Four years ago, with her children at school most of the day, Millo Haddad found herself with time on her hands.
“When the kids didn’t get back home until 4:30, it felt like a long time to be home by yourself,” said Haddad. “That’s when I figured I wanted to do something fun and interesting for myself. I love the fashion world, and my husband [Sam Haddad, owner of Haddad Brands] was giving me tickets to trade shows so I was buying all this stuff for myself to the point where I didn’t know what to do with it all. My friends would ask me, ‘where do you get all that?’ I started putting pictures of the jewelry on Instagram, and all of a sudden I was getting tons of calls.”
That’s about when Haddad decided to go into the retail business, selling choice pieces and accessories on eBay and subsequently launching a Web site, designsbymillo.com, and a small boutique inside another store on Kings Highway in Brooklyn.
Fast forward four years and Haddad has shut down the shop-in-shop and is launching her first freestanding store, called Millo, in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. The 1,000-square-foot Millo store, at 2150 East 4th Street by Avenue U, has its grand opening today with a Carbon & Hyde trunk show and a party.
“I’ve built my clientele. We’ve been doing some nice numbers. It was time to open my own space,” said Haddad, who has four children, aged from 7 to 18 years old. “I’m managing to juggle it all. I run home at 4:30, but I have sales girls handling the store for me.”
With its Baccarat chandeliers, satin drapes, marble countertops and mix of fine and fashion jewelry, Millo is a standout in a commercial stretch dotted with moderate-priced apparel stores, beauty salons and groceries. “It’s very glamorous,” Haddad said. “Some people think we should be on Madison Avenue.”
Among the jewelry lines carried are Aurélie Bidermann, which offers classic jewelry; the trendier Azlee, which is known for very delicate fine jewelry and chokers, as well as Carbon & Hyde, which is known for gold, Cinderella ear cuffs. The store also sells jewelry that Haddad creates herself, and exclusive capsule collections at times with designers like Dannijo and Alison Lou. Original designs and made-to-order pieces, as well as some accessories including handbags and hats, are also offered. Haddad cites ear cuffs, pinky rings and huggies as among the hottest selling trends currently.
Her buying philosophy is a simple one. “When I am buying jewelry for the store, I’ve got to feel like I want it for myself,” she said. “I know my clients are going to love it. If I don’t want to have it for myself, it’s not going to sell.”