Interview with Rock Fashion Entrepreneur Alison "MetalBabe" Cohen


 by Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello Alison! Welcome to the COSMICK VIEW. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it is greatly appreciated.
Alison "MetalBabe" Cohen: Hi Mick! You are welcome. I am excited about all the great things we have in the works together, and happy to be interviewed for the COSMICK VIEW!

CV: How did you come to get involved in fashion? Was it something you were driven to do early on?
AC: I’ve always loved both music and fashion. After high school, and during college I managed a rock n’ roll clothing store in St. Charles, MO. called Glad Rags. I attended quite a few clothing conventions in Chicago, New York, and Vegas and was responsible for much of the buying. I was also able to listen to any music I wanted to while in the store and loved turning customers onto new music. That’s really where I joined the two together.

I moved to LA in 2004 and just over a year later a co-worker said to me, “I’ve never met anyone who knows as much about music as you do. We should do something about that.” One thing lead to another, and we created the original lips/bones Metal Babe Mayhem logo with designer Bill Bronson. The business has evolved quite a bit in the last ten years, with the current slogan Metal Babe Mayhem… Where Music And Fashion Meet.

CV: How do you determine what products to carry for Metal Babe Mayhem?
AC: Overall, I carry products that I like. I love red and black, so most of the t-shirts I sell are available n red and black, or they involve red and black in some way. Basically my target market is people who have the same interests as I do, including a love for music. 

We currently have about 300 products available online and 30 original designs for Metal Babe Mayhem. All the Metal Babe Mayhem (MBM) designs are available on tank tops, men’s t-shirts, women’s shirts, and hoodies. We also have MBM leather cuffs, necklaces, rings, patches, hats, and flasks. In addition, we carry products from quite a few other brands, including Al Bane for Leather, Alchemy Gothic, Shrine Clothing, and Guitarclef®.

CV: What compelled you to combine your brand of fashion with Rock n Roll?
AC: I’ve always loved music and fashion, and it makes sense that they go together.

CV: What do you see as the toughest challenge/obstacle you face in the rock fashion industry today?
AC: The biggest obstacle is definitely getting exposure. I’m doing everything that I can to get the word out about Metal Babe Mayhem including social media, SEO, constant networking, interviews, blogs, my Monthly Playlist, etc. but there’s a whole world out there I’m still trying to reach!

Another challenge is that a lot of people prefer to buy in person so they can see, feel, touch, and try on the clothing. It’s great when I have the chance to set up a vendor booth at a festival and people can see my merch in person, but they don’t have that many opportunities in LA to set up a booth at a major event that will be worthwhile.

CV: Between the clothing, jewelry and accessories you offer, what do you find is your favorite thing to offer?
AC: Really, everything on MBM’s website goes together. It would be ideal if a customer were to pick out clothing that they like, some jewelry to match, and then an accessory or two to round it out.

CV: What has been your most cherished design creation so far?
AC: That’s a tough one. Honestly, I love the star shirt (“Starkissed”) and guitar strap (“Studded Star” Guitar Strap by Al Bane for Leather) because I love stars! I’ve always wanted a design that included stars and am happy to have two now! I also like that both the shirt and guitar strap incorporate the original lips/bones logo.

CV: For any artist, it is common to throw one’s self into their craft, often being consumed by it. Are Alison and Metal Babe Mayhem one in the same or is there a distinction between the two?
AC: That’s a really good question. I do feel they are two different people… There’s me (Alison) and there’s Metal Babe. Alison is quiet, and really likes to work at home by herself, workout, and hike… But Metal Babe is super outgoing and is at concerts several nights a week, rocking out, talking to and taking photos with everyone around, and sharing her rock n’ roll related experiences with the world. It definitely takes a lot more energy when I’m “Metal Babe!” (LAUGHS)

CV: Have your designs and brand evolved the way you first envisioned them?
AC: Metal Babe Mayhem has far surpassed any initial expectations that I had, and I am so happy that the brand continues to grow every day. I am also so thankful for all of the support that I have received from all over the world.

CV: Who is your favorite designer? 
AC: Bill Bronson is an amazing artist/designer! He created the lips/bones logo for me in 2006, and we put out an entire pin-up girl series in 2016, where we released one pin-girl (who had a music related MBM theme) each month last year and have twelve total. I will definitely continue working will Bill, so keep posted!

CV: What does fashion mean to you? Do you think there are limits to what is considered fashionable, or is it more of an attitude and personal preference on style that makes something fashionable? Do you feel fashion is a major component to the essence of Rock n Roll?
AC: Definitely. Image is really important for musicians, in photos, videos, and live onstage. I think bands need the whole package in order to be successful, including their clothing, music, and stage show.

CV: Where do you see yourself and your Metal Babe Mayhem brand in 10 years?
AC: I’ve only told a few friends this, but I might as well let it out here… I am seriously considering opening a Metal Babe Mayhem store in the LA area. I envision is as not only a rock n’ roll clothing store, but as a destination spot. I would love for the store to be filled with rock n’ roll related products, specializing in MBM, band-related merch, and artwork by independent artists. I would also like to have live acoustic performances, special events, and have an area set up to conduct interviews with musicians/celebrities in the LA area, and those who pass through town.

If all goes well, in 10 years I would like to have a successful store in LA, with additional locations in Vegas, and possibly closer to you guys on the East Coast too, in NYC! I would also love to see the brand continue to grow and expand throughout the world.

CV: Without a doubt, you are a major supporter of the music scene and it is not uncommon to see you promoting and supporting bands on all levels. Can you tell me more about this aspect of Metal Babe Mayhem?
AC: Thank you so much. That’s the whole reason we are in contact right now, because of our initial Corners of Sanctuary interview. One of the main things I offer bands is a chance to be included on my Metal Babe Mayhem Monthly Playlist, where I put up 15 bands on the first of each month for Streaming). As time permits, I write interviews/reviews for Sin City Presents, Metal On Loud, and Metal Babe Mayhem. Also, I’m always supporting/promoting bands online and at live shows.

CV: Do you play an instrument?
AC: When people ask me this, I always say I don’t play anything well. (LAUGHS) I’m definitely better suited on the other side, helping and promoting bands. I played clarinet from fifth to eighth grade though, took guitar lessons for a while, and am trying to teach myself now to play the keyboard. I would LOVE to learn how to play some prog metal on keyboard!

CV: What three things would you tell an up and coming business owner?
AC: This is another tough question Mick! (LAUGHS) I would say the first thing is to make sure that you enjoy what you do. Owning a business is a lifelong commitment for the most part, so it’s definitely important to pick a field that you enjoy working in. Second, I would say to surround yourself with good people with like-minded visions. I believe it’s important to help one another out to succeed in working towards a common goal, either together or separate. I don’t believe in competition, or competitiveness. I think it’s important to help one another out, do as much networking and cross promotion as you can, to get your name out there. And third, do your research. Make sure that you are offering a product or service that people are really interested in.

CV: Who is one artist you want to see wearing Metal Babe Mayhem?
AC: This is a tough question, because there are so many… If I had to pick just one though, I would say Jon Bon Jovi because Bon Jovi was the first band I fell in love with as a kid. If JBJ wore Metal Babe Mayhem I would REALLY feel like things have come full circle.

CV: If you weren't running Metal Babe Mayhem, what could you see yourself doing?
AC: Good question… If I were to do something not related to music and fashion, it would be working with health and fitness in some way. Also, I love traveling… I would love to have a job where I got paid to see more of the world!

CV: Building a business and a brand takes many things. What do you feel are your strengths? What aren’t?
AC: My biggest strengths are my motivation, my energy, and my desire to make a difference. On the other side of the spectrum, I have trouble shutting it off. I would work 24/7 if I could. There are always a million things to do and it seems there never is enough time to get everything done, so I pretty much keep working (and checking things off my ‘to do list’) until someone gets me to stop.

CV: What personal hurdles have you overcome to make Metal Babe Mayhem such a success?
AC: It was really hard to leave my family and I miss them more and more as the years go by. However, when I moved to LA I had no idea that I would be where I am today as a business owner.

CV: Since 2015 you have been working as the PR rep for Rock Avenue Records USA. Just recently you have been named the label’s Head of Merchandising… congratulations!  How will this new position impact the Metal babe Mayhem brand?
AC: Thank you. I am really happy that RARU is going to be using MBM for their merchandising and hope that this will lead to additional merchandising as well. We are still in the beginning stages of this agreement, but I look forward to their bands wearing merch produced from MBM. If anyone reading this is interested in discussing merchandising for your band/brand/company, please contact me!

CV: You wear a number of hats: designer, journalist, on-air personality, promoter… do you feel this is the secret to being a successful entrepreneur in today’s increasingly-challenging business climate?
AC: First of all, thank you for noticing. You are exactly right. I do think it’s important to ‘wear a lot of hats’ because there are so many aspects involved with running a business. I’ve always thought that only way you can delegate tasks to someone else is to truly understand what is involved yourself. By running all of these aspects myself at this point, I will be in a good position to delegate as the company continues to grow.

CV: What's next for Alison and Metal Babe Mayhem?
AC: I am always adding new products to my line and am currently working on silver lips/bones necklaces, enamel pins of two of the pin-up girls, (Scarlett Black and the Green Goddess) and “Starkissed” patches. I am also looking into trucker hats and sweat pants for the designs that Bill Bronson and I created for my collaboration “Rock Your Hot Mess,” with Scream Queen Actress Brooke Lewis. And, I am currently in the process of creating a “Studded Star” Belt with Al Bane for Leather, as a follow-up to the guitar strap that we launched at NAMM 2017.

CV: Anything additional you like to add?
AC: Thank you so much Mick and The Cosmick View for interviewing me. This has been fun! Thank you to everyone who is reading this and to everyone who has supported me and MBM throughout the years. Please visit my website (MetalBabeMayhem.com) and check out my rock n’ roll clothing, jewelry, accessories, blog site, monthly playlist, and more. If you’re in a band and would like to be considered for my MBM Playlist, you can upload a song and photo here: https://metalbabemayhem.com/submit-playlist-song/

CV: Thank you again Alison for spending your time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success!
AC: Thanks so much Mick!!



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