Those who know Melissa Gorga best have been following her and her Italian family on the Real Housewives of New Jersey since their debut on Bravo a decade ago. Melissa has made her mark in Montclair by opening her own business, Envy by Melissa Gorga, five years ago at 609 Bloomfield Avenue. Montclair Girl caught up with the reality star over the phone and talked with Melissa about becoming a boss babe, being part of the Montclair community, and how being part of RHONJ has boosted her success in the fashion industry. Read on below for Montclair Girl’s exclusive Q&A with Melissa Gorga.
(Photo credit: @envybymg)
The Montclair Girl: First off, are you and your family enjoying the summer so far?
Melissa Gorga: I’m at the Jersey Shore right now. Fourth of July starts the summer for us because our kids (Antonia, 15; Gino, 13; and Joey, 11) do not get out of school until the end of June. We’re getting ready to build this [new] house. We did buy a property that we’re renovating right now — we’re pretty much knocking the house down. It’s in Franklin Lakes. We are in a rental while we are building our new home. It’s going to be amazing. We’re excited about that. It’s just starting everything new, which is pretty exciting.
MG: Tell us about opening Envy by Melissa Gorga. How did the store come to be?
MG: I love fashion. Fashion is so fun for me, style is fun for me. I was just sick of wearing all of these clothes and everyone was always asking me, from being on the show, like ‘where did you get this?’ and ‘where did you get that?’ I was sending everyone everywhere else. I was like, ‘No I need to wear what I pick from my own store and they can come to buy it from me if they like it.’ I just decided to create Envy.
MG: Why did you pick Montclair to have your store’s location?
MG: I really wanted Montclair. It’s just one of those towns that are known for its shopping and restaurants. I went straight to Montclair. I didn’t even look in another town. I just wanted to find a great space and I did. It was an old hair salon and we switched it into the boutique.
(Photo credit: @envybymg)
MG: What are your favorite local spots in Montclair?
MG: Coffee’s at Starbucks for me. I love Hand and Stone. It’s across the street. I get massages there, I get facials there. I go to dinner at Fresco da Franco. I love Scala Del Nonna. I love Faubourg, it is an amazing restaurant. Those are definitely some of my favorites.
MG: How would you describe a typical day as the owner of Envy?
MG: I’m looking at line sheets I would say at least five times a day. We’re going through sales, we’re seeing what’s moving, we’re seeing what’s not moving. I am the buyer for this store. There is no one else in the store that picks anything that is in Envy. I pick every single article of clothing. It’s a lot of work on the back end that I think people don’t realize. It’s not just about being in the store. I’m constantly in New York, I’m in the showrooms, and I have to keep it current and I have to keep it fresh and new because there’s a lot of competition out there.
MG: How do you balance being a mom, wife, and running your own store?
MG: That’s always the tricky part. That’s always the hard part and it’s never easy to figure it out. There’s a lot of mom guilt going on and there will always be a lot of mom guilt. That just goes with the territory, but I’m very happy that I’m in a space where my kids are a little older. It’s okay, I can call them, I can FaceTime them, but I gotta go to work. Just like the daddies go to work, the mommies do too. Sometimes it’s hard in my own head just balancing it all, but I make it work and listen, I never stop. I’m 24/7, whether it’s my kids or work or Joe (her husband). That’s literally all I do.
^Melissa and her daughter, Antonia (Photo credit: Envy by MG Facebook)
MG: Are you at the shop often? Will fans get to see you if they stop by?
MG: I’m there a lot, and a lot of people get so surprised when they walk in and I’m in the stock room and I come out the back. Half the time I’m a hot mess and they just laugh. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re really here?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, who do you think runs this?’ I have an amazing store manager who helps me and she’s great, but other than that it’s all me.
MG: Have you had a lot of celebrity visits?
MG: I feel like I’ve definitely had so many. I’ve definitely had all the Housewives on the other shows. They are always texting me and asking to send them this or send them that. They love whatever I have on. Gia Guidice is a big fan of the store so she’s there a lot. I get support from all the girls on my cast.
MG: What are the hot sellers at Envy at the moment?
MG: Rompers, jumpers. People love athleisure wear. They love the easy-breezy casual sets. I sell a lot of matching sets with pants and shirts to match. Easy and casual, but also trendy and cute. That’s what I sell the most of.
MG: What’s your must-have summer product?
MG: Bikini Zone’s anti-bumps shave gel. I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s hard to find the right product and this is honestly the only product on the market that takes the little bumps away and the irritation. It truly is amazing. I have everyone hooked on it! It’s literally the only product that works and it’s really the only affordable product out there that works.
MG: Let’s talk about the Housewives! What’s been your favorite season ever?
MG: I think Season 4 was definitely my favorite. Season 3 was too crazy, Season 4 was definitely my favorite when we all went to Napa Valley and I did a lot of the music and I performed. Season 4 was just great and definitely fun for me.
MG: Who from the past would you bring back to RHONJ?
MG: Caroline Manzo. I always say she was just great TV, you know.
MG: If you could pick one housewife from the other shows to join Real Housewives of New Jersey, who would it be?
MG: I think Kyle Richards. I would love to have Kyle join us. [The Real Housewives spinoff on Peacock] is hysterical — wait ‘til everyone sees that! It was so amazing.
^ Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, and Kyle Richards wearing Envy’s matching pajama sets (Photo credit: @envybymg)
MG: Envy celebrated its five-year anniversary earlier this year. What’s that feeling like for you to see how far it’s come and how successful it’s come?
MG: One of the greatest things that came from this crazy show that I’m on is the fact that I have Envy. It is such a blessing in a way that it gives me all of my independence, it gives me a small business to run. It’s really been amazing. The customers just love it and we’ve just been pushing the online sales and social media is so great for Envy. My brick-and-mortar is almost as strong as my online because we get a lot of fans that come through. It’s kind of like a staple for them. They drive through New Jersey, they see the Housewives’ houses, and then they come to see Envy. It really is so great and I’m proud of it. I’m proud that I was able to build this store from the ground up and make it what it is today, so I’m just so grateful in so many ways.
MG: What are your future plans for Envy? And we’re dying to know, when will you be having another fashion show?
MG: I would definitely think about putting another location and I always say Long Island. I feel like Long Island would do great, so if I ever do another location, it would be Long Island. And for the fashion show, I do want to do another one. I don’t like to do them just to do them. I like to have a good reason, so there definitely will be another fashion show. I just need to figure out when.