I feel like when I carry a bigger bag, it looks like it’s a huge bag because I’m really tiny. But I do think it’s important to have the space that you need, because we throw everything in our bags at all times. I think every woman does. Mary-Kate Olsen
Not often does one get to see child stars to have massive careers when they grow up into adults. It’s all the more unusual for them to switch their careers and yet stay relevant in a field that is completely distinct. But it has been a truth for the Olsen Twins — Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The duo started their careers when they were just six months! And at 34 today, they have indeed made an impact in the world.
The two, who played as the infant Michelle Tanner on the television series ‘Full House’ in the late 1980s, did their final film together in 2004 — ‘New York Minute’ — and eventually took over the fashion world. In 2006, the Olsen Twins launched their brand ‘The Row’ and followed that up with ‘Elizabeth & James’ (named after their younger sister Elizabeth and older brother Trent) next which saw their economic status blossoming. The Olsen Twins, in fact, earned good when they played the role of Michelle Tanner. According to The Washington Post, the sisters initially earned more than $2,000 per episode on ‘Full House’ and in the middle of the series, that pay went up to $25,000 per episode. Even later, as the character of Michelle became more popular, the twins were earning $80,000 an episode.
The careers in acting did give the pair fame and post ‘Full House’, the twins went on to make a big name in the film industry. By 2007, the duo had a combined net worth of $100 million. But it was only half of their success story. The fashion label catapulted them to the zenith and according to Celebrity Net Worth their combined worth now is $500 million.
1. The twins have made a huge name in the fashion industry
If one analyzes the Olsen Twins’ fame only by their acting careers, it would be incomplete. The sisters have smartly cashed in on their brand image. Their branding has been successful not only because of big-time associations but also licensing images to official Olsen Twins products like books, school materials, apparel, etc. Their readymade clothing line is a huge hit in North America. In 2004, the twins grabbed the headlines for allowing complete maternity leave to all workers who sew their clothes in Bangladesh, a developing nation in South Asia. The twins have always been careful about workers’ rights and that has earned them praise from various quarters, including the National Labor Committee.
The Olsen Twins have also taken complete care of style factors. As they grew up, the sisters attracted people for their boho-chic style which became popular in places like Britain. In 2006, the Olsen Twins were identified as the faces of Badgley Mischka.
The Olsen Twins have associated themselves with other fashion lines including a women’s clothing line for J.C. Penney called ‘Olsenboye’ and a T-shirt line called ‘StyleMint’. They also came up with ‘Influence’ — a book featuring interviews of noted names linked with the fashion industry. They also started a new fashion line in Norway in 2013.
The Olsen Twins’ interest in exploring the fashion industry became evident when they announced in August 2018 that they would launch a line for men as well. In an interview with WSJ Magazine, the pair brought it to light saying the new line will offer denim pieces, knits, suits, etc.
The Olsen Twins have won accolades in both the film and fashion industries. While they have four Young Artists Awards, two Kids Choices Awards besides a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004, they have also won the Wall Street Journal Magazine Innovator of the Year Award in 2012. They were also picked as the Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2012 and 2015 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). In 2014, the Olsen Twins were named Accessories Designer of the Year by the CFDA.
2. 5 things to learn from the Olsen Twins:
The way the power duo has made its fortune in the fashion industry even after having a start in the acting industry — no praise can be enough. How they could switch their bases and yet made it big? They have done it successfully because they have followed certain rules in their journey. Here are five lessons that any ambitious entrepreneur can learn from them:
3. Make the best use of the family factor:
The history of entrepreneurship shows that families have become divided at times over members’ clashing ambitions but the Olsen Twins have shown that the reverse can be profitable by far. A key lesson that the duo’s success story offers is that the siblings have never stopped backing each other and that is a huge thing. Blood relations by birth do not always guarantee success in business ventures but Maty-Kate and Ashley have shown that they make up an unbeatable pair. As Mary-Kate once said about her relationship with Ashley: “We have been roommates our whole life”. Their camaraderie has seen two brains merging into one and that is a deadly recipe for success. Besides, the two women have always been family persons who have put their near and dear ones first. They have also launched brands after their other sister Elizabeth and brother James (known more as Trent) which makes this family bonding evident.
4. Taking inspiration from strong people you find around you:
Just like many ambitious entrepreneurs take confidence from the success stories of the Olsen Twins, the sisters themselves have also done something similar. They have also taken encouragement from strong inspirational women, including the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and Lauren Hutton, some of the big names related to the fashion and acting industries.
5. Work hard till you make the peak:
When the Olsen Twins were trying to make a foray into the fashion industry, not many were keen to take them seriously. Even as actresses, they were mostly judged by the films they made in their teens. But the twins proved their critics wrong down the line and that did not come in a day. Years of hard work and the hunger for success eventually took them to success and in their mid-30s, the Olsen Twins are among the world’s most influential business-women. The way the two channelized their childhood stardom into super success in the fashion industry, it is simply incredible. For those who want to know more about the story of the twins and the inspiration that propelled their work, check out their 2008 book ‘Influence’.
6. Follow your own style:
One major reason for the success of the Olsen Twins is that they never betrayed their own style. Their looks and styles have been criticized at different points of time but they never changed them and gradually emerged into style envy for several. The two sisters have their own signature styles that have helped them maintain a distinctiveness amid the joint ventures and that’s a unique appeal. The two are always glued to their original visions and are ruthless perfectionists when it comes to executing their visions. Their products aren’t released till they are foolproof and these are the ingredients of their overwhelming success. The Olsen Twins also keep a low profile and do not get into pushing their products. Their public appearances are never random. In a way, they are professionals who mean business.
7. Exploring the world around you:
Closed minds do not meet success easily and the Olsen Twins have shown that. The sisters love to travel around the world which in turn, gives them the all-important exposure and lessons in life and business that they can apply in their ventures. The richness that global exposure brings to people’s understanding of things is something unmatched and the Olsen Twins were quick to sense it and made full use of it.
Hello, I enjoy reading through your post. Great to be a part of a circle of women.
Thank you Susie for the comment, glad to have you.