Mark Miller, Goldi Miller and Myra Mouloudji
Fashion Angels Enterprises
306 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee
www.fashionangels.com and www.stylelabgirl.com
Industry: Tween girl lifestyle products
How did you conceive the idea for Fashion Angels? What do your product offerings look like today?
Goldi Miller: “Fashion Angels originally began as a collection of beading kits containing beads, wires, clasps and other materials needed to make custom jewelry, which we assembled ourselves in the backroom of our former business, Goldi’s. The success that those first kits demonstrated to us that we were on to something, and we expanded the idea into the Bead Shop. We found that our products were very popular with young girls who enjoyed making one-of-a-kind pieces for themselves and their friends, so we began to explore more trend-based play patterns that girls enjoyed, and Fashion Angels was born. Now some 17 years later, Fashion Angels is one of the most beloved arts and crafts brands among tweens, which is enabling us to expand into a multifaceted tween girl lifestyle brand.”
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
Mark Miller: “I think that the smartest thing we’ve done in the past 12 months is to expand our business into a true lifestyle company serving the needs of tween girls in multiple areas of their lives, beyond their creative play time. The addition of our Style.Lab by Fashion Angels line of tween fashion accessories has enabled us to expand our service to our core customer, as well as diversifying our retailer base. We’ve also made some really important additions to our management team, who each bring a wealth of experience to the company and have really driven our expansion.”
What’s new at Fashion Angels?
Goldi Miller: “In our Creative Play division, we have added some really exciting trend-driven products in the Fashion Angels line, such as our It’s My Biz line of tween entrepreneurship kits, as well as the Chox’d line of chalkboard art inspired craft kits that will launch this fall. We will also be introducing a line of craft kits under license with American Girl this fall that will enable girls to make matching crafts for both her and her doll. At the same time, the Style.Lab by Fashion Angels accessories line continues to grow and is being widely embraced by retailers both here in the U.S. and abroad. We plan to bring four distinct seasonal collections to market each year for Style.Lab, which is a lot of hard work but is also really exciting.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
Mark Miller: “We made a number of important capital investments in 2014 for things like state-of-the-art 3D printers, vacuum molding machines, large format printers and a cutting table that have allowed us to really accelerate our product development processes. So this year we are focused on putting additional human resources in place across the organization that will enable us to capitalize on our investments from 2014.”
What has fueled Fashion Angels’ growth?
Myra Mouloudji: “Fashion Angels’ growth has been fueled by our unique understanding of the desires of tween girls, along with our ability to identify the trends that excite them and to quickly bring products to market that they love. We know that tweens want to project the persona of an older girl, a teenager, and our products enable her to do that in a way that parents are totally comfortable with. Now that we have implemented the second step in our tween lifestyle strategy with the addition of our Style.Lab by Fashion Angels accessories line we are seeing dynamic growth across both divisions.”
Why are you headquartered in Milwaukee? What advantages does the city offer?
Myra Mouloudji: “Goldi and I grew up here in Milwaukee and we, along with Mark, all attended UW-Madison. Goldi and Mark started the first Goldi’s store on State Street in Madison while they were still students, so Wisconsin and Milwaukee are our home. Given the design-centric industries were operate in, our current location in the Third Ward is really advantageous due to the accessibility to design talent from MIAD and other schools in the area, as well as the overall energy and vibe that comes from being in the city’s fashion district.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
Mark Miller: “Our main challenge in the next year is going to be to keep up with our growth. We are doing a lot of work on internal systems and processes to ensure that we can effectively and efficiently design, produce and deliver amazing on-trend products against an ever-steepening growth curve, and to do so while maintaining our unique company culture.”
What is the most significant difference you feel you have made in tween girls’ lives? Why do you focus on that demographic?
Myra Mouloudji: “What we strive to do with all of our products is to enable girls to arrive at what we call ‘The Pride Moment,’ which is that moment that she runs up to her mom, dad, grandparent or friend and says, ‘Look at what I’ve made!’ In that moment, she is filled with self-confidence and pride, and we hope that by her feeling that way that it will lead her to wonder what else she is capable of and inspire her to go find out.”
Do you have a business mantra?
Goldi Miller: “Yes, our mantra is ‘Find Your Wings,’ and that idea is a part of everything we do at Fashion Angels. The tween years are a critical period in a girl’s personal development, so we strive to make products that will help her build self-confidence now that can serve as an emotional vitamin against the slings and arrows that life throws at her as she matures.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
Mark Miller: “Don’t be afraid to fail.”