Friday, October 24, 2014

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Recording Artist Erica Campbell


At the Grand Opening of celebrity stylist Goo-Goo Atkins’ showroom The Style Suite last week, I caught up with the legendary, award-winning singer, Erica Campbell.

As half of the powerhouse duo Mary Mary, Erica Campbell has been on the scene, changing the face of gospel music—and music in general—for more than 15 years. In particular, 2014 has also been an extremely exciting and busy year for her, with the March debut of her first solo album Help, the continuation of her successful reality show Mary Mary and performances in multiple cities, worldwide.

And now this fall, she’s revealed her latest venture: a nail polish line, EC x CC!


During our talk at the showroom's opening event, Erica shared with me more about her new line, her business ventures and of course, where she "where to's" in Los Angeles. Read more below!

WilsonsGuide: What was the inspiration behind this launch? Why now?
Erica Campbell: I love nail polish. I get my nails done all the time. I have two daughters and seven sisters. So nail polish is always somewhere in my house. It’s something that I love. And, I think it’s great for a mom, a woman, a college student—whoever—to have a little glamour in a bottle of your own, as opposed to going to the [nail] shop, looking on the walls and sometimes what we’re looking for is not there. Take your own color—you know exactly what you’re getting. You know there’s nail thinner in it, you know that it won’t crack, that it’s going to polish, that it’s a good product. I love to offer good product, whether it’s nail polish or music.

WilsonsGuide: Do you have a favorite color?
Erica Campbell: That’s so hard—that’s not easy at all! Today I’m wearing hot pink. I do like the blue, and the lime…and the red…and the nude. I like them all (laughs)!

WilsonsGuide: I want to ask you another hard question: because you’re in a lot of different professional ventures—you sing, you have this new line, you have a reality show—is there one business venture that is closer to your heart than another?
Erica Campbell: The closest thing to my heart is my kids and making sure that I leave a legacy for them. That I teach them how to be responsible; that I let them know that you can work and be successful and still be a loving mom and nurture them. That’s what’s most important.

The music I would say, because it’s ministry. It is not just me being fabulous. It’s about inspiration. It’s about motivating people and letting them know that there is an answer, that there is help and that there is hope and you’re not in it alone. That part of the music is really what I love the most. When I know I’m touching lives and changing lives, that’s the most important thing.

    Pictured: Goo-Goo Atkins and Erica Campbell, at The Style Suite Showroom Grand Opening

WilsonsGuide: My blog is all about where to eat, drink and be merry in Los Angeles, so do you have a favorite restaurant, or favorite lounge or anywhere you like to go?
Erica Campbell: I love Katana. It’s seriously one of our faves, but I could also do Wokcano. But I’m a real L.A. girl, so you got to include Roscoe’s in there, too. I just mix it up! I’m a little high end—I could do Crustacean, but I could do Roscoe’s. I could go any way (laughs).

* If you haven’t already, check out my post covering The Style Suite Grand Opening here and also my interview with Erica Campbell's sister Goo-Goo Atkins here!*

Pictured: Erica Campbell with models at The Style Suite Showroom Grand Opening

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Celebrity Stylist Goo-Goo Atkins


Last week was the Grand Opening of Mary Mary castmember and celebrity stylist Goo-Goo Atkins’ Style Suite Showroom. Not only did I attend, but I also had the chance to chat with her during a quick one-on-one interview, which is posted below.

I have to say—she’s just as stylish and elegantly composed in person as she is on the Mary Mary television series. And, it was great to get a glimpse of her personality. She’s fast-talking, brutally honest, hard-working and brilliantly business savvy, but most importantly, she’s proving that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry.

During our conversation, we talked about everything from advice for starting a business to fall fashions, what her new showroom would offer and of course, where she “where to’s” in Los Angeles.

Read more below and if you haven’t already, you can check out my post covering the Style Suite Showroom's Grand Opening here!

WilsonGuide: Why did you decide to open up a showroom now?
Goo-Goo: The main thing is, there aren’t very many options for plus-sized women or even curvy women. In the industry, once you become a size six, they start looking at you like, “uh oh, she’s getting fat.” So then anything from [size] eight on up, they treat you like, “we can’t make clothes in your size.”


There are options out there, and so I went and got those options and I found a space. And I wanted it to be somewhere centrally located. I have 24-hour access to the space. I can come in here any time—doesn’t matter what time [clients] land, or if they want to be private, at nighttime, it’s secured—and we can come in here and I can get them styled for their event. Let’s say it’s the day of the Grammy’s, you can come in here by 12, leave by 2, with your hair, your make up, your clothes, everything completely done.

But, the main thing  like I said was, women of larger size, there were no options. When you go to showrooms, there are no options for them. They have like 200 dresses in size 2-4, but anything 8, 10, 12, 14, 22, 32, 24, there are no options. Maybe one or two, and they look like our grandmothers’ dresses.

So, I got my designing hat on and I designed a lot of things and some plus sizes and bought some stuff, but I just want the ladies to know that I got you covered!


WilsonGuide: Can you talk a little bit about the designers who are featured in the showroom?
Goo-Goo: Well I’m going to tell you something. A lot of the designers that I pull from, they stopped returning emails when I told them I wanted some wholesale pieces—to buy pieces to put in here for my clients. I didn’t get responses back. That’s why I said I put my designer hat on and called some seamstress friends of mine. Sir Algernon, he’s a great designer and he sent me some original pieces and then I said, “now I need this, I need that!” He played seamstress and helped my dreams come true.

Jared Lamar, another local designer...Goo-Goo (laughs).

WilsonGuide: Can you give us some fashion tips for the fall?
Goo-Goo: Stay warm. We here in California, sometimes we want to wear certain things and the weather doesn’t really call for it. I love my Uggs too, but I just want to wear them when it actually is a little cool out. And then when you wear them, wear them warm. Don’t wear them with a mini skirt, where your legs are freezing and then you have on a tank top, but your feet are burning. Just, make sense.

I love layering. I like the monochromatic layering too. I know color blocking was a big thing last season and it still is, but I like slight variations of the same color, like four different greys on. I love that.

WilsonGuide: What advice do you have for any aspiring business owners, in launching your showroom?
Goo-Goo: That is the first time I have ever been asked that question because this is so new to me. Do you know this whole thing happened in 27 days?



WilsonGuide: I did not know that! Congratulations—wow.
Goo-Goo: Yes. 27 days. Everything. This store was a big, ugly box, and all of this happened. Make sure you get your business straight. I’m passionate about styling and the creative element, but I had to make sure that my business was tight, so you won’t come here next week and there’s a padlock on the door because I didn’t handle my business right. Insurance, everything—make sure everything is tight. Take your time and get that information. Luckily, I was in the position where I had connections with people and I called them and I said, “hey, I need to take care of this, that and the other,” and sometimes they would say, “well, you’re gonna need this and that and that,” and so I put it together that way, and really, God just intervened and helped me to get it done.

But I would say make sure your business is straight before you go into it because sometimes creative people, we just want to hurry up and “oh, it’s open now!” but it’s like, it’s going to be shut down because you kind of did it raggedy.

WilsonGuide: My blog is about where to eat drink and be merry in Los Angeles, so do you have a favorite restaurant, lounge, bar, social destination?
Goo-Goo: You know what, wherever my friends are. I love Bottega Louie. It’s really cute there. The food is good there, it’s centrally located. But, then I go across the street to Wokcano, too. I found a place not too far—I think it’s called Food Haus and they were very, very good, so that’s probably going to be my new eating spot. But, wherever my friends are.

Read more about the Grand Opening of Goo-Goo's Style Suite Showroom here


* This interview has been edited for length.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where to be Merry: The Style Suite Showroom @ LA Mart


Perhaps like me, you first saw Goo-Goo Atkins on the hit reality show Mary Mary, effortlessly styling her two older sisters Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell from the award-winning gospel group Mary Mary. Season after season, Goo-Goo has managed to pull off hundreds of femininely fierce and elegantly graceful looks—for her sisters, herself and also for her numerous clients, who include Michelle Williams, Vanessa Williams and Niecy Nash.

And now, she’s taking her fashion expertise to the next level: 
she’s opened The Style Suite Showroom in the LA Mart, downtown!


I had the opportunity to attend The Style Suite Showroom’s Grand Opening last week, to get an up-close-and-personal look to see what it’s all about. I was joined by scores of Goo-Goo’s friends, family, fashion and industry insiders, members of the media, and several of her sisters, pictured below, lending their faithful support.

From left to right: Shanta Atkins, Erica Campbell, Goo-Goo Atkins, Maliea Atkins and Tina Campbell 

Catering specifically to curvy and full-figured women, The Style Suite Showroom provides clients with formal wear and evening attire for special occasions such as photo shoots, award shows and any other time you’re in the mood to throw on a fabulous gown or dress. Designers include Sir Algernon and Jared Lamar—and also Goo-Goo herself. The showroom is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it also offers access to additional services, including hair and makeup, and even a full service media room.

During a brief conversation when she was able to steal away for a moment, Goo-Goo revealed to me that the entire showroom had miraculously come together in a mere 27 days. But, from the looks of it, you’d never even know! Everything appeared extremely well-thought out and like it had been planned months in advance, down to the tiniest details. From the grey and gold-striped accent walls to the numerous candles scattered throughout and the velvety red roses on the desk near the entrance, every aspect had an inviting touch of glam, class and elegance.

The approximately 40-50 guests in attendance also had a chance to see exactly what fashion options will be available at The Style Suite Showroom, as a handful of models showed off stunning styles throughout the evening. 


Guests also had a chance to feel like models themselves, as hairstylist Micha Brown worked her magic on guests' hair...


...makeovers were provided...


...and celebrity manicurist Nettie Davis painted nails, using polish from Erica Campbell’s new nail polish line, EC x CC.


DJ Mal-Ski, pictured below, spun a medley of R&B and gospel hits…


…and Celebrity Chef Sisely Cierra conjured up a delightful spread of finger foods, including some killer banana cupcakes, pictured below!


Goo-Goo got on the mic a couple of times to dish out gracious thank yous and to share more about her journey towards opening the showroom. “Sorry that I did not tell you guys what I was doing, because I wanted to do it myself,” she admitted at one point. She also explained more about the pieces donned by the models and towards the end, added as a model strutted in front of the crowd, “she’s wearing one of the pieces that is exclusive to the Style Suite, where you can come and get everything done here—your one-stop shop for your red carpet event…”


A big congrats to Goo-Goo for opening The Style Suite Showroom—I love seeing successful entrepreneurs launch their own business ventures and do it with such finesse and loveliness. So the next time you’re looking for a fly outfit to wear to any very special occasion, head down to The Style Suite Showroom to find the perfect attire.

See you there soon!

For more information:

The Reef (LA Mart)
1933 S. Broadway Street #166
Los Angeles, CA 90007