MAD is actually an acronym for Marta and Doug Stein (or Mommy and Daddy), depending who you ask.
In early 2005, Marta and Doug launched a new business by choice and out of thin air. After the news that we were going to have a baby, we both felt that it would be awesome if we could find a way to create a business that would allow us to work from home and raise our daughter.
At the time, we were already doing something outside our “regular” professions, as we had 4 retail stores in Chicago, selling home accessories, furniture and art. It was Marta that suggested that we try to start a wholesale women’s accessory business, as we had recently been carrying a lot of handmade purses in our stores and they were selling really well.
After starting the business in the basement with 58 pieces in a 6-page catalog, 10 years later MAD Style now has thousands of MAD customers all over the world and offer over 1500 unique pieces inside an amazing 200 page catalog! We no longer operate from our home office and have grown to include 12 full-time employees, 140+ independent sales reps, 8 showrooms across the country and a lovely retail lab / office. Also, the daughter is now 10 years old and the couple’s son is the National Sales Manager.
What is a typical day like for you?
Endless! It starts at 8 a.m. and runs through to 7 p.m. Then around 10 or 11pm, my overseas team begins tugging on my cape and that can run an hour or more depending on the drama.
What is your favorite part of this industry?
Product development. For our brand it is the driving force of our growth. But we love trade shows too. It gives us a reason to dress the part and act the part that we don’t often get to do in the office.
Technology continues to influence all advances in the marketplace. I just saw an article on virtual dressing rooms—where you can see the clothes on you—without trying them on! Crazy.
How do you use social media and how has it helped your brand?
We are learning our way around it and have made it part of our model, but still don’t fully understand it or how to benefit from it to be honest.
Does your company have any important milestones coming up?
We just celebrated our 10–year anniversary and also recently opened our flagship retail lab in Chicago.
Are you launching anything new for Fall/Holiday 2014?
Absolutely! We are launching a new line called Re-MADe, which is an upcycled canvas line of very cool handbags and pillows.
We are doing plenty of burgundy, lots of capes and cardigans. The new canvas will be big push for us. Chunk bangles, great selection of knit hats, Aztec fleece leggings…we are all over the place.
Which designers/runway fashion shows have been most influential for you in terms of planning your Fall/Holiday line?
I don’t look at one particular designer. Instead I try to spot recurring trends across a lot of designers.
Mad Style was featured in Accessories magazine’s June issue: A look at who and what is hot now–in product, brands, stores, pop culture, business, social media, e-commerce, apps, runway trends, technology, startups, museum exhibits and much, much more!
To read this page, click here.
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