Sometimes it’s in life’s hardest moments that the greatest creativity flourishes, and that can be said for celebrity stylist, Kelly Smythe, who in the coming weeks will launch her first collection as a fashion designer, titled Masculin.
Smythe has styled the likes of Jennifer Hawkins, Rhianna, Miranda Kerr and Eva Longoria.
She’s come a long way from her days as chief stylist at Channel Seven and has weathered her fair share of media criticism and serious personal illness.
But this fashionista has reinvented herself as a businesswoman and with a long-term view on money and success.
“I’ve invested most of my life savings [in Masculin] because I know and believe in it so much that the brand speaks for itself,” she says, adding that she’s realistic about how long it will take for Masculin to make a profit.
“It owes me, but any successful business has a five year turnaround.
Thankfully, she has built up a strong business with Kelly Smythe personal styling and is fortunate enough to be able to financially support her little family and team while moving into fashion.
Kelly’s inspiration for Masculin came after spending 10 years obsessed with not being able to find the right quality basics to fit her clients.
“Basics are the building blocks for me and it’s about having that foundation when styling.”
But it wasn’t until she was struck down with a serious illness that she decided to do something about it.
“I got really sick and didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want it to affect my business.”
While she’s always outsourced her financial advice for the business, on the personal front she needed help and so she hired a nanny to help with her son Oscar and a nurse so she could stay at home.
“It made me so determined because I realised that if I am down, the business goes down too.
Being a stylist is often perceived as being glamorous, especially where you are given fabulous clothes to wear. But the truth is Kelly works around the clock and any spare moment she has is dedicated to Oscar.
“I needed to create another business that I was truly passionate about and one that didn’t require me to be there 24/7 in order to generate an income.”
Kelly is experienced enough to know that having her Masculin collection placed in the right Australian designer boutiques and major international online retailers is what matters for now.
“The price point I found really hard. The UK wanted me to put my prices up higher than what we have because they wanted to place us at the higher end, but I didn’t.”
With a career that spans 20 years, Kelly knows that she has to earn her stripes as a fashion designer and avoid insulting her peers, before she embarks on going up against the big names of fashion.
With most of Masculin’s garments constructed using leather and silks from Italy, pieces will sit at a luxe price point in the Australian fashion market.
You can expect to pay somewhere between “Camila and Marc” and “Dion Lee.”
Kelly’s signature piece, which has endearingly been named by her team as the KS Blouse will sell for around $500 and is constructed of a unique quality silk, rose-gold accessories and is multi-functional.
Other standout pieces include two show-stopping blazers which will retail for around $600 and a leather-bomber jacket costing around $1100.
You can pick up Masculin t-shirts and singlets for around $90.
“I have clients that range from 27 years to 70 years of age. And I know that in my range that any woman will find a few things that work for them.”
“Every single piece we have taken consideration of how it will work for the everyday woman.”
Kelly says that becoming a mother is what gave her the strength to take on risks in business.
“I had too – it was just the two of us. As a woman, to be taken seriously in this line of business, we have to work a lot harder than the men.
“I have no issue with this and I’m not trying to prove a point. I’m just trying to be the best I can, financial freedom is an everyday goal for me.”