Mia Ray and her company Glam-Aholic Lifestyle became overnight success, lasting a decade. The Detroit-born singer became popular a few years ago when she expanded her accessories and handbag business to include duffel bags and travel bags – the collection sold out in 10 minutes, grossing $700,000. It also put her on the map as a star in the industry.
Ray experienced her unprecedented rise in business as online shoppers flocked to her Instagram live sales during the height of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Her devoted fans, whom she calls Glam-aholics, faithfully help her sell off her stock.
Black designers have made huge strides in the handbag market in recent years. From Telfar to Brandon Blackwood, handbags and related accessories are creating a generational shift among black consumers as many move away from major Italian brands to native boutique lines.
Glam-aholic Lifestyle is making a niche with G-branded handbags and accessories. The line includes handbags, wallets, tote bags, and Ray was the first of its competitors to introduce a full line of suitcases – complete with a high-end profile photo shoot at Detroit’s Wayne Metropolitan Airport .
“I have always said that I want the brand to be a luxury for everyone. I know a lot of women wear Gucci or Louis shoes [Vuitton] I have a bag and nothing to put in it. I want black women to look good and feel good in this great purse and still have money in the bank,” Ray said in an interview with BET.com.
Ray wanted Glam-aholic to be accessible to women of all ages, including teenage girls. She values her young fans, saying, “I would love to see more black faces or black designers, especially black women making things especially for me when I was growing up.”
With her younger clients in mind, Ray made contact this holiday season Jessie James Combs, D’Lil’s combs and chance combs, three daughters of the legendary hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs for a new campaign inspired by the classic film from the 90s, helpless shot at a rental shop in Beverly Hills.
When asked how she got in touch and then booked the Combs girls, who rarely work with any brands, Ray simply said, “I asked.”
The drop, which includes a gorgeous $250 monogrammed travel kit, will debut on November 25, Black Friday.
She adds: “My secret sauce is God. I really put my heart into it helpless campaign and I just felt the Combs sisters were the perfect trio to run it.”
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Ray explains that the teens were extremely professional and “the cutest”, noting that all three girls had ideas and “naturally” celebrated the products on and off camera. “They loved all the outfits we picked out for them. It was really from sunrise to sunset. It was a great experience.”
While the girls agreed they had a great experience, they are mature enough to see the deeper meaning of this encounter. “We were all excited to be working with a black-owned brand, especially one run by a woman. This was our second campaign and we’re looking forward to more,” they said in a statement.
“Our favorite element was the look and the way it paired with the new bag collection. It was colorful and amazing that we all played together as sisters and dressed up exactly like in the movie,” said the 15-year-old twins and 16-year-old sister Chance.
Ray is hoping to work with the Combs girls again, especially since Jessie James and D’Lila Star hinted at future careers in fashion. “We would love to have our own brand one day and that is why this shoot was so inspiring,” they said. “We want to be more students of the fashion world and create an empire of fashion, beauty and more.”
Chance, who previously modeled with her sister, also loves fashion but sees her wings spread elsewhere. “We all love fashion, but I also have an interest in acting and I also love my passion for tennis.”
Ray, who has two sons, says she was inspired by her time with three teenage mini moguls.
“Many older women tell me that what I do is magical because in their day it would have been unthinkable. AND [also] I hope to continue to inspire the younger generation. I’m proud that women are winning right now and I just don’t see it slowing down anytime soon…or ever.”