Tuesday, May 17, 2011

{Billion Dollar Empire}

No, I wasn't signed to a be a promising TV star at the age of six months with the potential of running a billion dollar empire by the age of 25...unfortunately. However, I give a big hip hip hooray to two young women who not only entertained my younger years but continue to amaze me with their style, grace & business tactics. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the most famous twins that I know of; they are also geniuses. Bravo to the parents who made sure that MK & A were very involved in everything they set their mind to, whether it be acting, attending college or fashion design. I read parts of their latest book, Influence, a long time ago and, after seeing it again recently, cannot wait to buy my own copy; it is a composition of the girls' personal reflections on what they have learned and the people (specifically in the fashion industry) who impact their continuing work.

Despite the fact that MK & A seem far removed from us (the general public) due to their celebrity status, I think they are two of the most relatable fashion designers us American women can appreciate. They are young, spirited, and attempt at finding the balance between enjoying life and working hard at it; hence, the birth of their fashion labels. An entire industry was born out of Ashley Olsen's mere desire to create "the perfect t-shirt" when she couldn't find one that fit the bill. But wait, isn't their line, The Row, extremely expensive compared to Elizabeth and James or Olsenboye? How relatable is that? Well, true...I, personally, will not be going on a Barney's New York shopping spree anytime soon (or ever), but let's look at the three distinct lines and break down the ideas beind the Olsen twins Dualstar conglomerate.

1. The Row is a high end, luxury brand embraced by seemingly older women, from business executives to the first lady, that started out with Ashley's search for the perfect white t-shirt. What began as a line comprised of t-shirts and leggings morphed into cashmere sweaters, fur jackets and leather pants that one would pay a pretty penny for. Unlike many designers whose target audience are those who wish to cling to their younger years, The Row's customers are largely made up of middle-aged women. Why? Well, the Olsen's appear to embrace the power and promise of maturity. Instead of encouraging women to revert to their younger years, The Row relishes the idea of indulging in their most productive ones. The line is all about evoking a professional yet luxurious persona. Make note: besides handbags and certain knits produced in Italy, the Olsen's firmly believe in manufacturing their line in New York & L.A. Not only is the line glamorizing hard-work, but it is putting revenue back into the American economy.

What is TOMS doing in a post about the Olsen's fashion sense? Oh, yes...TOMS shoes and The Row are collaborating on a line for Fall 2011 that will range in price from $98 to $150 and include plaid, herringbone and cashmere. If you've kept up with this blog, you know my love for TOMS and its cause! For every pair bought, a pair is given to a child in need. Maybe the clothing from The Row is out of our league, but I will be looking forward to seeing this collaboration come to life.

2. Elizabeth and James is a contemporary sportswear line named after MK & A's younger siblings. The line is actually based on a relationship between a boy and a girl, in which the clothing is supposed to carry out their story. It is a clash between femininity and masculinity, consisting of blazers, skirts, leather jackets and other casual wear. While the line is not as expensive as The Row, pricing can range from $150-$725; not exactly chump change. One might argue against the belief that this line is for a sophisticated individual who understands fashion and designer products but doesn't want to pay designer prices...but at the same time, don't we support the notion of paying for designer quality at a more afforable price?

3. Olsenboye is a clothing line created exclusively for JC Penney, inspired by stylish cities around the world. It is the most affordable of the three lines, featuring an array of clothing and accessories. Interestingly, social media is a big part of the marketing behind the line; there are a series of web films that revolve around different girls chosen to act as brand ambassadors. Each girls represents a specific style and look, and the films portray the different Olsenboye collections via storytelling. To take it a step further, each girl has her own respective blog, which not only allows the customer to visually gain ideas on how to wear the collection, but also gives insight into that girl's personality. Direct interaction between label and consumer? Cue in, Smarty Pants Dance.

Their badass, beautiful & brilliant. These two ladies have stayed away from being a Hollywood cliché; they keep their lives & work under wraps as much as possible, focusing solely on what their good at and banking on that very thing. Even when the tabloids exploited MK for a period of time, she seems to have proven that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Successful women who can shine in the spotlight yet still be humble? America, we need more of these role models!


  1. I have always loved the Olsen twins and their style...thanks for posting this! Very informative and interesting! I only wish I could afford the Row, I may look into Olsenboye, though.

  2. Juliet - Tell me about it, girl! Love the clothes, but my credit card wants to cut itself up at the pricetags :-p

  3. Slightly off topic, but I wish they were making turquoise Toms this summer. That would complete my summer shoe collection.
    Also, I had no idea about any of this. Thanks for the fill in. ;)

  4. Christa - I totally am with you on turquoise TOMS! That would be pretty sweet :) Also, you're more than welcome...I love writing about these things so I could go on & on & on...

  5. I saw the most precious pink Toms the other day. They were glittery and fabulous. Anyway, I'm glad you blogged about the girls. They are so classy, and I respect their privacy. I just wish we could see more respectable celebs like MK and A in the spotlight. =)

  6. Taylor - Sounds cute! I agree on wanting to see more respectable celebs (especially women) in the spotlight, but I also really wish the media cared more about how important it is for us to see successful, inwardly beautiful women versus those who are caught stealing, acting a hot mess, in & out of rehab, etc. They ARE out there!

  7. I haven't heard of Olsenboye~sounds like the brand in my price range! I remember watching Full House growing up, it's crazy the empire they're created! So successful!!

  8. Abby - I know, I remember how adorable they were on Full House...and in all those tweeny movies :-p I'm pretty sure my sister & I may or may not watch these movies...hahaha!

  9. ALL: Check out the Olsen's exclusive t-shirt collection that is about to be launched!