Her fashions were inspired by a tragic death

Anastasia Bailey of Michael Marie Clothing says she's the design-oriented half of her business "marriage" with Brooke Hinton.
Anastasia Bailey of Michael Marie Clothing says she's the design-oriented half of her business "marriage" with Brooke Hinton.
Posted: April 03, 2014

A NASTASIA BAILEY, 23, of Lansdowne, is founder and co-owner of Michael Marie Clothing, a women's-clothing line inspired by her desire to keep alive the memory of boyfriend Michael Thomas, who was fatally shot in 2011. Bailey, whose middle name is Marie, is a pediatric nurse and a Penn nursing-school grad. Co-owner Brooke Hinton, 23, is a Wharton grad who works as an analyst for Macy's. I spoke with Bailey.

Q: How'd you get the biz off the ground?

A: Through Upstart, which funds college students' business ventures, we got almost $10,000, plus personal money from both me and Brooke.

Q: The biz model?

A: Brooke and I have an inspiration poster board of what we want to make. We source fabric in New York and work with First Taste NYC. They connect us with a graphic designer who draws our sketches, which are then taken to a pattern-and-sample maker. We have fittings and alter it to our liking and then it's produced, part in China, part in New York.

Q: Describe the brand.

A: It's a combination of my style and Brooke's. She's timeless and classic, I'm more edgy and fashion-forward. The Michael Marie girl is in her early 20s, fashion-savvy and appreciates a timeless style and quality pieces.

Q: What are your best-selling items?

A: A tulle skirt is the most popular item and it sold out. Our Signature Collection gray sweatsuit was the first piece I designed and it had shoulder pads. The Navy Collection sweatsuit is more fashion-forward, pricier.

Q: How big is the biz?

A: The website went live last May and grossed about $500 to $1,000 a week in sales in 2013, but it was only one collection that consisted of a sweatsuit, kimono and [T's] with our logo. This year started out slow because we had a presale on our Navy Collection but people didn't like the idea of [waiting on a purchase]. Our most expensive item is a navy 100-percent-wool blazer for $180. It hasn't sold as fast, but as we expand, we believe it will.

Q: How do you and Brooke split up job duties?

A: Brooke's more business-savvy; I'm more design-oriented. The inventory is at my house and I do the shipping. We both reply to customer emails. We share the workload because we like to say we're married and Michael Marie is our child.

Q: What's next?

A: I want us to be a known brand when people see our logo. We'd like to have men's and kid's collections. We want someday to be in Macy's and Nordstrom's. Right now we sell on the website, market via social media and network. We're shopping for a PR person and thinking about a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 to launch a men's line.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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