ENTREPRENEUR feature: Gingie McLeod of SAINT CHiC
Gingie McLeod, one of WEALF’s first participants, founded SAINT CHIC, believes that the customer is the celebrity and SAINT CHiC the wardrobe stylists. Gingie, a Fashion Institute of Technology & Parsons School of Design graduate, has trained with iconic and ready-to-wear designers including Christian LaCroix and Tracy Reese and has contributed couture and styling work for media and boutiques nationally and internationally, including MTV, VH1, Lifetime TV, Patricia Fields, The Whitney Biennial and many more. This experience and media savvy has gained her a substantial following and she has transformed her business from a production company to an online platform. Her brand curated website features a combination of items that are fashionably trendy, intriguing, and novel either of her own design or from other suppliers. The most popular item on the site is her signature, Paparazzi visors. Gingie’s talents extend beyond fashion; she has used her marketing, acute business sense, and entrepreneurial skills to become a pro at Social Media. Her success with Instagram is acknowledged by the platform itself. In 2019, Instagram did a study of her ads, as a model and put her success story on its page.
Nowhere is the combination of Gingie’s business and design talents better demonstrated than through the creation of the original Paparazzi visor, her signature product in 2014. When Gingie watched the girlfriend of former NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, hiding her face from reporters with a visor after Sterling made racist comments, Gingie seized the opportunity to create a public relations sensation; quickly designing and promoting her visors. The Paparazzi visors were an immediate hit, and Gingie grew her business, customizing the visor for consumers with different colors and designs. She has continued to build on that success and diversified her offerings to include a wide range of fashions on the SAINT CHiC website.
HISTORY WITH WEALF: The first time Gingie applied for a loan WEALF, she was turned down. She reapplied the following year and WEALF was impressed with her determination and talents. Gingie received her first loan and mentor in September of 2012. At that time, she was focused on designing her fashions and contract manufacturing for others. Her fashion sense was obvious, as was her flair for being a trendsetter. However, she was having a hard time getting traction. A single Mom, Gingie took on various jobs to support her family while pursuing her business, each time using her understanding of fashion to add value to her clients. Her understanding of the changing retail environment led her to launch her fashion brand curated website, and WEALF provided her a second loan in March of 2018 to provide necessary working capital. The site has found its mark. Gingie has built an impressive group of devoted followers who visit her site frequently. Gingie’s considerable talent, intelligence, and determination have earned her recognition as a true entrepreneur.