Local Celeb Mary Dougherty of Nicole Miller Philly

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Mary Dougherty of M.K. Associates prior to New York Fashion Week. Mary has secured her reputation as a trailblazer in the City of Philadelphia. As an exceptional businesswoman and community leader in the city of Philadelphia, she has been named one of “Pennsylvania’s 50 Most Successful Business Women” by Business Journal Magazine, one of the “Top 50 Women to Watch” by Business Philadelphia Magazine, and most recently named one of the “Top 25 Most Fashionable Philadelphians” by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

You have been working for the Nicole Miller Brand for 30 years. How have you seen the industry change?
The industry has changed in so many ways. However, excellent service and making sure Nicole’s loyal customers know how important they are to our business has been the key. A great fashion experience never goes out of style.

How did the event planning side of your business come to life?
I privately own and operate the two Nicole Miller stores in Philadelphia and our Wholesale Representative Company with a talented team. We have always executed all of our own events, philanthropic endeavors, local press, and fashion shows. People would always ask which agency we used, and we finally decided to go after some of the business as MKD & Associates.

What philanthropic experience really changed the way you work?
When I was young, my parents encouraged us to engage as a family in philanthropy, whether it was volunteering at our church, helping to feed the homeless, or just lending a hand to a neighbor in need, it was engrained in us that there was always enough to go around. I remember when we opened the Nicole Miller store in Manayunk in 1994, my husband Erik and I said if we are fortunate enough to be successful, we will share our success with the community. We continue to honor that commitment.

What role do you think social media plays in fashion today? 
Social media is critical, especially in terms of reach and visibility for a brand, which can be achieved if you understand how to use it properly. While it can be difficult to calculate the correlation of direct sales with a social media campaign, it is clear that the brands and companies who engage their customers on social media are gaining a larger audience. In the fashion industry in particular, it gives followers a peek inside a previously private and exclusive world.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

What is the one wardrobe essential you can’t live without? 


photo: Nicole Miller Philadelphia

A few looks from the Nicole Miller Spring 2017 NYFW



Nicole Miller NYFW 2016

photos: Nicole Miller



Remembering 9/11 with Art by Peter Max

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic events that occurred in New York on September 11, 2001. As we reflect on this day, we turn to artists like Peter Max who like many others was devastated following the attack.

To accomplish this goal, Max created a series of 9/11 art to benefit the September 11 Twin Towers and Survivors Relief project. Proceeds from the sale these American-themed works were donated to the funds, with Max considering it a “labor of love.”

Max also created portraits of the 356 firefighters who lost their lives at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. He acquired photographs of the firefighters used on photo IDs to paint each portrait.

“As I painted them, it was as though their gazes were looking directly at me…They could have been my friends or my relatives, and were all my fellow Americans. And all heroes.”

Michelle Maidenberg fell in love with Peter Max after 9/11. She reflects, “I am touched by Peter Max’s Americana painting — the vibrancy, his free-flowing style and connotation to personal liberty. It helps me to continually be reminded of my freedom, my strong sense of community and the strength and resilience of American citizens. I feel connected to my patriotism and truly blessed to be an American citizen.”




Olympic Moments That Change History with Michael Phelps

Over the course of the last thirty years there have been many athletes who have changed the course of Olympic history. Heroes who inspire and leave deep impressions of embodied memories for years to come. Blood, sweat and tears don’t even come close.

Rarely seen are the mental anguish and internal battles these athletes endure. How they overcome them is the journey that truly inspires. This week Olympic swimmer Alison Schmitt opened up about her fight with depression on the Today Show. Schmitt divulged how depression had paralyzed her and how seeking professional help and sharing her vulnerabilities with friends like Michael Phelps put her back on track for the Gold. Phelps often refers to Schmitt as a sister from another mother. They have trained together for over a decade.  It takes a village to raise a champion and Schmitt has taken a personal stance to help others with their plight.

Schmitt along with the rest of her team mates are “paying it forward” with VIP Survivor’s Olympian Leather Cuff. The entire Team USA swim team received the emblazoned “Olympian” gold cuffs and have been wearing them in Rio. When they return to the USA, they will autograph the back of each cuff and give it to someone they feel possesses Olympian traits. Commemorating this journey and inspiring greatness in others is the goal.

Olympic Cuff

VIP Olympic CuffVIP Survivor founder Leigh Ann Barnes and Dana Jo from Fulfillment Merch teamed up to design these custom Olympian bracelets. “Designing a special cuff for Team USA  was an awesome endeavor. We are so excited they’re wearing them and look forward to collaborating with Allison Schmitt on her own line of inspirational cuffs,” said Leigh Ann Barnes.  “Our VIP Survivor cuffs are pretty special because they’re handmade in the USA by some Very Important People, survivors of domestic violence.” VIP Survivor creates products using the leather remnants and gives women jobs here in the U.S., especially ones who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Partnering with domestic violence shelters across the country, VIP Survivor hires women residing in the shelters’ transitional housing and offers them an opportunity to earn money while in a safe haven environment. It’s a triple win –  a product that is creating new jobs here in America from a new employee pool by reclaiming exquisite leather remnants and scraps.



Authentic Leadership for the Next Generation

Authentic leadership is a popular subject these days as the next generation watch the presidential election unfold.  For the last year we have been fortunate to have two amazing interns in our office from the University of Delaware.

Authentic Leadership by Karissa Thacker

This week Colleen Byrnes was sharing with our team lessons learned from her social media communications class taught by Meredith Chapman. Chapman teaches at the University of Delaware where she revolutionized social media on-campus and positioned UD as a national thought leader. She has been nationally recognized for her accomplishments and was named a top Social Media Professional for 2011 by PR News in addition to being in the inaugural 2014 class for the Delaware Business Times “40 Under 40.” 

Millennials are known to want to align themselves with social causes and work for companies that are giving back to society. Colleen had the chance to interview Karissa Thacker about her book the Art of Authenticity and her thoughts on leadership for the next generation.