A bosslady from the start, Michelle Hisae Meronek first began making and selling jewelry from her childhood bedroom at the age of eight. The Southern Californian’s specialty: amethyst-beaded creations designed to dazzle her mom and her friends and presented under the name Hisae, which makes her possibly the most consistently branded entrepreneur in all the land.
Before settling into gemstones for her adult career, though, Michelle took on a few apparel-world internships—but she knew deep-down that realm wasn’t exactly the right fit. “I am a very tactile person, so I needed something where I could physically create and be dirty all of the time,” Michelle explains. So she turned to Craigslist (where else?!) and found a mentor in established jeweler Claire Kinder, who took a chance on Michelle and taught her everything she knows—or, at least, everything she hadn’t taught herself in grade school.
In 2016, it was time: Michelle flew the nest and launched M. Hisae—a collection of precise rings, earrings, and necklaces with standout, unusually shaped stone settings that let her take advantage of the recycled fine metals and conflict-free diamonds she favors. “I gravitate towards commitment jewelry that’s meant to have longevity,” she says of one of the house specialties. “You can look at a piece and see it’s going to have a lifetime of wear.” Makes sense since she’s been working on this for almost all of hers already. —