles that I buy in stores, thrift shops, or my borrow from my grandmothers vintage collection. I have dozens of handbags that always seemed to have some minor detail on them that I wanted to change, so that eventually turned into me wanting to come up with my own designs. I would get so excited when I came up with a new piece that it evolved into me creating more and more and then eventually grew into me starting my own business.
In Her Shoes: Constantly creating new designs for your collection can be challenging at times. Where do you pull inspiration from when your creative juices are running low?
Melanie: I’m from New York so no matter where you go in NYC there is inspiration everywhere! I also like to create pieces that reflect myself and some of my friends.
In Her Shoes: While building your brand, how were you able to set yourself apart from the competition?
Melanie: MELANIE MARiE is a line that is based off my unique style. I always notice when there is a new trend, there are so many designers that have similar pieces. I don’t want anyone to look at a MELANIE MARiE bag and think to themselves that it looks like another designer’s handbag. That is why I create pieces based off my experience and environment. If you notice, I have a few pieces that are named after women. I name pieces after friends because I feel their personality is reflected in the piece somehow.
In Her Shoes: What is a day like in Melanie Marie’s shoes?
Melanie: A day in my shoes is very hectic. There is a lot of running around, phone conferences and planning. I get a lot done each day so every minute counts for me.
In Her Shoes: What was one the most challenging obstacles that you had to overcome while building up your business?
Melanie Marie: I would say one of the most challenging obstacles was trying to get recognition. When I first began I did not have a PR team so it was a little hard getting the word out about MELANIE MARiE.
Angela Simmons in Melanie Marie earrings
In Her Shoes: Who are some of your celebrity clients?
Melanie Marie: Some of my celebrity clients include Angela Simmons, Adrienne Bailon, Dondria, Karina Pasian, B. Scott, Jeanette Jenkins, Tocarra, Beverly Bond and Cece Segarra.
In Her Shoes: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Melanie Marie: Someone who was already in this industry told me to never give up and to always go after what I want. It sounds so cliché but it is great advice. Any new idea I think of, I make sure I accomplish it. I try to always make sure I am on top of everything and am doing the best I can because I know I will be successful.
In Her Shoes: What upcoming projects can we expect to see from Melanie Marie in the near future?
Melanie Marie: In the near few future, you may see Melanie Marie in a few more magazines, a few collaborations and even some new events. Make sure to register on www.melaniemarie.com and to become a fan of the FB page and follow MM on twitter for updates.
*Interview by Ellisa Oyewo