Interview With Founder Of Wheels & Dollbaby Melanie Greensmith
Founder/owner of renowned fashion label Wheels & Dollbaby, Melanie Greensmith. Once we’d finally figured out the time difference between Australia and NYC, (which is an astonishing 15 hours) we had a wonderful conversation about her awesome label and her designs. We discussed how she started out, Micheal Jackson being a her first customer, celebrating curves and various other facets of info that our Galore audience will love and learn from. Melanie’s passion and accomplishments are undeniable so we’re waiting for the moment we get to step into a Wheels & Dollbaby in America, (preferably NYC please).
Where does your brand name come from?
It comes from a TV show Get Smart, it was out in the 80’s. It was about spies and it was big in America, not so much in England. They were called Max & 99, the episode was called Wheels & Dollbaby, they went undercover and they became rockers.
What is your mission with the brand?
It began with me designing for musician friends of mine. When I was 19 I went back to London and it was really happening then. Galliano had a store there. and I think I was really lucky to be there in that time because that was when I got inspired into fashion. So I came back to Australia and started doing my own stuff. I am very much into French designs and I love interiors so I mixed the two up. I didn’t go to school to learn design or anything, I just started making cool stuff and little rubber skirts and it just evolved from there. I have had it now for 29 years.
What are you best known for?
I think they really come to us to get a sexy corset dress. I do know how to cut a fabulous corset dress. I design all the prints myself. It’s not something you see everywhere. Cool girls don’t want to wear something that everyone else has got. They don’t want to see the same fabrics. We are pretty unique in that sense. We don’t sell to department stores. We sell online and we have our flagship store here.
How many locations do you own?
Just one in Sydney that’s been here since the first day. Michael Jackson was actually our first customer ever. At the time I was doing these little rocker jackets with all these gray studded things. They were these cool vintage jackets and he bought one of those. That was in ’87, he was in Sydney touring. So then I quickly called MTV and they did a story that pretty much launched us.
How has America responded to your brand?
Since Michael Jackson I have worked with a lot of celebrities. I did a collaboration with Dita Von Teese. We did a little cardigan for her, so a lot of American girls have seen us through that. Katy Perry is a fan of us as well. We did a shoot with her, and my boyfriend introduced us because he is a musician. So since then, we clicked and we do a lot of stuff together now. Once she went public then Dita wanted to do it.
Who is your target audience?
Its actually very broad. We have a lot of kids, because of Katy Perry, and we sell to 50 year olds because Jerry Hall wears our stuff, so older hot chicks too.
What can we expect from this coming collection?
I shot the campaign in the apartment that I live in and its kind of a 1930s Spanish mission building, so its just very glamorous, its got a lot of electric blue fake fur, and angoras, very 1950’s sweater girl. It’s always about glamour and making girls feel hot.
What else is coming up next?
Operation America. Then dressing girls I like and who I see on Instagram, like your cover girl Gia Genevieve. She is very hot, it’s a very refreshing body type to see. That’s what it’s all about, the curves.
Are you looking to open a store here?
I’d like to in either New York or LA. We had a lot of success in England in 2004 and Kate was big so she started wearing my stuff out. We had concessions in Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols for about 2 years, but then the economy went bad so we pulled out because all of the department stores were losing money but around that time we sort of tried to make it to America but at that time they thought we were too sexy. But I think times have changed now, we’re ready!
Interview by @FrankieFatGold