She burst onto the screen as MTV’s first Latina VJ, continued to break barriers as Revlon’s first Latina spokesmodel, and solidified her name by becoming one of the first celebrities to brand herself. Daisy Fuentes has always been a leader, a force of nature, and an inspiration. And she has always done it with a Jersey-girl swagger and a Hollywood smile.Since 2004, sales of her fashion line at Kohl’s has surpassed the $800 million mark…and is still growing. The Daisy Fuentes brand includes: sportswear, accessories, lingerie, bedding, fragrances and eyeglasses. The businesswoman has no intention of slowing down; she is constantly looking for her next category to conquer.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she has recently written a book, Unforgettable You: Master the Elements of Style, Spirituality, and True Beauty, and released a Daisy Fuentes Pilates workout for Wii.
We sat down with the unstoppable beauty to pick that incredible brain. She’s just as gorgeous as you think, but even cooler than you can believe. The girl can polish off a pizza and beer, no sweat. And then sit back and share her business wisdom, no pretense.
Mamiverse: Did you set out to build your own brand, or was it an organic process?
Fuentes: Very Organic. Much of my TV work has always had something to do with style, fashion and beauty. It really made sense to me. I thought it would be more of a “hobby.” I never thought it would turn into a “proper” business.
Mamiverse: When did you partner with Kohl’s?
Fuentes: Kohl’s was at the top of my wish list from the beginning. My manufacturer did business with Kohl’s and always spoke highly of the company. Kohl’s was also a relatively young, but growing corporation then, with just over 500 stores. Today there are more than 1,000!
Mamiverse: Did you have to give up any control of your brand when you formed the partnership?
Fuentes: I have control over anything that has my name on it. But I also I have huge respect for my partners: Kohl’s, my manufacturers, and my team of designers. Although nothing goes on the racks without my approval, I let everyone do their job; I work with the best people in the business. It really is a team effort that reflects and represents my vision and my fashion sense.
Mamiverse: What is the most important aspect of creating and growing a brand?
Fuentes: To be passionate about what you’re doing. To do all of it with love. Learn from the best. Get great, trustworthy, experienced partners who understand your vision.
Mamiverse: Who is your target costumer, if you have one?
Fuentes: Any woman who wants to look like a million bucks without actually having to spend it. It’s for the confident woman who knows fashion, but is not a slave to it.
Mamiverse: What’s next for you and the brand?
Fuentes: I’m still adding categories! Still having fun!
Mamiverse: What is your favorite mami moment with your own mother?
Fuentes: I could not possibly pick just one. The older I get the more every moment becomes a “mami” moment. Watching my mom survive breast cancer with courage and dignity is definitely at the top. And even though I’m not a mami, I’ve been called mami by grown men. And that’s pretty nice, too.
For more of Daisy’s business and branding acumen, check out the following videos:
A behind the scenes look at Daisy’s showroom.
Business Fantasy Camp with Daisy Fuentes.
An interview with Forbes.com on brand building.
And for more of Daisy’s wit and wisdom, follow her on twitter: twitter.com/daisyfuentes.