Maria x Machina: Stylist and Influencer, Maria Molino Turns 40

Influencer, fashion stylist, blogger and social media entrepreneur Maria Molino has built her career with the goal of bringing an attainable and flawless style to everyday life. She got her start almost 20 years ago working as a stylist at a high-end fashion boutique. 

“Growing up I was heavily influenced by my grandmother, Concetta, who was a trained seamstress… Between making her own clothes and the most perfect Halloween costumes for me, it was hard not to pick up a love for fashion and styling. When I was in high school, I was torn between pursuing fashion or Literature. I was always either reading or sketching… In the end I chose Literature upon my mother’s urging because it was “safer”, and that is where I hold a degree. However, I never fully gave up on my passion for fashion. While working on my degree, I also worked two jobs to finance it, and decided that if I was going to work so much, it better be something I enjoy. That’s how I ended up at my first boutique. I seized an opportunity presented to me by the owners and so my career in fashion began. Since then it hasn’t let up.”

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From here, she purchased a collection of smaller boutiques where she discovered her true passion of helping clients amplify their wardrobe and polish their style one on one. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit and caused many business owners to turn to working digitally, Maria followed the same path and transitioned into an online entrepreneur. 

“We were all sort of thrown into this digital arena with COVID– whether we liked it or not. Thankfully, I had already set up my boutique for online ordering at the time, so I was able to transition into selling only online to sell through my remaining stock before closing. In the end, I just wasn’t sure about how the customer experience would look moving forward with the restrictions and the uncertainty of a virus that we knew so little about.”

Through the struggle of running a business at such a trying time, Maria decided it was best to close her boutique as she watched friends and other shops grapple to remain open. Their struggle was how she took the next step in her career from her boutique to online marketing and styling.

“During the height of the pandemic I took on the social media role for the town in which my store, The Haute Maven, had resided. I focused my efforts on trying to market all the local business owners and help keep their businesses going while packing up my own. Some would call it a failure, and there were a few who did, but in the end it was a conscious choice to move forward and adapt to what I felt was a change in the retail climate. I’m very happy that I made that decision now, even though at first it stung a bit.”

Working as a digital entrepreneur, Maria continues her devotion to empowering women and aiding in refining their style and maximizing their wardrobe on her blog, Simply Maria. She started up this platform just a month after shutting down her boutique while working on rebranding herself and heading in a new direction within her career. 

“As always I wanted my focus to remain on style and fashion, but I felt that I had a bit more to offer than just that. As a mother and wife I cook a lot, I throw parties for my kids, I decorate my home. All these things were things I decided would be fun to share. What I hope will be the main takeaway for women, is that being a mom, a wife, and an entrepreneur can all go hand in hand. You don’t have to pick just one. You can have slices of each. By sharing my quick recipes, and simple day to night style suggestions, I hope that I can illustrate that you can in fact be all those people at once.”

Along with running her own blog, she has newly established her own social media marketing company, THM Social, with her many years of personal experience and knowledge. Maria was inspired to kick off this business when she presented an idea to a friend of hers who was part of the creative team at Pretty Woman the Musical in NYC. She suggested that he have the marketing team run a contest for fans who would recreate looks from the show. In the end the marketing team failed to get it done in time, and it was seen by her friend as a largely missed opportunity. He then offered her up to the producer to head the show’s Instagram, and a month later she was running the account for a major Broadway musical!

“It was one of those moments where you realize that things you thought were just hobbies could really be channeled into something productive. A huge “Aha!” moment, made sweeter by getting to work hand in hand with talent such as Bryan Adams, Orfeh & Andy Karl, and Hollywood Producer Paula Wagner. From there, I decided to use my talents in social media marketing for my own brand and that of brands in my hometown, and so THM Social was born.”

After building up her empire for the last 20 years along with being a wife and mother to 2 children, Maria has just celebrated her 40th birthday with a massive celebration! On March 19th, she threw an extravagant party with the theme “Maria x Machina,” her persona take the 2016 Met Gala “Manus x Machina.” 

“It all started with a saved Pinterest photo of metallic rose gold balloons. I had saved it in a folder labeled possible 40th birthday ideas. While looking at it, I thought of an installation I had seen Jeff Leathem do at Four Seasons Paris George V where he used silver metallic orbs. So I started there. Silver orbs. I thought, what if instead of classic florals and colors, I went more futuristic. That’s when it clicked. I immediately googled “Met Gala 2016 photo booth” and the entire theme came together from there. Instead of Manus x Machina: Fashion in the age of technology, it would be Maria x Machina: Maria in the Age of Technology.

Maria x Machina was an entire production. Like most of her parties she dove into a theme and executed it like a stage event! From clothing, to décor and food, she worked to match up everything as perfectly as possible to create an experience, not just a party. This was exciting for Maria, because other than getting married, she hadn’t had a party for herself since she was 15! This time around, she took the idea behind the 2016 Met Gala and turned it into a futuristic display of light and fashion. Guests were presented with silver mirrored invitations and asked to wear white with only silver jewelry, and entered the room through a light tunnel into an exquisite display of silver metallic balloons and the DJ behind his lit up stage display. As the birthday girl she rocked a completely silver custom gown from Christian Siriano and enjoyed a night of glamorous fun!



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