The veteran fashionista tells why she decided to make a ‘Big’ move and cater to the plus-sized market
Hylton expands her portfolio (Image: Madison Star)
Over the years, Misa Hylton has made a name for herself as a celebrity stylist, transforming some of today’s biggest stars into veritable fashion icons. With her latest business venture, though, the CEO of Chyna Doll Enterprises, a fashion styling and image consulting company, is switching her focus to the everyday woman. Her new fashion line, Madison Star, which is named after her daughter and set to launch Fall/Holiday 2011, will deliver red-carpet flair to full-figured women with a penchant for luxury and style. Hylton gives BlackEnterprise.com an exclusive first look.
BlackEnterprise.com: What led to the decision to go from styling to designing?
Misa Hylton: The decision to go from styling to designing was a natural progression for me. Actually, I’ve always designed custom pieces for most of my clients that I’ve styled. When I have a vision, I have to make it come to life. When I couldn’t find a readily available garment to complete the vision of my look, I would create one. Those opportunities sharpened my skill for designing a garment that looked good and fit well.
What makes your line stand out from the myriad of other plus-size brands?
I deliver the same sense of style that I give to my celebrity clients into each garment. Attention to detail and quality is very important to me. My partners in this venture, Sunrise Brands, are experts and we share the same vision for the Madison Star brand.
James Andrews made his biggest splash in celebrity circles when he helped actor and wellness guru Jane Fonda navigate social media, begin blogging, and set up a Twitter account when she was at the ripe young age of 71. Using his tutorials she took the blogosphere by storm eventually driving mass traffic to her blog JaneFonda.com
At the time Andrews was a managing partner/co-founder of Everywhere, a social media marketing and content development firm based in Atlanta, GA. In the 20 months since Everywhere started, the company posted $1.5 million in billings in a 20-month span by helping large brands drive eyeballs to their sites.
Late last year Andrews broke away from Everywhere and launched SocialPeople.tv, and in only a few short months he’s already breaking records.
“We helped the Grammy Awards achieve their best show ratings in ten years,” says Andrews. “Ninety percent of the Twitter conversations were about the Grammy’s for a 3 hour period.” James is also working with Jermaine Dupri and his social network, Global 14, an online destination for urban youth
SocialPeople was created to represent the digital assets of companies and celebrities and help them navigate and curate content for a consumer that is always multitasking. “The networks and TV shows are struggling with an attention war,” says James. “People are watching TV with a laptop on their lap.”
While these circumstances make it difficult to direct an audience’s attention and find ways to monetize social communities, Andrew says that it’s not impossible if you have the right strategy. SocialPeople works to grow a company's PR team into better influencers by training their clients about social media governance policies, best practices, and execution.
Many people don’t understand why social media is so popular and they are struggling to organize their social media strategies. “The ability to tweet is so small and one dimensional. Companies are driven by people who know how to manage communities,” says Andrews. “The tools are free, but clients pay for strategy.”
If your goal is to work for an agency or brand as a social media strategist, it is important that you learn how to engage communities. Outside of tweeting and posting on Facebook, here are three strategies you can use to build a career in social media:
- Demonstrate that you have the ability to curate content and identify influences. James runs some 30 plus twitter accounts for different brands. It is his goal to tap into the news, information and blogs that would interest that crowd.
- Learn how to use your personal crowd to drive the social conversation through word of mouth. “It’s like being a mayor of a town,” he says. James started to perfect this skill when he appeared on Don Lemon’s CNN show every weekend several months ago. His strategy was to draw attention to the show by mentioning it to friends on twitter and Facebook.
- Participate and host Twitter parties and shows. Every night people schedule time to gather on twitter and discuss topics of interest, says James. For example, you’ve probably joined twitter discussions during major television events like the Grammy's or the Oscars. People even tweet every week during and after their favorite television shows to discuss plot and character development with other fans.
An early preview of Hylton's line (Image: Madison Star)
Why did you decide to cater to full-figured women?
I like to make a difference. I like to impact the lives of others in a positive way. I saw a void in this market that I wanted to fill. I’m excited to be working with the curvy woman. I want to bring them a collection of fashion forward wardrobe builders and fabulous standalone pieces that their thinner counterparts would have to say, “Hey, where’d you get that?”
What is the price point of the line?
The line is affordable. The most expensive item is about $100. My denim retails for about $80.
Are you implementing any digital strategies in your marketing campaign once the boutique is launched?
I will be implementing several digital strategies. We’re in a digital world now and I’m prepared to take full advantage of that.