If you were invisible for a single day, what would you do and why? If you could have any other career path in the world, what would it be and why? What would be the first thing that you would do upon winning the lottery?
If I were invisible for a day, I would still be doing exactly what I am doing right now. I love being a leader, a role model, a daughter, a sister, a devoted friend and most of all, I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get every single day.
Tell us about Michelle Murray – the business woman?
Michelle Murray is an empowered young business woman who has been molded by three main inspirations:
I am where I am today because of my limitless passion and drive…but my journey is far from over. Every new experience is an opportunity to be challenged, to achieve success, to grow and to learn. Everyday I am inspired to strive for more knowing that the world has yet to see my full potential.
What is your experience like as Brand Director at Alize? You’ve previously worked for Kraft and Revlon. How were those different? Is this the career path you’d always envisioned?
Being at Kobrand has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I love working in an intimate corporate environment where teams are empowered to run their own businesses and do what’s best for the brands. While I did prosper learning structure and process from larger CPG companies, I do cherish not having to deal with all of the corporate red tape to get innovative ideas passed from fruition to execution.
You’re credited with being the creator of Concrete and Cashmere. Did you come up with the idea alone or was it a team of individuals? Where did the idea come from?
I came up with the idea for the show on a long, restless red eye flight from LA to NYC last October. Once I landed and got back into my office, I vetted the idea and vision with my brand team – Cheryl Talley (Alizé Brand Manager) and Tara Plain (Alizé Brand Assistant, pictured left). They immediately jumped on board and the project grew from there.
Where did the name “Concrete and Cashmere” come from?
The name Concrete + Cashmere was born out of the duality of both the fashion world and the Alizé consumer – a combination of edginess and sophistication that delivers a sexy confidence.
Why pitch it as a series of short webisodes, versus a full television series? Are you looking to have a major network pick up the show?
Concrete + Cashmere has been an ambitious and exciting project for Alizé from the onset. We knew that the idea to create and execute an independent web-based piece of reality programming was extremely bold. As the Alizé brand attracts a fashionable, original and confident consumer, we decided to focus the series on the fashion world and to dedicate the contest to finding the ultimate Alizé “Style Maven.” The fashion based reality program concept fit with the values of the brand perfectly.
Right now, there is a burgeoning trend of marketers partnering with Hollywood producers to have their products placed in digital & viral content. Rather than reaching out to producers on existing projects, we decided to create our own original platform with content relevant to our target consumers. We’ve embedded this original content onto our own microsite, sites where our consumers live like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Vimeo and we continue to push out the content virally as well. Concrete + Cashmere is truly an opportunity for Alizé to stand out in the spirits category.
How important is fashion in your life? Where do you see yourself in the world of fashion? How would you describe your personal style? Which designers do you wear a lot of? Which are your favorites? Is there any celebrity whose fashion sense you admire or whose closet you’d want to raid?
I really have a sense of personal style that is all my own…a combination of classic sensibility mixed with contemporary flair and an occasional edgy twist. Fashion to me is really an extension of my personality and sense of self. It’s important for me to “dress the part” so to speak both in the professional and personal arenas because it’s truly a reflection of my identity.
In the broader world of fashion, I’m an observer but more importantly an avid consumer! I’m always looking to be in the know and incorporate new trends and styles into my daily routine. I am the epitome of what I like to call “New Corporate” – a modern approach to a traditionally conservative environment and a style of dress that reflects today’s movement towards individual expression.
The designers I’m wearing now are Moschino, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, Chanel, Tracy Reese, Burberry, Gucci, Magaschoni, Armani, Roberto Cavalli , Diane Von Furstenberg, Black Halo, Proenza Schouler, Dolce & Gabana…just to name few.
Your background is anchored in marketing and business? Why do a show centered around fashion?
The anchor of the show is really Alizé. The fusion of Alizé with the fashion industry is organic, as the Alizé consumer is passionate, creative and loves to display his/her individuality through personal style. We think that our audience will be entertained and see a bit of him/herself in each contestant, which will make the show all the more fun, entertaining and relevant for our target consumers.
What are your thoughts on other fashion reality shows – Glam God, The Fashion Show, and Project Runway? How do you think Concrete and Cashmere will hold up against these? How do you define “success”?
I love reality TV – fashion based or otherwise! I love the personalities, the drama, the celebrity laden judging panels, the contestant’s fervor to win, I love it all! It would be a true success for Concrete + Cashmere to live up to the precedent set by the fashion-based reality shows on air now. But we are measuring success of Concrete + Cashmere on a more humble basis. A homerun for us would be a measurable increase in brand awareness, a 180 degree change in brand perception, recruitment of new consumers and viewer levels to support multiple seasons of the show.
You’re not only the creator, but you’re also a host on the show? What was that experience like – being in front of the camera?
Being in front of the camera was an awesome experience. I’m typically animated and opinionated, so I focused on just being myself and putting it out there for the world to see. As a leader, managing the judging table and leading the deliberation discussions came naturally. My business and marketing background contributed a distinctive POV to fashion based dialogue.
How are the cast members? Did you have any favorites? Were you a part of the casting process? How did you all choose the cast mates?
We conducted casting calls in New York, Austin and LA and online applications were also accepted at www.concreteandcashmere.com. We literally interviewed and reviewed application from hundreds of fashionable young men and women. After much deliberation, in which we discussed the originality and natural spark that we saw in each personality, we chose eight final contestants to compete for the $10,000 Grand Prize and Fashion Career Polishing Pack. Now that the series is airing, we are incredibly pleased with the diverse, fun cast of characters that we chose to compete and hope the audience feels the same!
If you’re best friend were here, what would they say about you?
Michelle thrives on being creative, self expressive and engaging. Her animated sense of humor and clever story telling leave a lasting impression on everyone she meets.
What is your business philosophy or words to live by?
I always expect the best from myself and from those around me. I believe in delivering the best result, even if that means rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty.
What about fashion – any advice?
Michelle Murray’s fashion advice: wear a well-fitted black pencil skirt, a crisp white blouse, a designer pair of heels and a shiny lipgloss and you’ll be ready for whatever the day or night brings!
The question is not who is going to let me, but rather who is going to stop me.