Ah this is a special one! Michael and I met at the beginning of both of our careers way back in 2004 (17 years ago!?!?) when I was first starting out as a Fashion stylist and he as the Designer of his namesake collection. Well, the rest is history as they say and I'm proud to share a little of his story and the lessons he learned along the way.
LA: What is one interesting thing that people may not know about your career?
M: This is a hard question because I feel like I’m such an open book! One interesting thing that not many people may know about my career is that I’m a firm believer in making it work - no excuses. When I first started my career in fashion as a teenager, I didn’t have money to go buy all the high-end fabrics and pieces I wanted. I made it work by using some of the most inexpensive fabrics I can find at the time and created some beautiful couture gowns for celebrities! Now, I’m still making it work by being resourceful on a day-to-day basis. It’s never the lack of financial resources or supplies or tools or equipment that define how great a designer is. It’s their vision how they think outside the box to make it work.
LA: During your professional journey, what is one mistake you made that you learned the most from?
M: When my career was getting a lot of traction, I did not set proper boundaries between myself and a few people (whom I will not name) in my life at the time. Because I was so passionate about my craft, I did not see that they were only there, pretending to be my friend or appearing to be my intern because they wanted to gain access to my strategies, my formula, my connections. I’m very supportive to anyone around me that wants to grow. In fact, I love surrounding myself with those who are driven to advance their life and career. But there’s a difference between networking the right way vs. stealing contacts and doing it unethically behind someone’s back. I learned that I have to be cautious about who I choose to spend time with, who is working with me 24/7 because some people are only around me for what I can do for them.
LA: What is one thing you did that put you on the right path to be successful in this career?
M: I live by the motto: treat people how you want to be treated. My parents instilled that value in me at a very young age. In this industry, one minute you’re up, the next you’re down. People never forget how you treated them when they’re up, and most importantly - when they’re down. By being kind and genuine to everyone I meet, I was able to open so many doors for myself in my business without even realizing it. Also, for every project my team and I work on, no matter how big or little they may be, I always strive to exceed the client’s expectations.
LA: What are you most proud of at this moment?
M: I’m most proud of my mental health. Wellness is extremely important to me at this stage in my life. There are a lot of emotional ups and downs I go through on a daily basis so I try to force myself to take the weekends off now. Spending more time with my family, my son Gio, my dogs, my friends, and more all make me happy. It truly is the most rewarding feeling in the world.
LA: Your go-to beverage after a long week (specifics please!)?
M: My go-to beverage is a Moscato! They’re so tasty and refreshing. They get me in trouble!
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