Michele Cheowtirakul Braxton

My role:

Founder and CEO

My childhood ambition: 

I didn't realize it at the time, but it was to invent things!

My education:

Is mostly about learning by doing.  But I'm grateful for the analytical grounding and inspiring peers that places like UCLA, Wharton and the companies I've worked for gave me

My muse:

The gwenyth Team, our Muses, and dancers who are so technically and emotionally talented they take your breath away

My story:

gwenyth began taking shape after I fell in love with movement all over again as an adult. I grew up in Pasadena, CA and starting at age 6 dreamily watched classic musicals every Sunday on television, oblivious to the fact that many of my favorites were filmed just on the other side of the hills near my house. But despite my ardent desire to be able to move like Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly, I thought dancing wasn’t something that Chinese kids did. So of course, I ended up with piano lessons and Chinese school.

In 2010, after a career in management consulting and non-profit management, I got engaged, moved with my fiancé to Atlanta, GA, and transitioned to a job in corporate strategy.   With a more laid-back schedule in the South, I started taking hip hop dance classes at a local dance studio, but would intently watch the ballet, barre, and contemporary dance classes, not believing I could ever move like that until…

I was encouraged into a class by an inspiring instructor who danced with the award-winning Pilobolus Company. That was the beginning of my addiction to movement – its physics, its form, its feeling.  But I couldn't quite find something a top that was both classically feminine but modernly functional - like dance.  A couple years later on a whim, I stopped into a Crate and Barrel store, asked for some tissue paper, sketched a rough first pattern of a top I wanted for myself.  And so gwenyth and The Modern Classic Top + Tunic were born.

Since then, I've been to dozens of barre, dance, pilates, and aerial studios to find inspiration and test our inventions.   Meeting movement artists and entrepreneurs is one of the best things I get to do!