Illustrated by Kagan McLeod
Minding Our Business: A series about what it takes to do your own business.
Growing up in Detroit, Mia Ray never saw what she wanted to do, especially to become a glamorous entrepreneur. When she was 26, she started a fashion and lifestyle blog after working as a salesperson in a fashion boutique. Within about three years, she had gained her just under 5,000 followers. Today, her personal Instagram alone has hundreds of thousands of followers. However, her page is not just for promoting her products. She uses her platform as a tool to inspire other women, posting clips of her discussing intergenerational wealth and old videos of the beginning of her entrepreneurship journey. are shared. No one needs to understand it. “
A year after starting his blog, Ray launched Glam-aholic Lifestyle. When An affordable accessory brand as an extension of her online content. Her designs include monogrammed metallic tote bags, bulky toiletry bags, passport covers, and travel sets for the glamorous girl on the go that sell out in seconds. In 2019, her brand had what she calls an “overnight success moment,” but it took her 13 years of struggle to get there. Suddenly, branded metal duffel bags of hers were seen all over airports across the country, and shoppers were setting alarms to get their travel sets before they sold out, but the press, celebrities, and TV weren’t. was not there at all. Her efforts began to pay off and her community created viral moments from her product. This year, Ray is set to make her $25 million in earnings. She dropped out of college and as a single mother of two boys, she has had many setbacks.
What were your goals when you started your career?
To become a big brand like Baby Phat. Kimora Lee Simmons has been my role model for as long as I can remember. I remember the feeling of buying a baby fat, a winter coat with fur, and the feeling of being a roadside girl full of glamor. I wanted to be big, glamorous, and a lifestyle brand that would set the world on fire. So what I’m doing now was really on the map of what was to be accomplished.
What was your biggest setback along the way?
I don’t know what I was doing, just an unknown. I’m a college dropout, so technically I only have a high school education. Trying to figure everything out on my own might be seen as a setback because there weren’t any entrepreneurs where I was from or that I knew, but it really made me very strong. Made me so powerful in understanding things. Another “setback” was my business blowing up overnight after 10 years in business. Imagine spending 10 years trying to figure things out and wondering why things aren’t working. boomNot knowing how to handle the sudden high demand was a setback, but it has given me a lot of strength today.
how did you deal with it?
These setbacks made me think outside the box. Business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. It’s a lot of stress and anxiety and it takes an emotional toll, but it really helped build my brand into the driving force I wanted. It’s all that goes on behind the scenes. We’ve done it all, from shipping to marketing to photography. It all shaped me into a truly bomb-ass business woman.
Have you ever thought of giving up?
Oh my god, yes. I remember crying when I saw my PayPal account. I had probably around $200 and remember praying: what am i doing wrong? I remember asking my son’s father if he should get a job. I took a nap, woke up and said: No, I don’t have a job. i’m going to figure this out. Every time I ask myself what I should do, I collect my thoughts, gather myself, and get back to work.
What has the setback taught you now?
That you can do anything you set your mind to. If I said this would be my life 20 years from now when I graduated from high school, I would think: girl, are you crazy? But now, I feel like those setbacks have taught me how to change direction and how to re-evaluate. People can be afraid to reset their goals or be okay with life changing, moving around and back. I feel that’s what my setback did to me. They taught me how to help others who went through the same thing.
You are currently using social media as a tool to help other women on their career journeys. What inspired you to use the platform for that?
I wish there was someone like me. I never had a mentor before. I always say it’s just me, God and Google trying to figure this out. If you can share what I’ve been through or prevent women from going through it, why not share it? Because I want to be what I wanted.