Mia Ray and her company Glam-Aholic Lifestyle are an overnight success, a decade in the making. The Detroit native went viral several years ago when, as she expanded her accessories and handbag company to include travel totes and duffel bags—the collection sold out in 10 minutes, earning her $700,000. It also put her on the map as a star in the industry.
Ray experienced her unprecedented surge in business as online shoppers flocked to her Instagram Live sales during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Her dedicated fans, who she calls her Glam-aholics, faithfully help her sell out her stock.
Black designers have made a huge push in recent years into the handbag market. From Telfar to Brandon Blackwood—handbags and their related accessories are making a generational shift among Black consumers as many move away from purchasing major Italian brands to boutique, homegrown lines.
Glam-aholic Lifestyle is carving out a niche with bags and accessories covered with a signature letter G. The line features handbags, wallets, totes, and Ray was the first of her competitors to roll out a full luggage line—complete with a high-profile photoshoot at Detroit’s Wayne Metropolitan Airport.
“I’ve always said I wanted the brand to be luxury for everybody. I know that a lot of women walk around with a Gucci or Louis [Vuitton] bag and don’t have anything to put in it. I want Black women to look good and feel good with this gorgeous handbag and still have money in the bank,” said Ray in an interview with BET.com.
Ray wanted to make Glam-aholic accessible to women of any age, including teenage girls. She treasures her young fans, saying, “I wish I saw more Black faces or Black designers, especially Black women making things specifically for me when I was growing up.”
With her younger customers in mind, this holiday season, Ray linked up with Jessie James Combs, D’Lila Star Combs and Chance Combs, the three daughters of legendary hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs for a a new campaign inspired by the 90s classic film, Clueless shot at a rental in Beverly Hills.
When asked how she connected and then booked the Combs girls, who rarely work with any brands, Ray simply said, “I asked.”
The drop, which features a gorgeous monogram travel set priced at $250, debuts on November 25, Black Friday.
She adds, “My secret sauce is God. I really had my heart set on this Clueless campaign and I just felt like the Combs sisters were the perfect trio to carry it out.”
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Ray explains that the teenagers were extremely professional and “the sweetest,” noting that all three girls came up with ideas and were “naturals” in celebrating the products on and off-camera. “They loved all of the outfits that we picked for them. It was really from sunup to sundown. It was such a great experience.”
While the girls agreed they had a great experience, they’re mature enough to see the deeper meaning behind the encounter. “We were all excited to work with a Black-owned brand especially led by a woman. This was our second campaign and we look forward to many more,” they said in a statement.
“Our favorite parts were the looks and how they blended with the new bag collection. It was colorful and amazing for all of us to have fun together as sisters, and dress up exactly like the movie,” said the twins, 15 and sister Chance, 16.
Ray hopes to collaborate with the Combs girls again, especially since Jessie James and D’Lila Star have both hinted at a future career in fashion. “We would love to have our own brand one day and it’s why this shoot was so inspiring,” they said. “We are wanting to be more students of the fashion world and create an empire of fashion, beauty and more.”
Chance, who has modeled with her sister before, loves fashion as well, but sees her wings spreading elsewhere. “We all love fashion, but I am also interested in acting and I am loving my passion for tennis as well.”
Ray, who has two sons, says she was inspired by her time with the three teenage mini moguls.
“I get so many older women who say to me that what I’m doing is magical because it would have been unheard of in their day. I [also] hope that I keep inspiring the younger generation. I’m proud that women are winning right now and I just don’t see it slowing down anytime soon… or ever.”