Between Martha Quinn and Carson Daly came Daisy Fuentes, arguably the most famous MTV VJ ever. She looked like a model, worked the camera like an actress, and made the whole idea of being an on air personality for the (then) music fueled channel a lot more glamorous.
But that was long ago. Since Fuentes left MTV, she’s been plenty busy with other television work. (Did you know she was one of the first Hispanics to be a Revlon girl?)
Yet she’s become, in a way, more well-known for her Kohl‘s fashion empire–which launched in 2004 and has since made over $800 million in sales–than for her work as a personality. And she’s okay with that. What was once a side project to help build her personal brand–as well as her personal worth–is now Fuentes’ serious passion. We recently caught up with the exceedingly friendly star to talk fashion, fame, and why she’ll never do a reality show.
Fashionista: You were one of the first celebrities to launch a successful fashion line. Who did you look up to?
Daisy Fuentes: There really wasn’t anything to sample. We started playing around with the idea a few years before my line actually launched. I was looking at it as kind of a hobby. Sure, of course I was also thinking, “maybe we can all make a little bit of money.” And at the time, the challenge was, can we make good quality fashion at an affordable price?
How did Kohl’s become your partner?
They were interested in doing something, perhaps for the Latin market. And I thought, “Wow, this could be good.” At the time, Kohl’s was a baby company, and they had a reputation for being good to work with. They were also looking to bring some fashion into the store. We presented our idea, and it was right for them. It’s fortunate!
Why does the Hispanic market in particular need to be targeted?
I don’t think of it as a Hispanic collection, per se. But the numbers of Hispanic households keeps increasing, and every area of retail is looking to address this. It would be silly not to acknowledge–I welcome it.
Latin women want a good product that fits well at an affordable price. And I’m obviously representative of the Hispanic community. I’m someone they can identify with.
How is the business different now than it was when you started? Are you more involved in the day-to-day operations?
Yes, absolutely. It’s the reason why I haven’t had to take some jobs. I love making television, but it has changed a lot. I’ve been offered a lot of reality shows. Perhaps if television was my only thing, I would have had to do one. My involvement has changed in my fashion business in that it was originally very small. Retail was very new to me. So I spent time learning and listening to my mentors. And I really feel as I have become more involved, my business grew more rapidly. We’re still adding categories. [Fuentes' Kohl's line includes fashion, accessories, housewares, etc.] Now I’m more confident. I’ve met my consumer, I understand my consumer.
Do you have any advice for a novice? Whether they’re launching a line or just starting?
Educate yourself on the business. Get as many stories from people who have actually made it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And stay true to your vision.