In anticipation of our first Melbourne store’s imminent opening, we sat down with Michael – our new Melbourne Store Leader. Previously a staple in our Sydney store, Michael is moving south to lend his wisdom, charisma and charm to our first street-front store team. In this interview, we discuss international travel, hospitality and David Bowie…
1.Describe yourself in 3 words.
Idiosyncratic, considerate and perceptive.
2.What did you do before working for Icon By Design?
From 2005-2016 my time was spent globetrotting and living in Europe. I spent 2 years living in Brighton, England and 8 years in Berlin, Germany. I travelled extensively throughout this period and managed to visit over 30 countries. Most of my working career has been in hospitality. I studied hospitality management after finishing school and it has proven to be a very stable industry – I’ve never had a problem finding work overseas. Whilst in Europe, I worked for some of the most exclusive boutique hotels and restaurants. This exposure to great empathetic service and language, enabled me to build up my communication skills both verbal and non-verbal. It’s also helped me to master the art of “finding common ground” with people of all cultures.
3.What appealed to you about working for Icon By Design?
I’ve always been someone who goes against the grain. Even as a child I was always doing my own thing, with little care of what the other boys were doing. This was one of the reasons I was attracted to cities such as Brighton and Berlin. My career has been no different, I tend to seek out visionary companies that are changing industries. Icon By Design is one of these companies. I’m also someone who is guided by inner values and my values are very much aligned with that of Icon By Design.
4.What are you most passionate about?
I’m extremely passionate about culture. Like myself, my father is a huge traveller and worked in HR, perhaps this curiosity and love of people and behaviours was inherited from him. Culture encompasses music, art, religion, fashion and design all of which I find fascinating. I’m also extremely passionate about our company culture – we really have something special.
5.What do you think makes Icon By Design different to other furniture retailers?
Consistency in products and services! My previous experiences working for furniture retailers has not been great. Constant sales promotions, targets and haggling games with customers left me feeling deflated and made the company culture toxic. Icon By Design offers the very best price upfront, through a pre-order option. It’s consistent all year round. This is an extremely honest way of discounting and allows staff to be genuine with our guests and each other. My job is to educate guests and not play bartering games. I also appreciate that we commit to one style, which just happens to be my favourite.
6.Who are your heroes / who do you go to for inspiration?
David Bowie. David Bowie influenced the fashion and music industry like no other. I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat of a chameleon and I guess my inspiration comes from him. He constantly reinvented himself while always staying cool, colourfully flamboyant and relentlessly iconic. His lyrics are enigmatic, graceful and fascinating and I often find myself lost in them. Simon Sinek has recently become someone I aspire to. His books and Ted Talks have been life changing and my quality of work has increased dramatically since I discovered his work.
7.What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Learning how to communicate fluently in second language has been my greatest achievement so far. To me German is the most beautiful language and I am proud to be able to communicate with its people. It is highly expressive, polite and poetic.
8.What’s your life motto / mantra?
“Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated” It was my mother’s favourite quote. This motto has helped me to develop my empathic nature, which I consider one of my greatest attributes.
9.What’s your favourite Icon By Design product?
I love the Jolanda desk. It’s the desk I use at work and I guess I’ve built an emotional connection with it!
10.Where are you found on your days off?
I try and spend my days off out and about in the great outdoors. I’m also a little obsessed with museums; I’m sure Melbourne and I will be a match made in heaven!