Fresh off the summer debut of her new clothing line HRP, Holly Robinson Peete is preparing busy moms and women for the cooler temperatures with the introduction of her new fall line.
The actress, author, philanthropist, wife and mother of four, added designer to her extensive portfolio earlier this year with HRP by Holly Robinson Peete, which launched exclusively with the home shopping network EVINE Live.
The moment of truth that motivated TV star Holly Robinson Peete to create a clothing line arrived out of intervention from her kids.
“I have moments when my kids are looking at me like, 'Do you see what you’re wearing?' And I’m like, 'I don’t even know what I’m wearing!' because I’m a busy mom I can’t always go from drop offs, to bus stops and car pools back home," confessed Peete. "Sometimes I gotta keep it moving and go to a meeting or even sometimes an audition - so from my perspective, I really wanted to create a line that goes with you and moves with you throughout the day.”
HRP, which retails from $29 to $59, aims at providing fashionable, comfortable and affordable options to fit the busy lifestyles of all women. For the fall season, the ensembles will debut in fabrics of sweater knits, thermals and French terry.
It’s no surprise that Peete drew inspiration from her kids for this project - family has been a major theme in her other ventures which include two books she co-wrote with her twins, a reality TV show on the OWN Network (“For Peete’s Sake”), and her philanthropic organization, the HollyRod Foundation, which she started with her husband, retired NFL quarterback Rodney Peete to support families of children with autism.
In a conversation with NBCBLK, Peete spoke about her passion and experience creating the “HRP” line as well as lessons from her career and motherhood.
NBCBLK: What was the process like for you to create this line?
Holly Robinson Peete: The process was so fun and so inclusive of my lifestyle - of a lifelong dream really... for a long time I wanted to do a line certainly [a] comfortable casual line, that didn't sacrifice style. Because, as a busy working mom I get up at 6 a.m. on the weekday...and sometimes I roll out of bed and get in the car and drive somewhere and fashion doesn’t always follow me out the door.
I have moments when my kids are looking at me like do you see what you’re wearing and I’m like I don’t even know what I’m wearing - because I’m a busy mom I can’t always go from drop offs, to bus stops and car pools back home.
Sometimes I gotta keep it moving and go to a meeting or even sometimes an audition - so from my perspective, I really wanted to create a line that goes with you and moves with you throughout the day [and] that allows you to conquer the world in style, comfort and fashion.
Was that your main reason for launching the line?
Oh absolutely! And something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve met with many companies over the years and you know they say timing is everything and I’m really excited about this partnership with EVINE Live. They are like a family over there and they get what my message is to women.
I want whoever wears the Holly Robinson Peete line to be happy, relaxed and pretty - and we didn’t just come up with that because it’s HRP, but those are just some of the adjectives we kind of threw around and I was like wait, hold on, that’s HRP.
So, everything just seemed to come together with this lifestyle brand... people are starting to send me photographs of them in the clothes and it’s exciting.
You’re a celebrity and you have celebrity friends, so why make this line affordable?
Even though I’m out here in LA and I hobnob with people and I know everybody and I’ve been on TV, I am a keep-it-real mom.
Kids and family keep you very real and grounded and I’m a very real and grounded woman, no matter how I can clean up. We’re all as moms, wives, [and] working women, doing too much and life—it keeps moving and coming at you.
As far as the affordability, I didn’t want to hear someone say to me, “I love that dress, I love your line, but I can’t afford it.” That would break my heart and I do a lot of charity work so affordability was so key.
What is a day in your life like?
It’s very very scattered. A lot of people tell me, “girl you look like you have it all together,” and my kids giggle because I am a hot mommy mess.
My typical day starts at six in the morning - on the dot. There’s no margin for error, no snooze button, and I get up and I’m in constant motion all day, from hopping in the car to taking the kids directly to school or to carpool, or depending on what time we get up, if we miss that bus, I gotta make that ride to school.
Then usually I go from there to a meeting. I have a foundation so I do my charity work. I still audition after all these years in the business. I’m still pounding the pavement. I travel a lot - and it’s nice to be able to throw on clothes that move with me, that I’m comfortable in, and that I can throw in a bag.
What are some lessons that you’ve learned on being an entrepreneur and do you see yourself as being an example for women in terms of this line that you’ve created?
I do. Being an entrepreneur is key. We have to - we all have to learn how to brand ourselves and be self-made. It’s great to go to work every day, feel blessed to have a job and a paycheck, but in the meantime, women, especially busy working women have to keep it moving. I’m no different from that. Yes I’ve been on TV for years and I’ve been blessed to have a long career, but you know, I have to reinvent.
I’m a woman over 50 in a very unforgiving town that really doesn’t love age and doesn’t embrace age and so I have to keep it moving anyway I can. I think to the extent that I’m reinventing, to the extent that women need to reinvent and constantly change as your life evolves, I think that I am trying to set that example.
I know that I’m trying to set that example for my kids and especially my daughter that each version of you, you have to evolve and be open to changing, and often times that means career and all kind of other aspects of life.
What’s the latest with your philanthropic work and other ventures?
We have a son with autism and we did our reality project “For Peete’s Sake” partly because we wanted to show families who are impacted by autism, and any special needs, that these kids are valuable, they’re hireable and they’re becoming adults and we have to as a community embrace them. My son RJ’s story I think has resonated with the country.
Also I have two books out. I have “Same But Different” which is a book that I’m so proud of that I co-wrote with my twins, Ryan and RJ about teen life with autism. The other book we had before that called “My Brother Charlie” is doing really well. It’s a kids book about autism.
We [also] have our big, giant HollyRod Foundation gala. The job of a philanthropist and fundraising is not for the thin-skinned and it’s a full-time job so I always keep that at the forefront of my life.
What’s next for the fashion line?
My debut went really well, we sold out of a lot of things. I’m just really just excited to continue this venture and just really happy that people are connecting with the brand, the HRP brand and excited to just continue to grow that.