Celebrity designer Nicole Richie decided to enter the fashion world when she knew she could give it her all, and it’s clear she’s doing just that.
Richie, who designs House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate, described her customer as “a woman who wants to have fun with fashion and wears everything with ease and comfort.”
As for top trends, Richie declined to list of-the-moment styles, instead opting for the mantra, “It’s important to know your body and what looks good on you.” She did, however, laud Christian Louboutin and Brian Atwood as her favorite shoe designers, in addition to her own collection.
Richie’s extensive personal wardrobe actually played a role in sealing the deal with partner Rick Cytrynbaum, CEO and president of Modern Vintage.
“We started with a very serious meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel,” she recalled, “but I told Rick he had to come over to my house to see the real me.”
The next day, Richie transformed her living room into a mini showroom — complete with playlists and candles — to display the apparel, shoes, headscarves and glasses she felt best communicated her style. “We really connected, and that’s when we both knew that this was going to work,” Richie said.
The designer admitted her life changed after launching the brand and that it has been a learning process. But she remains deeply involved.
“It is a slow journey, especially for footwear, since I had to get to know the business and learn about constructions, sizing, leathers,” she said. “You’re forced to know everything … from shipping to line sheets to pricing.”
Richie also highlighted the importance of press in growing a young brand, but said she hasn’t yet made a big push with stylists and celebrities.
Instead, she has focused her efforts on connecting directly with consumers on Twitter, Facebook and at personal appearances, which she said are the best opportunities to gain face time with her customers.
“PAs are great, and I see them as my chance to see what [the customers] are drawn to and what they want me to do next,” Richie said. “For me, it’s very important to know my customer.”
And the star does all her own tweeting to her 2 million-plus followers. “I love talking to people directly to keep them in the loop and get their feedback,” she said.
While she started tweeting for business reasons, Richie said she can’t resist the occasional cheesy knock-knock joke or personal post.
All jokes aside, Richie is serious about growing her brand.
Her five-year plan includes creating a lifestyle offering, including home goods. But she’s not one to jump into new categories prematurely. “I really want to perfect this craft and give it all my focus and time before expanding,” she said. “I like to take my time and feel it.”