In a profit-driven world, many people face the dilemma of needing to choose between their passion and practicality. Filipinos often go with the latter when their passion happens to be related to arts since opportunities are scarce in their country with the undersupported art scene. Those who have bravely embraced their creative souls despite all uncertainties are already considered victorious. Michele and Andy Rivera are one of them.
The Riveras are full-time wedding photographers from Chicago who steer the Misha Media company. Its name was derived from their daughter who has special needs. Though, going to the photography route wasn’t their original plan as they came from the medical field. They took a leap of faith to pursue what they have always loved and for love—to give more time for Misha, integrating their work and life. Soon enough, they realized that it was the best decision they ever made.
When businesses met a sour turn due to the pandemic, the said dilemma surfaced once more but in another context: how can they continue to make art while still being able to earn? In this unique time, they’ve found another pivot that also stemmed from love. Michele’s passion for running and endurance training that is regularly shared through her Instagram, My E Three, has ultimately become their source of income. Even so, it is not only a business for them but an avenue where Michele can share her fitness journey and where they can impart valuable life experiences as parents to a young girl with special needs as well as encourage others to follow their passions. My E Three is a lifestyle and wellness-inspired brand that sells activewear products for women and men to make them feel empowered, enlightened, and encouraged.
Indeed, blessings come when you do things in good faith. My E Three flourished even when it was founded in the midst of COVID-19. Currently, they offer neck gaiters and masks that come with a filter pocket and a unique bungee cord design that prevents ear fatigue. The people appreciate the effort that Michele puts in every artwork and are beyond pleased with My E Three’s customer service. The Riveras said that they’ve learned so much from Misha Media because they obtained the discipline to invest in mastering their craft and to put themselves in the shoes of their patrons. They even take time to personally write a thank you note for each of their customers. Most of all, the husband and wife team raises the Filipino flag high as they give back to communities and have their products made in the Philippines.
Since the pandemic hit, they have already donated 1,000 masks to Filipino charities and underprivileged communities, including the tricycle drivers in Batasan Hills through their friend who directly visits the locations with a team of volunteers. “We want to go back to our roots because it felt right to do so,” Michele explained as they find success as and with the Filipinos. It is also empowering to know that despite life's challenges, Michele's drive and passions have continued to inspire her on her quest for a fulfilling life. This mindset only further underscores that we all have our own races to run and we must embrace all the setbacks and fears and continue to push on. Michele's story is a clear example that everything is possible in life, as long as you follow your passions and never give up. As Michele would say, "it is about progress, not perfection."
Recently, the power couple was recognized by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in celebration of Filipino American History Month. They were among six Filipino businesses recognized throughout the U.S. It will never be too late to “explore what you’ve always loved,” Michelle said. To that note, Andy adds, "whatever business you're in, don't make profit your number one priority. As business owners, we have always followed our passions. As a result, we don't mind putting in the extra effort to go beyond what is required of us."
My E Three is a symbol of “empowerment, encouragement, and enlightenment” to the community. The Riveras are grateful for all of their blessings and Filipinos cannot be prouder to see their values and heritage vibrantly embodied by My E Three. Truly, the Es it represents is for everyone to embrace and share with others.
You can find My E Three’s product and content at www.myethree.com and Instagram accounts @myethree and @shopmyethree.