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.

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