Melissa Andre; Los Angeles; @melissaandre
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I design and produce spaces, parties, events, experiences and products with a focus on dreamy design details.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to McMaster University and they just honoured me with an alumni award!
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
I was hired to work in the international special events department at M.A.C Cosmetics pretty soon after graduating.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
That’s a tough one for me to answer because I feel like every job my company gets is another opportunity to achieve a “big break” moment. I planned a pretty gorgeous party for GQ magazine a few GRAMMYs ago to celebrate The Weeknd’s wins and his birthday.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
I’m not sure I’ve ever really stopped to think about that. When I started the business I worked really, really hard to make sure I never got to a point where I’d run out of savings and have to shut down and start working for someone else because my business wasn’t sustainable. I still operate with that same perspective.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
It’s been challenging to be the entrepreneur and the creative director, and also run all of the business operations. With more experience I realized that the entrepreneur and the business manager should be two different people, even though I loved the day-to-day tasks.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
You can’t always control everything that happens in business but you can control how hard you work.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
I have a tough time with “done is better than perfect.” Doing great work is much more complicated than that.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
As a female entrepreneur, I wholeheartedly believe it’s not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up! There have been ups and downs within my past 10 years of business but I feel like I’m finally at a place where I have a great team alongside me and we can tackle any challenge.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not?
I’m so lucky to set my own rates. I have no idea what other people in my field make and I’ve never really thought to look into it.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
I’ve heard people call millennials lazy but in my experience, they’re some of the hardest-working people I know! I’ve also heard that millennials expect things to happen right away, which I find a great quality. I’m very impatient.