Nashville Moment: Marcia Masulla
Entrepreneur and fashion expert Marcia Masulla calls on grit, community, and hard work.
Written By: Alison Abbey
Photographers: Lindsey Grace Whiddon
Marcia Masulla, Entrepreneur and Fashion Expert
Marcia Masulla isn’t just another fashionista. Yes, the entrepreneur is co-founder and managing partner of Nashville Fashion Week, which took place earlier this month, but there’s much more to her than a killer wardrobe. She’s a devoted philanthropist, involving herself in numerous charities, including her own, the Tiny But Mighty Fund, which honors the memory of her beloved Chihuahua, Chico.
“A big, annual thing that we do is the Chico Award, which has honored Mayor Megan Barry, Emmylou Harris, and the Titans’ Logan Ryan for their work in the animal welfare and rescue community. We bestow them with an award and donate $1,000 to a 501c3 nonprofit of their choice,” Masulla says. She has helped raise more than $100,000 in five years with the Nashville Humane Association.
>>> Nashville Moment with Nonprofit Founder Liz Veyhl
Giving it all: The Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is an endowed fund that supports the next generation of fashion industry professionals with ties to Middle Tennessee by providing an annual financial award and resources for experiential professional development opportunities.
“Everything goes back to the Fashion Forward Fund. Our first-ever recipient was Julianna Bass, who is headlining our Ready to Wear night this year.”
Fashion isn’t always pretty: “Even though we’re eight years in, it’s still a battle. Last year was our biggest year yet, but it doesn’t get easier. In fashion, just like in entertainment, people pay attention to the end result, but where my passion lies is the process. What does it take to get there? It takes a lot of grit, community, hard work—not just to produce the week, but [to] float it financially.”
Basic instinct: “I’d only been to Nashville once for a photoshoot, but, on my way back to St. Louis, I said, ‘I know it’s crazy, but I just have this intuitive feeling that we should move [there].’ Nashville is a friendly city, but you have to earn your keep here. I went to fashion school [Parson’s School of Design], and owned my own shop [in St. Louis], and I could not find a job folding t-shirts here. It was a huge reality check. But it made me start fresh, made me open my eyes and get to work.”
Hear her “Roar”: “I was laid off last year—a week before Fashion Week. As a single woman, it was frightening. I started to get job offers from out of town, including a really sexy offer to move back to New York. But, for whatever reason—it was that stinking intuition again—I couldn’t pull the trigger. I met with a lot of people here and realized that, instead of offering me jobs, they were saying, ‘How can I work with you?’ I started Roar to do branding, communications, and creative. I work with people that are in fashion, people that are in tech. My clients are in Nashville, St. Louis, and New York, and they’re people I’ve worked with through my philanthropic efforts and Fashion Week. And, now, I get to do this as a living.”