Laid back and winning!!! Reality Star and Mint Swimwear creator Draya Michele is hyped in her Second Forbes feature. This time around, the spotlight finds Draya trying to branch into “Brick and Mortar”. The business woman is taking her successful e-commerce business to the streets, unscathed by the fear of what it may hold for her. Keep reading and be inspired by Draya’s savviness. More after the cut.
Michele launched the upscale swimwear line, Mint Swim, in 2011 with just $12,000 that she saved up. With her savvy business skills, she quickly grew the company to a million-dollar brand. “I learned a lot through trial and error,” Michele said of her entrepreneurial journey. “I thought that because the items were smaller, it would be easier. I was wrong. Smaller items require much more attention to details and a steadier hand,” she explained. “I learned and then I made sure I resourced the right people to make those items for me,” added Michele.
Since launching Mint Swim, Michele has added two additional online fashion brands, Beige and Coco and Fine Ass Girls. “Every year I keep doing better,” Michele said. Sales from her brands continue to grow, and having the right team in place, plus a strong personal brand, have been key factors. “There’s nothing like being at peace, and knowing that your brand is in the right hands. Good people are hard to find,” she said. “I hired my brand manager straight from FIDM [Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising] school. It [brand management] was her passion. It was exactly what she went to school for, and I could not be happier working with her,” she said.
More than 51% of Americans are going online for their fashion needs. “I don’t find the e-commerce side of it hard,” Michele noted about challenges. Well, that’s a good thing, because that number has grown every year. Even big-box retail stores such as Macy’s are hard focused on expanding unique in-store experiences to get increased foot traffic including a self-scanning technology that allows consumers to scan and pay for their items from their smartphones. “I feel like social media creates experiences for people,” Michele said. “If you have a physical location to come, take pictures, and feel the items that translate well on social media. Girls love taking pictures in the stores and saying they were there,” she added.
Having the brick and mortar isn’t the only move Michele plans to make this year. She plans on switching up her marketing. “Instead of using myself as a model and the face of the campaign, I’m working on shooting with some celebrities and using other models instead,” she said. “I’m eager to try it out and see what this word ‘influencer’ really means,” said Michele.
As for now, the store will only hold items from her swimwear line, but don’t be surprised if that changes in the near future.