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?
BLACK LEATHER PANTS!!!!
photo: Nicole Miller Philadelphia
A few looks from the Nicole Miller Spring 2017 NYFW
photos: Nicole Miller