While you were sleeping, one of the most recognizable voices in morning radio dropped a new clothing company, and we have to admit — it’s darling. Kellie Rasberry, co-host of The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show and a self-proclaimed “all black everything” kind of gal, launched a mother-and-daughter e-commerce called Emma Kelly and Me (EK&M) on Oct. 17, and — from the looks of it — this isn’t her first time to the fashion rodeo.
Just fresh off celebrating 25 years in Dallas, the Kidd Nation celebrity hit another milestone by taking the leap into "fashionpreneurship."
“My father owned every type of business … a car business, shoe business, westernwear business, photo development business, car repair shop business, etc. My dad did all of that,” Rasberry says. “I started selling shoes when I was 11 or 12 because we were in South Carolina … were there laws about that? I don’t know. I just liked earning my own money.”
With a knack for entrepreneurship and the itch for something new, Rasberry — the bubbly, often sensible voice of reason for the popular KISS FM show — craved something more to pour her talents into, and something that she could ultimately build a community around.
“I just needed something new,” the DJ says. “I needed a creative outlet, something different than what I’ve ever done before. I was looking for a project that I could do outside of radio because my whole identity has been tied so much into it for so long.”
Back in 2014, popular Wall Street Journal fashion journalist Teri Agins coined the term for celebrity-influenced fashion lines and collections as “hijacking the runway.” But unlike the designs of Kanye West or the brands of Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and others, Rasberry claims to be no fashion expert, diva or icon — it’s really about filling the void for her fellow mamas, and for young girls like her daughter, soon-to-be teenager Emma Kelly. There’s no “hijacking” of any sort here — so you can hang your celebrity get-rich-quick theories up at the door.
“We’re learning as we go,” Rasberry admits. “We’re not trying to pretend like we’ve got this all figured out. It’s a family operation.” With Emma Kelly on visuals, Kellie acting as buyer and husband Allen as marketing director, the Emma Kelly and Me operations is as mom and pop as it gets — at least for now.
But let’s talk fashion. “Elevated basics” is the term that the veteran radio host uses to describe her 2019 fall collection, which ranges from versatile blouses, midi skirts, cardigan jackets and our personal favorite — the “WannaBettaButt” jeans. Is it trendy? Kind of. Revealing? Not so much. Multi-purpose? Absolutely.
“My vision was to do an affordable line of quality, good basics that will always last, like a great black pencil skirt or a great blazer," Rasberry says. "Some people call me cheap, but I just don’t like wasting money on garbage that’s going to fall apart. I’m trying to find clothes that are fashionable and that will stand the test of time.”
Although trends and current styles play an important role in the new EK&M store, sourcing age-appropriate attire for both audiences of women and “women-in-training” (young women) has proved to be challenging. Currently the store sells separates for women, selected by Rasberry. Eventually, future collections will house apparel and accessories designated by Emma Kelly.
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“Trying to find something that is age appropriate and modest, that [Emma Kelly] still wants to wear … now that’s a dilemma," Rasberry admits. "As a parent, your kids are going to push you to be sexy. When you go shopping, your choices are old maid or sexy — there’s not that nice in between, so I’m trying to find that nice in between."
Price points vary on EK&M pieces with some as low as $49, such as the StreetSmart Sequins Midi Skirt; to $99 for the hair on hide animal print Kellie Clutch. With the brand’s increase in popularity, don’t expect these fashionistas to go Hollywood anytime soon. Keeping the costs affordable will continue to be the name of the EK&M game.
As for the future, the mom and daughter crew will look to plus size fashions, more “women-in-training” apparel on the Emma Kelly side of the store and strategic collaborations similar to the partnership they currently have with popular retailer Parker & Hyde. Despite all of the above, Rasberry admits that confidence is the number one accessory they aim to sell.
“If Emma Kelly & Me can help a woman feel confident by wearing our clothing, then we have done a beautiful thing,” Rasberry writes on the site. “Confidence is beautiful.”