Artist and designer Michelle Pang has been creating art since childhood, relishing the challenge of drawing things in great detail. After high school, she majored in Illustration in college, eager to see where her creative journey would take her and determined to find her artistic voice.
She dabbled in freelance work, participated in painting exhibitions and experimented with crafts. In 2016, she discovered a way to create art for the greater good.
Under the name Misheo, Michelle makes scarves and art prints from handcrafted original illustrations, inspired by nature’s unique flora and fauna. She strongly believes that biodiversity is important not only for the health of the environment, but also for the health of our people.
Her goal? To raise awareness for local wildlife, rare wildlife, and threatened species. Below, Michelle shares her inspiring business journey and advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to create your business?
All my life, I’ve been searching for a purpose for my art. I wanted to create something practical but also meaningful. Over time, my style has evolved as I combine my illustrations to suit my love of nature and my interest in creating wearable scarves. With this business, I also hope to inspire others to take a step into a diverse world filled with different animals and plants!
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship just happened naturally for me. I love the freedom of being able to create artwork that speaks to my interests. I’ve always been a creative person, but I also enjoy wearing the other “hats” for my business.
Do you remember what some of your original designs were?
My first designs for Misheo were the Cosmic Garden and Crystal Grid designs!
How long did it take you to develop your artistic style?
I feel like my artistic style has been constantly evolving since I first started making art, but finding a goal really helped to solidify things. After launching Misheo, my style became more consistent. By this time, I knew what subject matter I was really interested in, and I knew that I wanted to continue to put a lot of detail in my work so people can really value it.
Where did your passion for biodiversity come from?
I believe animals and plants work together to support each other and preserve the health of the planet. There’s a quote from the Dalai Lama that I love: “The creatures that inhabit this earth – be they human beings or animals – are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.” This is definitely one reason I think diversity is important.
What’s your creative process?
Each design I make stems from an original work of art that includes elegant arrangements of natural motifs. After carefully researching flora and fauna I would like to recreate, I create the drawings completely from scratch using traditional media such as pencil and ink.
The colouring phase usually involves either watercolour or converting the art to digital and experimenting with different colours until a harmonious combination is created.
How long does it take you to create one scarf?
Each scarf is printed with an original illustration that can take up to one month to complete.
Do you currently have anyone else on your team or are you a solopreneur?
For now, I’m a solopreneur.
What were some of the challenges you faced in the first few months of starting the business?
Before I started the business, I figured there would be a big learning curve, so I tried to take things one step at a time. Still, there was a lot I needed to learn in the areas of marketing, wholesaling, selling at trade shows and more.
The good thing is that I am able to identify my weaknesses. so I can read up on how to improve them. I don’t think the challenges stop. Even now, I am still learning how to do things better and more efficiently.
Are you currently working on Misheo full-time or side-hustling?
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are dealing with frustration in the early stages of their businesses?
Don’t overwhelm yourself! If you are selling products, start with perfecting a few and see how they go. Do your research, keep going and don’t give up!
What’s next for Misheo? Do you have any exciting projects coming up that would like to share?
We’re launching a new collection later this year! Make sure to follow us on social media to get the latest updates.