Glam-aholics luxury bags are redefining the accessories industry

Mia Ray successfully redefines what it means to build a luxury handbag brand.

Her multimillion-dollar Glam-aholic Lifestyle brand launched another hit with her mesh bag collection. The Glam Aholic lifestyle bags, which typically range in price from $40 to $250, are on track to generate $25 million in revenue this year, a major feat for the Detroit entrepreneur who is making waves in the lifestyle space of billion dollar luxury.

(Image: Monogram Mesh Tote Black)

BLACK CORPORATE spoke with Mia Ray about her rise in the luxury handbag and luggage market, the challenges along the way and the keys to building a successful brand.

When did you realize you wanted to get into luxury handbags and luggage?

I had the vision to create my lifestyle brand about 15 years ago. In 2009, after creating my fashion blog, the opportunity arose for me to develop my first tote bag. From there, I decided to pursue my wildest dreams by creating things I wanted for my brand and my customers.

How did you get started in the handbag/luggage industry?

In 2010, I was a full-time fashion blogger looking for another way to expand my brand and generate more income. I met someone in manufacturing who planted a seed in me that helped bring my paper ideas to fruition. From there, the growth of the product line developed somewhat like a snowball effect. It keeps getting bigger every year, and now I have a full line of affordable luxuries ranging from scarves, blankets, luggage, and more!

What are the biggest challenges you have faced while growing your brand?

I had no experience as an entrepreneur. I had no idea…I had no business experience or degree. I learned a lot of what I know now through trial and error. Being the first to do this, I didn’t have many people to ask for help, so I had to figure out most things on my own. My business plan was to use God and Google to get to where I am today.

The fashion industry is constantly changing. How do you stay one step ahead?

Being a fashion lover, predicting trends and paying close attention to style has always been something I’ve done. Staying ahead means knowing what the customer wants and filling the void of fashion necessities.

Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me. My top three would be Oprah, Beyonceand Kimora Lee Simmons. I also have a long list of everyday women whose drive, accomplishments, and restlessness inspire me.

What are the keys to building a successful business and strong brand identity?

Be authentic, consistent, and know who your target audience is. You need to know who you are talking to, connect your product to the consumer.

What advice would you give to women of color who want to build a brand in a space without a lot of people of color?

Above all, black women have their place everywhere. It is also knowing and believing. You have the right to create and do whatever you dream of. Step back from what was and think beyond what people say we should and shouldn’t do. If you build it, develop a strategic plan, and stay consistent, customers will come. Believe it!

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