One of a Few founder Michelle Rizzardo is not one to shy away from a good statement hat.
Michelle Rizzardo is an entrepreneur, a mom, and the founder of the beautiful Gastown boutique, One of a Few. Rizzardo's goal in opening the shop was to bring exclusive and well-made designs to Vancouver. Since opening in 2005, Michelle has become increasingly passionate about empowering local artists, and facilitating a relationship between designers and consumers. With wedding and party season well under way, Team Woodlot sat down with Michelle to get her tips on shopping for special events, and to learn a thing or two about her personal approach to business and fashion.
What sparked the decision to start your own business?
After graduating from university, I spent three years working and traveling through Asia. When I came back to Vancouver, I went to business school with the intention of returning to Asia with an MBA. As I dove into writing a business plan for a mock clothing store that I called “Olive,” the idea started to feel more realistic and attainable. After completing business school, I knew I wanted to make this a career, and decided to stay here in Vancouver. I wouldn't have been able to follow through on opening the shop without my family, friends, and teachers. I am so grateful for them!
A selection of Martiniano glove shoes available at Michelle's shop.
Are there any new pieces in the shop currently that you are particularly excited about?
I personally am a shoe and bag hoarder, so I am always most excited about those every season. For summer, I love MNZ sandals and Creatures of Comfort bags. The three summer must-haves in my opinion are Laura School slides, Jesse Kamm sailor pants, and a Clyde hat.
Wedding season is here in a big way. What pieces would you suggest for those of us who are going to one, two (or more!) weddings this summer?
Feel comfortable and confident in your outfit choice—it will make your night so much more enjoyable! I always suggest wearing a stand out piece like a fun pair of shoes, a clutch, or a statement necklace. Weddings are special and are the perfect venue to try out things you wouldn’t normally wear.
This Building Block basket bag is one of the beautiful leather bags available at One of a Few.
Who is your go-to designer when picking out something to wear to a special event?
That's a tough one. We carry over 50 designers in the store, and I've worn a piece from each of them at one time or another. I honestly just pick whatever is fun and makes me feel good!
Picking out gifts can be daunting. Do you have any favourite gift ideas that we could find at the store?
We have people coming in all the time asking for gift ideas. It's always interesting when people take the plunge and try to choose clothing for others. We have lots of fun helping them find the perfect thing—when it works out it feels amazing!
We see Woodlot products being purchased as gifts a lot. In particular, the Original Candle, the Refreshing Mist, and Charcoal Soap are guaranteed picks. Aside from that, we stock linens, pottery, books, and jewelry, so there's never a shortage of little something’s to grab as gifts!
One of a Few carries a selection of stoneware, like this "eye-catching" mug by Portland ceramic artist, Martina Thornhill.
Does being surrounded by beautiful clothes all day inspire you to dress up? Or do you keep it casual?
While I don’t wear my gym clothes to work, I do tend to keep it pretty casual. I'm inspired by clothing that makes me feel good, and that is made in North America or by fair trade companies. Being surrounded by the endless creativity of the designers we carry does make me dress with purpose, and I love putting outfits together every morning.
What do you do to relax when you aren’t at the shop?
I hang out with my kids, my husband, my family, and friends. They are a huge part of my life, and who I am.
Do you have any natural beauty and health rituals?
I wash my face and brush my teeth every day and every night, regardless of how tired I am; and I try to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day.
What is your one can’t-live-without-it piece of clothing?
One!!!!? I can choose an outfit: My Pansy bra, a white shirt, and vintage jeans.
Thanks for the shopping inspiration, Michelle. See you at the shop!