In a world completely consumed by digital media, one female business owner took her knowledge and creativity and turned a side project into her next big move.
Maria Molino , the owner of The Haute Maven Boutique, founded in Red Bank, NJ in October 2017 (now shuttered due to COVID-19), took the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reevaluate her career path. Finding retail to be on a severe downward spiral, she put emotion aside and closed her brick and mortar establishment to focus on her side project, a company she calls THM Social.
What began as a pet project in September 2018 after Maria took over the management of a friend’s restaurant’s Instagram, in an attempt to help them achieve similar results to her already flourishing personal and business accounts, Maria found herself being pitched to one of Broadway’s newest productions, Pretty Woman the Musical.
Friends with Broadway royalty duo Orfeh & Andy Karl, Maria was suggested to producers and the creative team after pitching a Halloween Contest idea for the show’s fans. Having staged herself in two of the shows most iconic outfits, they quickly realized she had vision. While the ball got moving too slowly for her fan costume contest idea to see fruition, she did end up finding herself managing the show’s Instagram account by January 2019.
With songs written by Oscar Nominated songwriter, Bryan Adams, and Jim Vallance, Pretty Woman the Musical was already a hit in New York, but it’s social media presence had been seriously lacking. According to Maria, her tenure on Broadway went something like this:
One of my closest friends (Tony nominee, Orfeh) was starring in Pretty Woman with her husband and she and some other cast members would remark on how much they loved my Instagram content. It’s not everyday you wake up to find Broadway producers, choreographers and actors suddenly following and commenting on your content. It was extremely flattering. Orfeh was kind enough to share the sentiment with the producers that I should have a hand in helping them. And as a result, I took over the social media for a time. The engagement during the time I was involved increased and the cast was extremely happy working with me as opposed to not knowing who would show up each time they were asked for content. The content became more organic, more real and relatable instead of always feeling advertorial. Whenever I wanted to set up a photo shoot they were more than happy to oblige. Between PW and my other accounts I realized I really did have a knack for this.
We spoke to Orfeh about Maria’s time with the production and she had this to say, “During Maria’s time managing the social media at Pretty Woman, you never saw a cast more amenable to being involved in the social media aspect of the show….many of whom were already very adept in that department, which speaks volumes about Maria’s talents. This is coupled with the fact that she always made it fun and extremely creative.”
The show’s leading man, Andy Karl, was equally as impressed, “Maria made everything easy. She was able to get her job done in a fraction of the time others would and you never felt rushed. So much more enjoyable than not knowing what to expect.”
Seems Maria Molino and THM Social have a bright future when Broadway gets up and running again. In the meanwhile, Maria has focused her efforts on small businesses from her hometown of Red Bank and in New York City. Working tirelessly to make sure they get themselves out there while people are currently at home glued to their phones and computers. A masterful plan to say the least.