Headline article image How Glam-Aholic Lifestyle made $1m in 24 hours

How Glam-Aholic Lifestyle made $1m in 24 hours

Luxury accessories brand founder, Mia Ray, explains how social media and persistence pays off.

The founder of affordable luxury accessories brand, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle, Mia Ray, will always remember the "mind-blowing" day she made $1 million in 24 hours - it was the same day her company turned ten years old.

"Imagine putting your blood, sweat and tears into your business for a decade and then all of a sudden it explodes overnight," she says of that pivotal moment, two years ago. "A lot of people think I'm an overnight success – I'm not."

The reason for this sudden boom in business? Ray started utilizing Instagram Live by introducing a "Glam-Aholic Shopping Experience" every time she launched a new product. 

"It's always been a dream of mine to be on a home-shopping network like QVC so I started going live on Instagram in the same style," she explains. "I showcase the product, tell people the price [and] show them how it works or fits. Being in front of the camera really helped my business take off."

"A lot of people think I'm an overnight success – I'm not."

From blogger to business owner

A college drop-out from Detroit, Ray started writing a fashion blog in 2009. From the very beginning she was the face of her brand and connected directly with customers – before she even called them that. 

"Back then, people weren't really thinking about followers," explains Ray, who only had a couple of thousand people reading her blog in the first year. "I was thinking more about the connection with readers. I wanted them to have something they could walk away with." 

Armed with a desire to make a "nice, affordable tote bag" as well as a friend's contact for a manufacturer in China (who she still uses to this day), Ray spent $99 of the $348 she had in her bank account at the time on producing a sample. She then posted a photo of the bag on her blog, instructing readers to 'pre-order now.' Having spent a year blogging without making much money, Ray was thrilled to receive more than 70 pre-orders. 

Almost 13 years on, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle – which spans everything from cosmetic bags to wallets, as well as the recently launched luggage and hosiery ranges – is on track to bring in $25 million in revenue this year. 

This is all the more impressive when you consider the brand's modest Instagram following (Glam-Aholic Lifestyle has 136,000 and Mia Ray herself 197,000). "I'm proud to say I have only a couple of hundred thousand followers on social media," says Ray who adds that engagement is more important than the total number of followers. "I like to say I'm pretty small but mighty. I'm only competing with myself. I definitely feel like I've found my own lane."

"I'm proud to say I have only a couple of hundred thousand followers on social media."

- Mia Ray, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle founder

Get creative

As well as relatable, personal direct-to-consumer marketing techniques, Ray says that Glam-Aholic Lifestyle's success owes much to a fun, creative approach.

“[I recommend] definitely thinking outside the box and not doing what everyone else is doing. I always bring my customers a fun experience," she says. "Whether that's visually or through music, I like to dive deep when it comes to marketing."

When new products drop, you'll find fun videos on the Glam-Aholic Lifestyle Instagram page starring Mia Ray herself. Think spoofs of the 1990s classic film Clueless or Sex and the City or recreations of pop videos. "When we dropped my hosiery line, we pretty much recreated the video for Beyonce's Single Ladies, and everyone loved it," she says.

Listen to your customers

"As a customer, you want to feel seen and heard and understood," explains Ray. "People who spend their money somewhere like to feel the comfort of, “Oh wow, they really care about what I want.” Customers want to feel comfortable spending their money with you."

In order to achieve this, Ray prides herself on being transparent with her customers, inviting them to watch every step of the production process (via social media) and often using them as a sounding board when it comes to developing new products. In fact, it was her customers she turned to (by utilizing a poll) when she was deciding whether to take on Afterpay. 

"I am so pro being financially literate and financially strong that I feel like Afterpay speaks to my customers," she says. "It makes a big difference to them because while they are always excited to shop, a lot of them do like to budget. I would recommend Afterpay because it increases the profits of small businesses and it assists customers in getting what they want."

"Afterpay increases the profits of small businesses and assists customers in getting what they want."

- Mia Ray, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle founder

Tenacity pays off

Ray is open about the fact that for the first few years of the business, money was tight. “I went for seven to eight years without much income and without a car, and all the things I would have loved to have had.”

In order to be successful, she adds, entrepreneurs have to be patient and persistent. "A lot of times people start a business and if it's not a success within six months they quit. You must stay consistent in order for it to pay off and in order for your customers to connect and believe in you," explains Ray. 

The benefit of slow sustainable growth, she adds, is that business owners have the opportunity to learn every facet of their business.

Just two years ago, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle was made up of Ray and her assistant. Today, there are 12 employees including accounts, human resources and customer service. 

"I know how to do every single thing when it comes to my brand – I've worked every department! - but sometimes it's smart to hire help when it's needed," she advises. 

"You have to stay ahead of the curve, and not get so overwhelmed that you're not focusing on the bigger picture, so it's always great to hire help when you need it."

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Written by
Martha Hayes
Martha Hayes is a British writer, journalist and talent booker based in Los Angeles.
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