Oprah Store is Open for Business - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

If you like Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” you can now buy them in a store that adds to the media mogul’s sizeable empire. Winfrey is CEO of Harpo Inc., (No. 17 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $325 million in sales.)

The Oprah Store opened near Harpo Studios on Chicago’s near West Side. The first and only store of its kind to don the name of the potently famous talk show guru, the Oprah Store will sell “specialty merchandise that represents the style and taste [that] Oprah celebrates and shares on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in the pages of O, The Oprah Magazine and O At Home Magazine,” according to Winfrey’s camp.

The store will sell everything from $13 cosmetic bags decorated with pastel O’s to “a pair of Gianfranco Ferré brown crocodile ankle boots worth $300, taken directly from Oprah’s closet. The section of the store labeled “Oprah’s Closet” will consist of articles once worn or treasured by Winfrey. Mothers will also find “O Baby” a signature line of baby products, which were sold at Oprah.Boutique.com as a result of an Oprah show, entitled “The World’s Biggest Baby Shower.”

Steven Keith Platt, director of the Platt Retail Institute, suggests that this may only be the beginning for Winfrey’s plunge into retail. “If the clothing lines take off, look for more stores and a licensing deal with the likes of Target, J.C. Penney, etc.,” says Platt. “Oprah Winfrey is an American icon. If she puts her name on an apparel line, it will be huge- way beyond her own stores. If Martha Stewart can make it big at Kmart, [there] is no denying that our girl Oprah can.”

In keeping with her tradition of altruism, the profits from Oprah’s Closet, Angel Network Apparel, and O Baby merchandise will benefit Oprah’s Angel Network, a public charity that provides grants to not-for-profit organizations around the globe. Winfrey will also sell Leadership Academy Apparel and select South African arts and crafts, which will benefit The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation for Girls, a private learning and residential environment for grades 7-12 located in Henley-on-Klip, Guateng Province, South Africa.

This endeavor is not the only example of how Winfrey has been branching out to diversify her brand and harness the profitability of her massive popularity. Last fall, she endorsed Barack Obama as a presidential candidate and negotiated a cashless, 50% ownership stake in Discovery Communications to create OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, debuting in 70 million U.S. homes beginning in 2009.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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