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Conversations with the Inspiring Michelle Provencher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Provencher.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My company, The Love Mich Collection, began in the summer of 2008. I was 24 years old, and a little over a year into my “big girl job” as a paralegal at a local law firm. But, my dream job was to own my own fashion line. I had been teaching myself how to sew since high school every spare moment that I had.

At my job at the law firm, my coworkers and I loved our Dunkin Donuts trips. It was a nice break from the office and well, iced coffee was (and remains) the best type of coffee in my book.

Our to-go cups from Dunkin Donuts kept sweating on our desks and I thought, “there has got to be something to make this stop!” I considered the standard beer/soda can koozie (different than a cozy!) but it didn’t keep the drink cold and none of them were cute, nor did they really fit on the cup.

A few summer nights in the middle of June in my makeshift “studio” (also known as a corner of the spare bedroom), having sewn many prototypes, the Love Mich Coffee Cozy was officially born. I proudly brought my newly constructed cozy into work the next day and made everyone admire and try it!

One of my coworkers was going to a scrapbooking event in a few weeks and suggested I make a batch of cozies for her to sell at the event. And so, I did, and she sold them. All of them! That’s when I thought, “Ok, here’s where we start!” And by “we” I meant, just me because I was the only employee of Love Mich at the time, but I always had a bigger picture in mind.

In the years that followed I added many different women’s and children’s accessories to the Love Mich Collection but the coffee cozies have always been our best seller and now dominate our line. I opened an Etsy shop in the early years and later opened my own online store at www.lovemichcollection.com.

As the years continued, word of mouth fueled my business. The more people that purchased a cozy and loved it, the more people that shared their experience with my company and my products.

In early 2016, while pregnant with my daughter, I doodled the word “Mama” as a potential fabric design. It turned out to be my first exclusive print and the tipping point that drove the demand for my product beyond my wildest dreams. In July, 2016, I was able to quit my full time day job as a paralegal to become a full time entrepreneur! It was, and still is, a dream come true!

Today, the demand for our coffee cozies is unreal. No matter how many we restock, and how often we restock them, they consistently sell out in mere minutes. We continue to grow in leaps and bounds each year and could not be more proud. I am forever grateful for the Love Mich team as well as our amazing fans and supporters!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It most certainly has not been a smooth road! When I was first starting out I was excited by the newness of making and marketing all sorts of different things. But, when you aren’t selling anything or it feels like you are a tiny fish in a huge pond, it can get discouraging. It was also difficult because I worked 40+ hours a week at a challenging day job and was trying to make my business happen in the nights and weekends. That doesn’t leave much time for connecting with your family and friends or having time to relax and you can burn out fast! It is a constant battle of trying to find the perfect work / life balance.

As the years progressed and our demand increased substantially, the opposite challenge of not having enough product happened! That is something most businesses dream of, but it’s also really difficult to navigate. There are always going to be challenges when you run a business, the important part is how you deal with them. Don’t dwell on it, find a solution.

My advice for women that are just starting our in their journey, is to educate yourself. Completely immerse yourself in the field of business you are interested in. Read every book you can find about it. Read other people’s stories on how they got started and where they are now. Read every blog and article you can find. When you begin your business, make sure that you have something that is unique to you. That could be a product, a style, or a service you offer. Be inspired by others, but find your own path that will make you stand out.

My advice for other women who are facing challenges in their business life is to ask for help. As women (and especially as moms), we tend to handle most things on our own and rarely ask for help, but that can backfire big time. You cannot do everything yourself if you want to grow your business. You will burn out. Believe me, I’ve been there more than once! Even if that means paying a friend in products to help you package things or swapping child care with another mom, it will make a world of difference to have extra hands!

When you want to give up, keep going. That’s when the magic happens.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Love Mich Collection story. Tell us more about the business.
At Love Mich, we are best known for our handmade coffee cozies! They are all made right here in Massachusetts. They are primarily used and recognized for iced beverages, but they work great for hot beverages as well. For iced beverages, the cozy keeps your drink cold and your cup from dripping and sweating. For hot beverages, you can ditch the cardboard sleeve that most coffee shops have and pop on a Love Mich cozy to keep your drink warm longer! Our coffee cozies also aren’t just for to-go cups – there are a plethora of reusable cups that our cozies fit on as well! It is one of those products that you never knew you needed until you have one! Then, you can’t remember how you lived without it!

What sets Love Mich apart from others is that we have a team of creative women that are awesome at spotting trends as well as designing and choosing the best prints for our collection. Also, we have been making, selling, and perfecting our cozies for the last 10 years. Love Mich has truly become the trendsetter in the beverage sleeve world!

What I am most proud of personally is how far I have taken this little dream of mine and for all the possibilities for the future of Love Mich. Professionally, I am incredibly proud of the team of women we have here and all that we have accomplished together.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
All women in my life and those that I admire have inspired me in some way. Women are powerful creatures that often can handle far more than they believed they could. We all have our own unique set of strengths and admirable qualities.

Pricing:

  • All Love Mich Coffee Cozies are $24 each plus shipping

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Brooke Ellen Photography

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