MEET MICHELLE: Introducing Michelle Rizzardo, mother of three and founder of one of Vancouver's leading boutiques - One of a Few. After working in retail from the age of fifteen onwards, Michelle decided to take a leap of faith and opened her own store fourteen years ago. One of a Few is a womenswear boutique situated in the trendy neighbourhood of Gastown, that features thoughtfully selected clothing, footwear, bags and accessories from creative designers around the world. We were initially introduced to this babe when Brunette founder Miriam's sister Sophie was hired at One of a Few as the first and only employee at the time. In true babes supporting babes fashion, while working at One of a Few, Sophie launched her own jewelry collection in the boutique with Michelle's support - Lisbeth Jewelry. To this day, Michelle still ensures that there is always stock available of Lisbeth in-store. Since opening her doors in 2005, Michelle has been able to grow her business while watching her three children grow as well and knows firsthand the challenges of merging entrepreneurship and family. Michelle's desire to create a safe space for women to relax and shop in her boutique and love for supporting others makes her a true babe.
What does babes supporting babes mean to you?
Babes supporting babes means people supporting each other regardless of their status or ability to help you network. It means working together and creating communities that empower as opposed to creating competition. It means bringing people together in a non-judgmental, positive environment that celebrates everyone.
Do you have a life mantra/motto that you live by?
Do unto others as you wish they do unto you.
What does your day to day look like?
Currently, I have a newborn who comes with me to work every day. I drop my two older children off at school and head to work.
I spend the day at the shop, grab my other two kids when school lets out and head back to work until closing.
It’s a family affair right now as it’s my busiest season. My kids are very used to the routine and help out a lot.
Back home I am constantly researching, responding to Instagram and keeping the web up.
What is your most used app?
What product would you seriously stockpile if you found out they weren’t selling anymore?
I immediately thought of cheezies. Then I asked my husband what he thought I would stockpile, and he immediately responded with shoes ...... Haha.
What emoji best describes you?
I would say the lady with the baby as currently I’m never alone and always with my newborn, but I am also a massive over user of all heart-related emojis.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your business?
Juggling family life and business life and making sure I have a balance.
Who should EVERYONE be following right now?
Someone who makes them feel good about themselves.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I feel like most people would answer an immediate yes to this question, but for me, it was more organic. I just followed my heart. I have always loved working with women, working in fashion and working as a counsellor. I feel like my shop has become a comfortable space for people to come, relax, shop and chat. Essentially, I created the space I always dreamt of and learned once I did it that I loved being an entrepreneur.
What is your favourite place to travel to?
Any place I haven’t been before.
Tell us about a Babe who has supported you?
There are so many women over the years that have supported me, too many to mention without leaving some out. I’ll try though. My parents have been my biggest supporters. My best friends who have supported me in more than just my business. My staff who support me on a daily basis. My husband who has supported me through having a business and having three amazing kids.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is classic with an edge. I mix high and low and love changing it up.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career?
Working with all the amazing people I get to work with and watching how a strong outfit can help someone transform their confidence.
What inspired you to pursue the fashion industry?
My first fashion job was at Below The Belt when I was fifteen years old. I was always obsessed with fashion but I actually didn’t think it was something I would do professionally until I wrote my first business plan for a clothing store. I had an incredibly supportive community. My family, my husband and my best friend all encouraged me to take the leap. It was the best decision I have ever made.
Are you a morning or night person?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching Netflix or Crave.
What quality are you working on yourself right now?
Making sure I slow down, appreciate my family and let people know how much I appreciate them.
What advice do you have for those trying to break into the fashion industry?
The fashion industry can seem like a cut-throat industry with a bunch of attitude, but you don’t have to get sucked into it. Stay honest, trustworthy, follow your gut and do your due diligence. This will help you understand that the wheel of fashion has a lot of necessary spokes that can be very positive and rewarding.