Mz. Skittlez has been a sweet name in fashion ever since launching her fashion and girl power brand, Cupcake Mafia.
The Atlanta based entrepreneur born Mary Seats single-handedly brought her brand into the forefront of powerful Black businesses across the globe, with her products being sold in 69 countries and more than 2000 stores.
Currently working on a collaboration with Forever 21, Mz. Skittlez credits her success and drive to the women she encounters on a daily basis who also do their part to not only build dynamic brands, but to empower their communities as well.
HERSource caught up Mz. Skittlez to talk branding, business and her plans for the future.
What do you think women bring to the business table that men don’t?
I think the biggest attribute that women bring to the table is the resilience that all women carry inside of them. The most influential ladies in the business came from nothing but didn’t let opposition get in their way. Women have the ability to make it to the top finding their own route and resources while men usually need to network a lot or collaborate with those in their field to get them to the top.
At the very core, what is the mission of your brand?
Our goal is to unite girls together all over the world through expression and philanthropy. Our ultimate mission is GIRL POWER. Within the next five years, Cupcake Mafia will become a huge umbrella for female entrepreneurs to grow not just in clothing but in many different industries.
How do you find a way to stay in charge when a lot of small brands these days are merging with bigger companies?
Somehow we have a way of speaking only to our demographic. We literally know everything about our customer. We only make products for our customers. This is how we are certain that every collection will do amazing. We just focus on outdoing ourselves day by day. I am big on all my reports and analytics—if something does well we keep doing it.
What’s next for you as far as endeavors for your brand?
Well I am releasing a new book called Never Defeated, and in it I talk about how I was fired from Cupcake Mafia and in six months I purchased my entire company back. We have three locations but we are planning on opening two more and some franchise locations. We will be showing our new collection at Magic Trade Show this August. I can’t forget to tell you that we are releasing a sublime collection with Citi Trends that is super affordable and will be in stores this fall.
Who are some major companies or other brands you hope to collab with in the future?
I hope to collab with Forever 21, and we currently have something currently in works. I would love to collaborate with a bakery, a candy store, and make drinks. I love the food business and think a collaboration would be huge. We have some collaborations that we are reintroducing with Sprayground and Monster Headphones.
What’s one piece of advice you have for those seeking to brand themselves?
My biggest piece of advice would be to build a brand first—the followers and money will come later. Most people want to do it the other way but it doesn’t last. A quote that I use in my company is a slow rise to the top is better than a fast fall to the bottom. I remind my employees daily of this because successful companies do not happen overnight. My last piece of advice would be to do what you love but make sure the lane is not over-saturated.
Who are some of your professional muses or inspirations?
It’s funny because my inspiration I’ve never met but he motivates me every day is Walt Disney. So many people told him his idea was stupid and that it would not work. He continued to prove the naysayers wrong and still is to this day. Disney inspires me because I too want to have a multifaceted brand that people can love and relate to all over the world no matter how old or young.
What is one thing you want people to know about your brand and your business?
Dreams truly come true. I started my company with $300 and last year my brand grossed $2.4 million. We currently have three operating boutiques and bakeries in Atlanta and I am now a best selling author. When I first started Cupcake Mafia my idea for girl unity seemed impossible. However for five years I have been operating an all female staff, done tons of huge female collaborations, mixtapes, breast cancer races, makeovers and more. Every day when I wake up my Girl Power Unity dream continues to come true.