Photo Credit: Milano Di Rouge
Milano Di Rouge Founder Shares Her Favorite Philly Hotspots And More
Milan Harris, creator of popular fashion brand Milano Di Rouge, is a Philly girl through and through. Her Philadelphia upbringing heavily influenced not only her fashion sense, but her hustle and entrepreneurial spirit, as well. It has played a major role in her and her brand having become as successful as they are today.
“I grew up around a lot of hustlers,” Milan told Travel Noire. “They hustled illegally, but being around them, I saw that they were literally businessmen. My mindset was, if they can do this, then I can do it, too. I learned the hustle, the grit, and not taking no for an answer. Just opening doors and defying all the odds.”
Having grown up in the hood, Milan credits the toughness and grit of Philly with giving her resilience and a healthy sense of humor.
“I feel like Philly made me who I am. Growing up in Philly was a little hard. When you grow up struggling, the only thing that keeps you sane is your humor and being able to laugh and crack jokes. I salute anybody who made it from Philly. There’s a lot of challenges, so just being able to overcome those challenges is a blessing.”
Milan started her Milano Di Rouge brand in 2012. A hair stylist at the time, she decided to launch a blog when one of her clients, who was moving out of state, suggested it as a way for her to continue receiving Milan’s priceless love, dating, fashion, and motivational advice. The blog was a hit, and after three months, it had reached 100,000 views.
“I said, let me give them a product that I really believe in, so I started Milano Di Rouge with two sweatshirts. I wore one and sold the other, and then just continuously flipped my money.”
Today, Milano Di Rouge offers a full line of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, outerwear, and a variety of accessories. After having her son last year, Milan began to focus heavily on her baby and kids collections.
“I really invested my time and energy into making the best quality kids sweatsuits, blankets, and onesies. I wanted them to feel luxurious. I wouldn’t accept anything less for my son, so I made sure I put my all into this baby collection.”
When home in Philly, Milan is big on supporting the city’s Black-owned restaurant and fashion businesses, and has some recommendations for those looking to experience the best Philadelphia has to offer when visiting.
Where to eat in Philly
“You have to eat at Tasties. Her food is delicious. I go there all the time when I’m in Philly, and I love the buffalo shrimp. Also, Country Cookin’. The owner, Saudia, is amazing. She does so much giving back to the community. Her macaroni and cheese, her yams, and her string beans…everything is just so delicious.”
As a self-proclaimed seafood connoisseur, Milan is also a big fan of Jordan Johnson’s Gourmet Seafood. And when it comes to the iconic Philly cheesesteak, Milan’s personal favorites in the city can be found at Ishkabibble’s and Larry’s Steaks on 54th Street.
“Also, when you come to Philly, you gotta get some water ice. It’s a Philly thing. I feel like we have the best food ever. We are really known for our food.”
Best places to Shop
When it comes to shopping, Philly has something for everyone. A city that’s all about fashion, you’re sure to get your fix, whether it’s luxury designer brands you seek or small businesses offering unique one-of-a-kind pieces.
“We have a lot of amazing stores. If you’re looking for luxury, you can go to King of Prussia Mall. It’s a really beautiful, modernized mall. You can also shop in Center City. But we do have some amazing small businesses, too. There’s Spergo, run by a 16-year-old kid who has a really great brand and store. There’s Lovello, Hmn Alns (AKA Human Aliens), and Leon. We have some really great quality clothing.”
Philly beyond food and fashion
But there’s more to Philly than just fashion and food. Rich in history and home to notable attractions like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there is plenty to do and see for everyone from solo travelers to families traveling with children. Looking for some options your kids will love? Milan recommends the Please Touch Museum.
“I’ve been going since I was a kid, and it’s now been completely redone. We also have the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo. We have a lot of iconic historic landmarks here. I would say take a tour. It’s a really cool place outside of the hood.”
Favorite Milano di Rouge travel spots
Outside of Philly, some of Milan’s favorite places she’s traveled to include Bali, Dubai, and LA.
“Bali was just so peaceful. I felt the biggest sense of peace and gratitude there. Another place I really love and found magical is Dubai. It seems like they have made whatever you can think of. I also love LA. There’s just something about the air.”
Milan’s favorite LA food spots include Volcano, Happy Ice, and College Boy Cheesesteaks. Having dedicated so much of the past nine years to working and building her brand, Milan says she will be making it a priority to travel more often and experience more of the world.
“I’ve just been working, working, working. My goal now is to hit up Travel Noire for bucket list ideas and see some cool things. I want to start living more.”
However, Milan is aware that hard work and sacrifice is a part of the territory that comes along with running a successful business. Recently, the fashion entrepreneur has started getting into real estate and investing in stocks. Like many other business owners, the pandemic opened her eyes and helped her understand the benefits of taking advantage of ownership.
“Once the pandemic hit, a lot of business owners, we were really scared. I felt like I’m in this position, I’m making money, but what do I really own? So, I’ve started to focus on real estate and started investing in stocks. Right now I have 12 properties in total, but my goal is to continue to invest in real estate and to continue to create generational wealth for myself and my family.”
For others who may be interested in investing but unsure how or where to start, Milan suggests following and learning from others who are experienced in investing.
“Whatever you see daily is what starts to inspire you, so seeing it on your timeline will motivate you to start. I kept seeing people talking about crypto and stocks, so I downloaded a stock app. I started with Robinhood. I asked my trainer what he recommended, and he suggested Tesla, so without any knowledge, I just invested. I knew if I didn’t put my money up, I would have delayed it. So, because I had put my money into it, it made me start to look into it and research it as I went along.”
Another piece of valuable advice the business maven has for entrepreneurs looking to grow and succeed, is “If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.”
“I adopted this mantra for my brand and for myself. Don’t be content. Don’t be comfortable. Just constantly try to revamp yourself, grow, and learn. If you do that, you’ll always win.”
You can support Milano Di Rouge by shopping at www.milanodirouge.com or the brand’s flagship store at 1509 Spring Garden St. in Philadelphia, which will soon be reopening. However, Milan says, shopping the brand isn’t the only way to support it.
“Milano Di Rouge represents ‘making dreams reality,’ so if you’re making your dream a reality, you’re supporting the brand. I want you to win. If you’re winning, we’re winning, together.”