It was a lovely evening after her busy working day, Michelle Bridgette Liao, the person behinds the aesthetic success of Breeze Center as well as a 'million' other businesses under the company, sat down with us and the chit chat began. Let’s find outhow a busy young working woman handles her stress as well as her secret in keeping in style.
UNBLOCK: Can you explain a bit about your work and what you would call your position.
Michelle: My work is very complicated, I’m in charge of pretty much everything (HAHAHA) including the marketing and visual communication. So that’s graphic design, interior design, and all the production and event. Oh and the publication as well. We have magazine for each Breeze Center.
UNBLOCK: So you are in charge of all the visual side of it?
Michelle: Yes, visual and everything. We also have a restaurant so I’m in charge of the F&B as well. Also the model agency, I’m in charge of that as well. I think I’m a production unit, like if there’s an idea, I produce.
UNBLOCK: What about the mall, do you get to select products or brands as a buyer?
Michelle: Yes yes, we have our multi-brand store and I’m in charge of the buying as well.
UNBLOCK: That’s a lot of work! How did you end up working in this field?
Michelle: HAHAHA. It’s a family business. It’s me and my brother, he’s in charge of the management and the grand idea, so…. I don’t want to work this much, seriously. LOL. I actually want to find someone to get married and have baby. (Smile) I’m 38. Maybe I need to freeze my egg… in UK. HAHAHA
UNBLOCK: HAHAHA That’s funny
Michelle: That’s off the topic. I didn’t want to work this much but I have to. I got workaholic gene from my father so it just kind of happens. I’m a perfectionist too so if something isn’t right, I just have to do it myself, like all the Photoshop, the graphic. I pick up all the material for every mall, every construction I have to be there. It’s fun.
UNBLOCK: That’s a lot of work. So what’s the most challenging moment in your career, focusing on the shopping mall?
Michelle: (Thinking…) I think the most challenging would be debuting the new project. That’s the most difficult part. We have our own constructors but then we have so many venders. Each vender has their own constructors, so it’s ours and theirs working together. Then we have press conferences when we release the shopping mall and we have the previewing. The pressure is phenomenal. I need to make sure everything is done and ready for the presses. I need to have all the speech memorized and talk to all the venders, the partners and the presses. I think that’s very very difficult for me. HAHAHA. Oh, and then everyone will go to the mall and critiques. It’s crazy. LOL.
UNBLOCK: But you look like you are enjoying it.
Michelle: Yeah, I love it and I hate it. It’s painful and I love it.
UNBLOCK: So since you work so much, how to you manage to look so young? Can you share me your secret?
Michelle: Me? I put on mask every day. I drink lots of water, actually it’s this one. (Pick up a huge bottle of Contrex water)
UNBLOCK: is it a special kind of water?
Michelle: Yes, it’s mineral water. It tastes like sh*t but seriously, it’s good for your skin. I also party whenever I can. Do I look hungover to you now?
UNBLOCK: Nope, are you? LOL
Michelle: (Smile) A bit. I think that’s how I release my stress. Alcohol is bad but a good amount is good. I enjoy hanging out with friends, having a nice dinner and a bit of alcohol. HAHAHA
UNBLOCK: Agree. So talk about your shopping experience, what’s the most memorable shopping experience you ever have?
Michelle: It was in Milan. I was in D&C. The salesperson was incredible. He saw me and he pulled out so many glasses of champagne. The thing is I only picked up 1 skirt and 1 top. As soon as I walked out the dressing room, he pulled out 2 more racks of clothes that he thought will fit on me. He kind of observed my style and obviously my size. He just matched me with all the boots, belts, jackets. I was really happy and amazed of how professional he was. I ended up buying pretty much everything. He created 2 looks for me that I wouldn’t even pick out for myself. He’s really smart. He got me drunk and happy. When I tried things out and everyone would clap for me, like yay! I’m beautiful. LOL. It was the best experience ever. I was really happy. I was like how did I bought that much! But it was 5 years ago and I still wear them. After the experience, I actually shared it during my staff training. I told them that they need to be observant, have big smiles and (clapping and laughing) cheer the client!
UNBLOCK: HAHAHA. So next, what kind of item you think it’s worth investing on?
Michelle: A very good black tweed jacket and a very good black dress. I can’t decide between these two.
UNBLOCK: Why them though?
Michelle: You can wear them pretty much all year round, especially the black dress. You can wear to work, dinner and party! A really good tailored dress is essential.
UNBLOCK: So among all the items you have, if you can keep only 1 item what would it be?
Michelle: That’s a difficult one. A clutch maybe? For me, a clutch goes well with everything. It just makes everything so stylish.
UNBLOCK: Do you have any tricks in choosing the right items for you?
Michelle: For me, I wear only black and white. I keep my wardrobe simple. But for my accessories, I like bright items. I like red shoes or pink clutch. I have lots of hats and gloves. So I think when I do my shopping it get really easy.
UNBLOCK: What do you think is the main differences between UK and Taiwanese fashion?
Michelle: I think Taiwanese fashion is still heavily influenced by the Japanese and the Korean. For girls, it’s more sweet and feminine. It’s not as cutting edge. When I do my buying, I tends to avoid too cutting edge design. There’s lots of pink, nude, and sweet designs.
UNBLOCK: Yeah, I can see that from Taiwanese series. They are all really sweet and cute looking. So if it’s totally up to you, what would you want the fashion trend to be like next year?
Michelle: I want romantic and gothic. I kind of miss that trend. I love gothic trend, the leather, lace, studs. I was an emo punk actually. I had green and gray hair.
UNBLOCK: Not in Taiwan right?
Michelle: Oh I was in Taiwan. When I first moved back to Taiwan I has fuchsia hair. It was crazy.
UNBLOCK: How did they react your look?
Michelle: They thought it was so weird, but they also thought I pulled it off. They got used to it. It got difficult when I had meetings and formal dinners with the parents. My father had to explain that his daughter was into arts. Then my dad just stopped doing it. Like, f**k it, it’s just the hair.
UNBLOCK: That’s funny. So what do you think is the main barrier for people to appreciate fashion today?
Michelle: It would be lack of confidence. People are afraid to walk out of their comfort zones. Like when I was in Milan, I picked up 2 things. The salesperson helped me walked out of my comfort zone and tried new things. Most buyers in Taiwan tends to buy the items that are safe, so the style can get a little bland, not challenging and bold enough. People are just more comfortable with cute and easy style.
UNBLOCK: So it’s like a loop, people buy what’s there to buy and the seller keep selling the same safe thing.
UNBLOCK: How do you think you, as an influencer, can unblock this barrier?
Michelle: For me. I will try to buy more adventurous style, and personally post some style that are more striking. HAHAHA. Although I usually wear black and white, I use my accessories. I try. HAHAHA
UNBLOCK: What would be the one item you would buy in UK and one in Taiwan?
Michelle: I heard Bao (Chinese bun) is very popular in London, but I’m sure the one in Taiwan is much better. I took my UK friend to the night market and tried the real Bao. They were amazed! That’s one thing I would recommend to try in Taiwan. For UK, I love McQueen clutches, and trench coat.
UNBLOCK: Is there a beauty items you will always have in your purse?
Michelle: Lip gloss. I have to have it or else I will get really paranoid.
UNBLOCK: What about items that you always need but forgot?
Michelle: iPhone charger. HAHAHA. I don’t have it but I always need it.
UNBLOCK: If you can go anywhere, where would you like to travel to the most now?
Michelle: Bora Bora. I have never been there and I would love to go! Who wouldn’t want to go, it’s Bora!
UNBLOCK: So when you go travel, what excite you the most?
Michelle: Because I’m a visual person, so the visual impacts for me is very important. It’s my inspiration. All the new things, the people, the scenery, the architecture, food, anything visual really excite me, even TV commercial! So that’s a lot of thing. HAHAHA. I’m easily pleased.
So that’s lifestyle of one of the most influential woman in Taiwan. How do you find it? I believe it inspired us that a successful career doesn’t come easily just because of your family background. Michelle has proved that it’s all her hard work that pays off. One more important thing, you got to know how to relax and enjoy life, just simply a glass of champagne and some good companies.