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How MISHA Collection went from start-up to multi-million dollar empire

Images via MISHA Collection

From the ground up.

Five short years ago, Michelle Aznavorian was selling clothes from her parent’s garage in Melbourne’s south east.

Back then, MISHA Collection was barely a blip on the radar of Australian fashion. Fast forward to 2018, and Michelle has built the brand into a multi-million dollar business, worn by the likes of Bella and Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian.

So how did she do it?

Armed with degrees in Fashion Business, Marketing and Advertising, Michelle understood the importance of knowing her stuff. An entrepreneur from an early age, she self-funded her studies at The Masters Institute of Creative Education (formerly known as Melbourne School of Fashion) before embarking on a solo venture that would change her life exponentially.

We sat down with the founder to learn the ins and outs of building a fashion empire.

Hi Michelle, can you tell us a bit about how MISHA Collection began?

While I was studying at fashion school, I was running an eBay business selling clothing and jewellery. After I graduated and gained experience in fashion buying and product development, I decided it was time to officially launch MISHA Collection.

I did everything myself, from packing online orders, talking to customers, building the website and approaching boutiques to stock the brand. I had a clear vision: minimal, sexy, classic and tailored. Everything was considered and consistent, from the product to the branding to the packaging.

MISHA quickly became a favourite amongst celebrities and influencers – and absolutely boomed on social media – and today we are stocked in over 70 stores worldwide and have more than half a million followers on Instagram and Facebook.

Where did you study?

The Masters Institute of Creative Education (formerly known as Melbourne School of Fashion).

What did you study?

Fashion Business.

Why did you choose to study there?

Other than it being a highly recognised college, I liked that it was a specialised fashion institution. I knew I would get the best hands-on training there.

How has this helped shape your career?

It was a great experience. I gained valued knowledge and theory which I was then able to put into practice when I went into the professional workforce. It was the stepping stone I needed to acquire my first role as a buyer’s assistant, and go on to learn more about product development, pricing, margins, etc.

What kind of student were you?

I was dedicated. I wasn’t straight out of high school like other students (I had studied advertising and marketing previously) so I was invested in the course and doing well. I really wanted to be there, and I had worked hard to get there, so I gave it my all.

At what point did MISHA Collection become your full-time job?

Within eight months of launching the MISHA website.

What’s been your most significant achievement so far?

Working with Bella Hadid for our 2016 Resort campaign and having her open our Sydney Fashion Week show was a pretty big milestone for me. To be such a young brand, it really proved to me I had created something special and was on the right track.

However, one of my proudest moments as a business owner came last year when I won first place in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in the Emerging category. This award is very prestigious and something I did not expect. I was the youngest nominee in the category and the only commercial fashion label nominated for the award, so it was a real honour.

Why do you think MISHA Collection has been so successful?

I think the product resonates with a lot of young women and the feeling they want to achieve when they put on an outfit. They want to feel confident, sexy, sophisticated and ahead of the trend, and MISHA Collection delivers that to them – without breaking the bank. MISHA filled a gap in the market for affordable luxury.

Also, I’m a really motivated person, and when I set my mind to something, I push myself to the limit and I don’t back down. Since I started MISHA, I’ve dedicated every waking moment to growing the label and striving for success.

What sets the brand apart?

MISHA offers the consumer designer pieces at affordable prices. The quality of the garments, the variety in the ranges and the sexy, sophisticated aesthetic of the brand sets us apart from the competition.

MISHA is uniquely positioned in the fashion industry. We have gained a very large global following in a short amount of time, and while we are still a young brand, we have the presence and industry standing equal to that of a brand with a decade under its belt. I feel very honoured MISHA became so recognised so early on.

What business advice can you give to young start-ups?

Take risks, be adaptable and find the right team.

If you could have done one thing differently, what would it be?

I think it’s pivotal that every entrepreneur knows the ins and outs of their business. I wouldn’t have necessarily done anything differently, I would have just gotten to know my business better and not relied on others to drive decisions without me in areas that I wasn’t so skilled in.

What’s coming up next for the brand?

I’m really excited about our Spring and Resort ranges coming out this year. We’re introducing new bold colours and prints, as well as day-wear, leather and knitwear.

mishacollection.com.au
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Learn more about kickstarting your own fashion career by heading to The Masters.

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