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Raw Talent Podcast S4 Episode 4 with Michelle Mahlke Luxury Brand Consultant

Updated: May 24, 2021

In Series 4, Episode 4 of Raw Talent I am speaking with luxury brand consultant Michelle Mahlke. After graduating with Degrees in Art History and Fashion Design, her career started in 2006 with iconic designer Roland Mouret and progressed through several roles from EA / Office Manager (2006 – 2007) to PR, Event Management and Special Projects (2008 – 2009), General Manager (2009 – 2013) and ultimately Managing Director (2013 – 2018).

This breadth of knowledge and expertise positioned Michelle with the opportunity to understand the successes, challenges and growing pains of the business and how to get past them. She is fascinated by making a dream become reality and has the imagination, determination and experience to build this synergy within a developing business.

Michelle joined Roland as the first employee when he relaunched his eponymous label know at the time as RM by Roland Mouret. It would take another 4 years to reacquire the trademark. Humility and ambition combined with a willingness to touch the ceiling and the floor are underpinning pillars of Michelle's values. She was never afraid to put herself up for a new task or scared of failure and mistakes. She is inspired by curiosity and passion with the tenacity to pivot and manoeuvre to get things done. Roland and his senior management team gave her opportunities and the space to grow and she treated it like her own business, hired in expertise and invested in training ultimately developing an incredible team of brilliant people as her role evolved into that of a leadership position.

Michelle understands the importance of honouring talent and product and treating the customer with respect. Initially known as a dress designer, in order to maintain a competitive edge, Roland shifted towards a more diverse product and size assortment. Michelle observes how being known for one thing can be both a blessing and a curse.

The journey of digitisation has afforded her a fascinating learning opportunity in experiencing brand growth with Shopify+ supported by payment gateway provider SagePay and witnessing the numbers change overnight.

Michelle is a connector, she enjoys clarity of vision, keeping everyone on board and achieving goals based on a values-led approach. The major learnings she has banked along the way include managing the continual transformation of the business model without losing the culture and ethos. Setting goals that allow teams to be autonomous and effective is also a vital component - people make the best contribution when they are given autonomy.

As a consultant, her goal is to help founders and owners build successful and dynamic companies that inspire both teams and consumers to carve out new niches within their respective industries. She is interested in looking at how you can do things through open-source and has been working on a couple of fashion tech projects alongside other consultancies.

The sustainability movement is something Michelle is also passionate about with an interest that began at Roland Mouret when they invested in Common Objective.

Michelle is also inspired to work with genuinely effective brands forging ahead with sustainable innovation.

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