The CEO and founder of Milano Di Rouge, The Womanaire Club, and the Mamanaire Club, Milan Harris, is making advancements in her field of business. The 34-year-old set out to create a future of prosperity and abundance for everyone, including the black community as a whole, those close to her, and herself.
Before her high-end streetwear company Milano Di Rouge, which means “Making Dreams Reality” in French, went viral, Harris began selling T-shirts out of the trunk of her car in Philadelphia, where she was born and raised.
When one of Harris’ customers left the warehouse where Harris was doing business because the customer thought it was unsafe, she said the rejection inspired her to grow her company.
She said to AfroTech, “Because of his reaction, it made me realize like, ‘Okay, it’s time for us to get a store because this is not the best environment’. In 2016, we opened our first brick-and-mortar. In 2017, I moved to Los Angeles. I knew that I did not want to work in my store. I didn’t want a mom-and-pop shop. I knew that I really wanted to grow my brand.”
In an act of faith, Harris wrote herself her last salary and put it in her Bible to get ready for the success she believed her brand was capable of.
“I put it in my Bible and I said, ‘I’m not gonna pay myself. I’m gonna literally grow my team. So, that’s when I started to grow and hire different people to expand my brand. I moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to carry the vision even further,” she said.
Her actions yielded results, as she began to see an increase in demand for her goods. It was the first time she had been away from Philadelphia, which accounted for 80% of her Milano di Rouge sales.
Twenty percent of her sales were done online, and she used this as an opportunity to utilize social media promotion, eventually exceeding the first money goal she set for her business. She stated that she and her team were making up to $50,000 instead of $30,000 in sales.
Harris, like all business owners, encountered difficult times. She explained that there was a time when, in order to provide her clients with high-quality shirts, she chose to outsource collared shirts from H&M and put her logo on them.
Even though it was costly, she wanted to offer her clientele nothing but the best. But it backfired because when customers discovered she was selling them H&M shirts, it nearly destroyed the company she had worked so hard to develop.
“It was a big deal and it was a big lesson to me because I didn’t look at Milano Di Rouge as big as everyone else looked at it. It was a lesson for me because it was something that I did not want to be exposed, but in hindsight, it was a blessing,” she explained.
“The blessing was, it taught me what I needed to fix. I took the criticism constructively and fixed the problem. From that point, all of our stuff began to get manufactured.”
Forbes noted that Harris’s brand has been adorned by stars including Cardi B, Usher, Lil Baby, Lili Reinhart, Monica, Ciara, and her children, Glorilla, and Rick Ross, among others. The brand has become a staple in the streetwear industry.
Milano’s success has established Harris as an e-commerce and marketing specialist with the ability to scale a business. Milano additionally boasts an average of 20 million Instagram responses per month, over 500,000 email subscribers, and over 100,000 text subscribers eager for every new launch.
With recent direct-to-consumer sales of $60 million, Harris’ Milano Di Rouge brand has become a million-dollar business, according to AfroTech.