As time goes by, the core of designer retail lies heavily within the online world. For Couture USA, Michelle Bremer acts as the bridge between the in-store and online teams. With carefully managing the products that come in and out of Couture USA and filtering customer service concerns, Bremer has her hands full every day. Graduating Magna Cum Laude, in Fashion Design & Merchandising, Michelle also holds a business degree, was the Director of Motorclothes at Harley-Davidson right out of college and even ran her own business in college called Funkouture. With plenty of experience in the fashion industry, you can also find Bremer reinventing closets as a fashion stylist for Runway Translator and featured on WFLA's Daytime Show, Fashion Wrap! In this week's feature of the Couture USA Team profile series, Bremer shares with us what drew her to her love for fashion and why she chose to focus her career within the industry, all about her position at Couture USA, and even lets us in on some advice for anyone looking to improve their customer service skills!
How would you describe your style?
My personal style varies from day-to-day. Depending on the situation and my mood, I tailor my outfits to reflect whatever vibe I’m trying to attract. I’m like a chameleon of style, and my wardrobe consists of everything from basic staple items like white collared shirts and black pants (lots of black pants) to unique statement pieces like hand-made printed handbags and locally crafted stiletto platform pumps.
Tell us about your experience in working with fashion and what drew you to the Couture USA team?
I have enjoyed working in the fashion industry for over twenty years. I’ve been on every side of the retail spectrum, from being on the front lines as a retail manager to being behind the scenes as a buyer and director of stores. I’ve had my own businesses, one selling women’s fashions & accessories and another as a fashion stylist. I’m called upon regularly to speak about fashion on nationally syndicated daytime television shows and I’ve produced more runway presentations than I can count. As a consumer, I have always had an appreciation for the luxury resale market, so when the opportunity to work for Couture USA presented itself, I jumped at the chance.
Check out Michelle on the WFLA Daytime Show Fashion Wrap
What does your day-to-day schedule look like?
Each day my team and I encounter a multitude of interesting experiences. In the Online Department, our days look something like this: we review and authenticate incoming products, make offers to sellers, process new items, create online listings with professional photography and exceptional descriptions, package and ship online orders, field customer service phone calls, email messages and webchats, create social media content & newsletters, stay on top of cutting edge digital marketing tactics, and sell, sell, sell!
What’s the most challenging and rewarding parts of working at Couture USA?
I’ll start with the most rewarding part… luxury designer products, hello! Every day is like Christmas morning in our offices. You’ll often hear a gasp of excitement or an “ohhh emmm geee!!!” coming from the buyers, and everyone promptly gathers round to see the latest fabulous impossible-to-find piece we just got lucky enough to sell! The most challenging part of working at Couture USA is having the self-control to refrain from buying every piece you love so you can take home a paycheck!
What are your favorite luxury brands and what was your first ever designer brand purchase?
Before working for Couture USA, my knowledge of luxury brands was drawn from my obsession with watching every designer runway show online every season and shopping for my styling clients in Neiman Marcus. I knew enough, but I didn’t have the daily, close-up, hands-on experience I do now. I bought my first $300 Michael Kors handbag after graduating college and it was then that I began to understand the feeling of pride that comes from carrying around a status symbol, one that says, “I am successful because I can afford this bag.” And now I feel silly because I see bags that cost tens of thousands of dollars sitting on my desk and I think, “Wow, now THAT’S a status symbol." When you learn about the history of a brand and the expert craftsmanship of its products, you begin to have a deeper appreciation for the designer and for the label. Currently, my favorite luxury brands are Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and David Yurman. Why? Because it’s 80% of what we sell here, of course.
As part of Couture USA’s expert team that evaluates the authenticity of products, what general tips can you share with designer brand lovers concerned about buying fake items?
I am working alongside and being taught by some of the best authenticators in the business. Our Founder, Catherine Ansel, has been a leader in the luxury designer resale industry for over 15 years and we have a team of authentication experts working tirelessly to ensure that every item we sell is 100% guaranteed authentic. My best tip for brand lovers is this: buy from Couture USA!
Scroll down to shop Michelle's favorites!
In your time as an Online Manager, what do you find the most interesting and what lessons have you learned?
So far, I am most impressed by our luxury designer authentication process. I have really enjoyed the education involved in learning everything there is to know about the nuances and design elements of each iconic designer brand. I didn’t realize how much detective work would be involved and it’s turning out to be one of my favorite aspects of the job, second only to getting to know the wonderful, talented women I have the privilege of working with.
What advice would you give to anyone about customer service and interacting with customers?
Customer service is my jam! I consider myself to be a problem-solving, diplomatic, people person who thrives in situations where I can make others feel happy and heard. My biggest nugget of wisdom for anyone in a customer service role is this: listen and be empathetic, put yourself in their shoes! People want to believe that you understand them, and they want to feel like you are truly trying to help them. It’s really that simple.
What are you most looking forward to in your future here at Couture USA?
I’m looking forward to helping Couture USA become the #1 luxury designer resale business in the market. There’s a huge shift happening in the fashion industry right now and we are at the forefront of a new era, where sustainability is key! How exciting it is to think about being part of a movement that helps save our planet, and we get to look fabulous doing it!