A Day with Supermarket Creative's Michelle Leshem
By Jon Warech
Back in 2004, when no one was partying downtown, Michelle Leshem waved her magic wand and turned Pawn Shop Lounge into cool-kid central. Today, as the cofounder of Supermarket Creative, the brand director and professional buzz maker is still the voice of what’s hip for the Wynwood generation.
It’s 7:30 am when the sun creeps in through Leshem’s powderblue drapes. She snuggles next to her 13-year-old American cocker spaniel, Kismet, while reading the newspaper on her Hotel Collection pillow-top bed (the mattress is a Stearns & Foster). Out in the kitchen, she and her husband/business partner, Sean Drake, enjoy a low-stress meal at the 1960s Chromcraft breakfast table that Michelle refurbished. Before heading out, Leshem paints her lips in a bold red Chanel lipstick and dresses in a self-described “quirky girl meets tomboy” wardrobe packed with independent designers, vintage items, and brand names such as Marc Jacobs. In her home and with her clothes, Leshem opts for only vibrant colors after leaving the gray weather of her native Toronto 15 years ago, but her bright appearance matches her throwback “Kodachrome” lifestyle, which, from the moment she wakes, shouts, “All the world’s a sunny day.”
Whether at home brainstorming on her vintage 1960s mod rattan sleeper sofa in her Florida room or at “the studio”—her term, since she refuses to use the word “office”—Leshem is in a creative space. Music plays at all times, as she and Drake draw up plans for their latest project. At 1pm, it’s a lunch break at Gigi or off to unwind with a little “me time” refurbishing furniture, but juxtaposed with every vintage 1950s Formica coffee table, 1960s walnut credenza, or CB2 living room couch with mid-century legs that she added, there’s a very modern, trend-defining plan on how to customize her clients’ business. “I’m always thinking, How can I alter it, if I don’t think it’s perfect?” she says. She’s talking about her furniture, but the same mind-set applies to that bar you love or that store you can’t stop going to, because it’s very likely it was Leshem who made it perfect.
As the sun goes down, Leshem shines even brighter. Whether she’s mingling at Broken Shaker, Backyard Boogey-ing at Wood Tavern, or deejaying until 2 am as part of the all-female Ess & Emm DJ duo, her style turns heads. Leshem marches to the beat that she creates, and many around town bop their heads right along with her. It’s a vibe that comes naturally since she’s moved to Miami, or as she calls it, “the vacation that never ended.”