December 16th, 2010
Angela Simmons, Fashion News, Video
Angela and Vanessa Simmons Talk to Black Enterprise about Building their Pastry Empire
By Claire

Vanessa and Angela Simmons chatted with Black Enterprise about how they built their Pastry empire from four sneakers to having a children’s line, Barbie dolls, and even sportswear:

Check out the video here:


What do you think of Pastry shoes? Are you a fan?
Read the girls’ interview with Black Enterprise below:
Article written by Janell Hazelwood.

Yes, the sisterpreneurs Vanessa, 27, and Angela, 23, Simmons are the daughters of hip-hop pioneer Rev. Run (of Run DMC fame) and nieces of uber-entreprenuerRussell Simmons. And yes, the young ladies didenter our lives (and our consciousness) thanks to reality TV.

But these young women were determined to make a name for themselves by going beyond simply leveraging their TV success. Instead, they positioned themselves to call their own shots by getting their feet wet as young entrepreneurs. The result? Pastry Footwear, their successful clothing and accessories line. Since launching Pastry in 2007 with one sneaker collection, the company has expanded into a multimillion-dollar brand that includes junior apparel, dress shoes, kidswear, accessories, and handbags, and is sold in more than 15 countries–all under the design, concept and constant management of the sisters themselves.

BlackEnterprise.com talked with Vanessa and Angela about the perks and sticky points of working with family, about how challenges can serve as motivation, and about their plans to go beyond gear and get young women moving by promoting fitness.

LESSON 1: Just because you’re given a golden chance, doesn’t mean you can just kick your feet up.

Angela: Nothing’s given to you, because once you get the opportunity, you still have to put in the work. We’re hands on [with the business]: We have meetings, take calls, choose what we like, what we don’t like. We pick colors and fabrics.

Vanessa: At the end of the day, men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t. Results have motivated me to keep going despite challenges or naysayers.

Read the rest here.

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17 Responses to “Angela and Vanessa Simmons Talk to Black Enterprise about Building their Pastry Empire”

  1. DyShaun says:

    I am a fan of their line for my girls, 13 and 10. They had some great flat boots this year and most of their items come in those colors that these “new kids” like.

    Great pricing too. We like it.

  2. [...] Photo and article via Black Enterprise Video via TheFashionBombDaily [...]

  3. LoudPen says:

    I love the Simmons sisters! Such an inspiration! I really appreciate their advice since I’m a budding entrepreneur as well. Thanks for posting this Claire!

  4. Grace says:

    Let’s cut the ish, the likelihood of those gaudy shoes taking off w/o the Simmons name would probably have been relatively nil.

    With that being said, people have been helping out their families for generations. It would be foolish not to; that’s how wealth is built. No one should apologize for who they are or not take full advantage of their opportunities.

  5. binks says:

    I think the line is cute for girls, as an young adult they don’t really appeal to me well at least the stuff I seen in stores. But I say congrats to them, I like their drive and ambition. Sure their name helped them out but they did the leg work to guarantee it would be a success.

  6. Lola says:

    Bishes please!!! your parents did everything for you and now you socialites want to act like savvy business woman? LOL!!!!! SIT YOUR CRUST ASSES DOWN.

  7. Layla says:

    I like them, but can’t help giving a strong side eye to their ‘entrepreneurship.’ We know Daddy’s Little Girls got Daddy’s Money to start their company. Why they’re getting shine is beyond me. Respect your hustle, but no need writing lauditory articles about their work. I just don’t buy it. Or their shoes.

  8. Angela and Vanessa are amazing! Love the girls. Yes, they got a helping hand, but THEY identified the gap in the market. Not their dad, not uncle Russ, not Nike or Puma – Ang and Vanessa did.

    Got to give them props! Hope to meet them :D

  9. I’m glad to see that these 2 are doing so well (even though I’m not the biggest fan of their shoes, not really my style). I think it’s wonderful for young people to go out and start their own businesses instead of relying on mommy and daddy, BUT i totally agree with Layla. Majority of young entrepreneurs aren’t fortunate enough to have wealthy parents who can provide the necessary funds for starting their business so these 2 definitely had a leg up in that aspect. Also, their names and faces were already very prominently known and they were able to start promoting their shoes through their television show which was already being watched by thousands, if not millions of people. Not that these things take anything away from what they are doing, since there are certainly a lot of celebrities who try to start their own side hustle but fail tremendously, but I’m not as impressed with their company as I would be by a company who started everything from scratch.

  10. Coco says:

    I hear alot of hating !!! Im proud of them no matter who family they are apart of…just because they have money well their parents have money is no reason for them not to be successful too. I think this is great for young black girls to see other positive black young women.

    STOP HATING!!!

  11. Lola says:

    Coco
    No one is hating. We are all happy to see young and successful black women. However, they need to stop trying to act like savvy business ladies. Their “empire” was built from scratch by their dad. Without his name and money, they will be nowhere. There are REAL BUSINESS WOMEN OUT THERE who started from the basics, with zero income and no name advantage. Those are the women who should be talking to the black masses about building businesses.

  12. Fashionbum82 says:

    i love the Simmons girls to death but I am gonna have to go with Lola on this one this would not be an “empire” without the name behind it. If they were so hungry they would have done it without there dad and uncle.

  13. LoudPen says:

    I feel what some of y’all are saying about there being other business women out there who build businesses from scratch without name recognition and family money. And if you read Black Enterprise…you’d know they DO spotlight those types of women and men regularly and have been doing so for 20 plus years. I believe the Fashion Bomb chose this story because it’s fashion related and this site has covered the Simmons sisters in the past so I feel that this post was an update.

    I feel that it is unfair to criticize the Simmons sisters for taking advantage of their name & their family’s money. They didn’t ask to be born in the family they were born in, so you can’t fault them for that. If I had their name & money, I’d do the same thing. Remember you network is your net worth.

  14. Jules says:

    The hate towards the Simmons’ duo is tacky! These two are doing BIG things.. they run their company – NOT THEIR DAD. I commend their hardwork! They are beautiful & deserve everything that comes with it.

  15. zy says:

    ^5 Grace… I totally agree with the sentiment. their shoes are not cute, IMO but regardless, they’re doing it. they’ve built an empire and are running it together. there’s nothing wrong with their family helping them start their business or even pushing it. if they were white… that’s exactly what they would be doing and NOONE would have a problem with it. I applaud them for their business ethic. wealth begets wealth.

  16. Lex says:

    Good for them! I didn’t realize Pastry was a $50 million business. I’ve never seen anyone not even a baby in Pastry. I don’t even know where its sold because I’ve never seen it in stores. I’m glad they took initiative and stepped out their own. If I find it I would buy it just to support them.

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