Michelle: April 2005
R: What motivated you to start the company?
Michelle: Originally, Layers was started to create pieces that could provide women with additional coverage and be layered underneath other articles of clothing. From there, it quickly evolved into a label which offers a much wider variety as I began designing dresses, swimwear, and other seasonal apparel. I wanted to bring women fashionable, affordable options that I wasn't finding in the stores.
R: What inspires you as a designer?
Michelle: I love watching old movies and sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong era! An actress's styling often sparks my interest and then I build my own interpretation of a look from there. I am inspired by fashion throughout the decades, from the classic styling of the 40's and 50's, to the bohemian style of the 60's and 70's.
R: Does modesty/religion influence your designs?
Michelle: Modest styling is the most timeless and trend-proof. As a conservative designer, it can be discouraging that the word "modesty" often has a negative connotation as it relates to fashion. I think a modestly dressed woman gives off an aura of allure and confidence. She has style and self-assuredness, while having nothing to prove.
R: Tell us about your family.
Michelle: I have the most patient, wonderful husband and three active, beautiful daughters. We love to hang out together, travel, watch movies and bake. My daughters and I all have a sweet tooth and probably indulge in our two major weaknesses - cookie dough or bubblegum ice cream - a little more than we should!
R: Who are some of your favorite designers of all time?
Michelle: I love the timeless look of Chanel, the clean, yet edgy looks of Marc Jacobs and the femininity of Narcisco Rodriguez.
R: What was your primary objective of starting Layers Clothing?
Michelle: I find some of the styles out there today to be a little unrealistic. It has always been my goal to take current fashion and modify it so that real women can wear it and feel great about themselves and look amazing.
R: What advice would you give to other women/moms interested in starting their own business?
Michelle: Be organized! Don't feel inadequate or get discouraged by what you don't know. Just utilize the knowledge, skill and talents you do have and be willing to learn every step of the way.
R: What is it like being a mom and a business owner?
Michelle: It can be a little crazy at times, but my family definitely comes first. I believe I am only as good as the individuals I surround myself with. I have an amazing team at Layers that supports me in both my professional and personal life.
R: What is your favorite and least favorite fashion trend of all time?
Michelle: Favorite 1 - Leggings. Their versatility is endless! I love how adding that layer can take a dress from spring/summer to fall/winter. AND they look great with any type of shoe - heels, flats, pumps, flip flops, boots, sandals, etc!
Favorite 2 - Farrah Fawcett hair. If I could rock her 70's hairstyle in 2009 and get away with it, believe me, I would be doing it!
Least favorite - I gotta tell ya.....I have nightmares about the M.C. Hammer pants I wore in the 80's.....twenty years later they still haunt me!