Founder / MISHA COLLECTION
It can be hard not to judge a babe by her cover. I mean, Michelle Aznavorian looks more like the models strutting the Misha catwalk, not the brains behind the brand. But don’t let her looks fool you.
Michelle was 19 when she started her first business; an eBay store selling second-hand designer clothes. By 22, she had self-funded her studies at the Melbourne School of Fashion and was ready to embark on another solo venture, MISHA COLLECTION.
In this interview, Michelle takes us back to the beginning, she talks about her time at school, her must have tips for girls wanting to be a fashion designer and what the future holds for the brand. I wonder if she can top being the go to for celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Bella and Gigi Hadid, the Kardashians.
We can’t wait to see…
Hey Michelle, can you tell us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
My mum used to put my sister and I in adorable matching outfits, so I think I was always a fan of fashion. My dad had a very strong work ethic. He taught me that in order to get what you want you have to work hard. He’s a perfectionist and was always pushing me to achieve greatness. It lead me on a path to become an entrepreneur and start MISHA Collection.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
My parents moved me to Avala in Year 9, and I feel like the people I was surrounded by helped shape my core values and desire to succeed. They were all good kids and we motivated each other to do well.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I was surrounded by people who were interested in fashion and furthering their studies after high school. My friend’s parents all had their own businesses, so we were always encouraged make our own successes.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I had my first unofficial internship when I was 18. I was working at a retail store and I applied for work experience in their head office. I requested to be in their buying department, and it tuned into a paid part-time job. I was helping with all sorts of things, from steaming to packing boxes, etc. After 1 year, they offered me a job as a Buyer’s Assistant.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
When I finished high school, I studied Marketing & Advertising at university. After I completed that course, I realised I was more interested in fashion. I liked the idea of travelling as a fashion Buyer. I worked for a year in retail to save up so I could study at the Melbourne School of Fashion.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
In my first job, I had an amazing mentor. In 2 years, she taught me everything I needed to know about starting my own business and running a fashion label. Everything from margins, to fabric sourcing, to merchandising, to liaising with suppliers. This was the beginning of me creating MISHA Collection. I really started to think about it seriously after this.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
In 2013, while I was working in the buying role, I decided to start my own label. I began by importing dresses, however I found that they didn’t have enough of a point of difference, so I started designing my own range. One year later, I quit my full-time job, and the rest is history!
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Making sure that you’re always evolving and you’re always relevant. There is so much competition now, especially compared to when I started MISHA, so you always have to be on top of your game. It can be challenging when you don’t have a wealth of experience in running a business, but you learn on the job, and it’s important to have mentors and people you can consultant with to ensure you are on track to where you see the brand going. I learned early on that I needed to find the right people to help me grow my business.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
Always varied – I am in our head office in Richmond – lots of meetings and photo shoots!
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Have a mentor. They will help guide you to make the right decisions. But always follow your gut because that’s never wrong!