Inspirational Women: Michelle Glitman
Each week SHE‘SAID’ will feature an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. But these women will contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and role:
Michelle Glitman, Founder, online fashion boutique MIISHKA
Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
When I launched MIISHKA, social media was just beginning to hit its peak and so was e-commerce. I was seeing more and more girls selling items from their wardrobes on their personal Facebook accounts so immediately I thought there’s an opportunity to create a fashion retail platform directly from Facebook – allowing me to save on the costs of creating a stand alone website straight away; gauge interest for my product; and create a loyal online customers base. At this time, the idea of selling anything via Facebook was completely foreign to major retailers in Australia. But young savvy shoppers were ready for this – they were already spending almost all of their time on Facebook so shopping for clothes on Facebook was a natural progression. And from a business perspective you have the most powerful marketing tool at your disposal with the ability for your target audience to interact with your brand first hand and share products with their friends. You can’t put a value on that!
MIISHKA has been my full time job for just over 3 years now. I spent 5+ years working in the advertising industry creating campaigns for local and global fashion/beauty brands. I also became ‘stylist’ on many of these campaigns. But I always knew I wanted to own my own business. But it was important for me to gain as much industry experience as I could before branching out and doing my own thing. The best entrepreneurs will tell you that you should work for someone else for at least 5 years before starting your business – you will learn invaluable skills and gain confidence by doing so.
How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?
MIISHKA was unofficially born at the markets. Whilst working as an advertising exec I would spend every Sunday morning at the markets buying and selling vintage pieces. Pretty soon I realised I had a knack for sourcing and selling vintage pieces girls (and boys) wanted to buy. The turning point came when I had regular customers coming to shop at my stall and I was making more money on a Sunday morning than in a whole week in my advertising role!
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?
The customers/fans have been inspiring the growth of MIISHKA from day one – there has always been an open dialogue between our followers and the brand. It’s their love and passion for MIISHKA that keeps us growing year on year. I have a whole bunch of ‘unofficial’ mentors – including business owners, bloggers, designers, family & friends – who I draw inspiration from on a daily basis.
What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then? How did you overcome these?
There are constantly challenges when it comes to launching and running your own business, but it’s how you deal with these challenges that will set you apart from others. Some of my biggest challenges have included working 100+ hour weeks in my first year of operation which was obviously not sustainable long term; finding talented, dedicated and trustworthy people to join my team; and customer service. I remember sending out one of my first big orders via regular post. The customer claimed the items had never arrived and by posting them via regular post I had no way of tracking the parcel or proving an adequate level of service. I’ll never know whether that order arrived or not, but I ended up refunding the customer close to $500. That situation taught me a valuable lesson in the need for not just good, but great customer service – by supporting the customer through every step of the decision making/purchase process including post delivery.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
Have the right mix of new innovative products, optimum technological capabilities and a well thought out social media presence across as many platforms as possible. Listen to your fans/followers. Seek their feedback on new products/ideas/content, they will let you know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find your niche and work on offering the best product/service you can for that market.