How Philly native Milan Rouge became the owner of a successful fashion brand

Milan Rouge shares his journey in entrepreneurship since the very beginning of this adventure in 2012.

She hasn’t been shy about sharing this journey on her social media accounts because she wants it to serve as an inspiration, showing that while entrepreneurship isn’t as glamorous as others make it out to be, it remains quite fulfilling.

“I want you to see the blood and the tears and the hard work that goes into it,” Rouge said.

Entrepreneur and CEO of fashion brand Milano Di Rouge, shared her journey in person during the Philadelphia leg of the Advancing Black Wealth Tour on Saturday, October 8.

When Rouge started her entrepreneurial journey, she started with two sweatshirts.

She wore one and sold the other, using the money she received from that purchase to buy more. Rouge then began driving around the tri-state area selling t-shirts out of the trunk of his car.

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Josué Figueroa, senior vice president and corporate banking consultant at JPMorgan Chase, moderates the discussion with Milan Rouge.  Photo courtesy of Marcus Branch.
Josué Figueroa, senior vice president and corporate banking consultant at JPMorgan Chase, moderates the discussion with Milan Rouge. Photo courtesy of Marcus Branch.

In 2014, she opened her first warehouse in Kensington.

“People came from all over the tri-state to my warehouse,” Rouge recalled. “So from there I realized there was a demand for a store.”

Initially, she didn’t want to open a physical store, but demand led to her first store opening in 2016.

Along the way, she transitioned from retail to wholesale, which helped add a crucial layer to the success of her business.

At every step of her journey, Rouge has remained true to one motive.

“I’m always looking to be better than the day before,” she said. “I’m never happy, I never feel comfortable. I know there is another level.

Rouge is originally from West Philly. She admits to having a difficult childhood, often fighting and being suspended from school. Her father was also incarcerated for much of her life, leaving her to be raised by a single mother.

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“I come from trials, so I understand the struggle,” she said.

However, this business venture helped her turn her life around and embark on a new path, despite the added challenges of some trying to push her back.

“I had to create tunnel vision to focus on my goals and not let negative influences control my mindset,” Rouge said.

She learned to set boundaries and in 2017 moved to Los Angeles with the intention of continuing to grow and scale her business.

What started as a company that primarily sold t-shirts and sweatshirts has since grown to sell a host of luxury clothing and streetwear.

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“Milano Di Rouge means making dreams come true,” she noted. “Milano is not just a brand, it is a symbol of hope.”

When asked what advice and tips she would give entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, she replied, “Never stop learning.”

“That’s one of the most important things I want you to take away. Always be open to learning new information,” Rouge added.

Learning the stories of other successful entrepreneurs who achieved high levels of success inspired her to keep pushing forward and striving to achieve that status as well.

“The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the work they put in to be successful. We all have it in us, you just have to tap into your greatness,” Rouge said.


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