Jim Mischel ’96 (Law) What does Regent graduate Jim Mischel’s family business have in common with Apple, Disney, Amazon and Google? Humble beginnings. Mischel’s company, Electric Mirror, began in his parent’s garage — just like these famous start-ups that are now among the largest, most valuable companies in the world.
While his Regent Law school classmates were busy with internships, Mischel spent his summer breaks trying to figure out how to manufacture and sell high-end mirror defoggers.
Mischel’s father, Jim Mischel Sr., was the type to tinker on projects in his garage when he wasn’t at work in his dental practice. He was his son’s greatest supporter during those early years of product development. Mischel’s mother, sister and brother also each played a role in getting the company off the ground, and are now part of the leadership team.
Today, Electric Mirror is a leader in lighted mirrors and mirror TV technology with a reputation for innovation and beautiful design that’s unsurpassed in the luxury hotel industry. What began with a few family members working from home is now a globally recognized technology company with more than 300 employees and a 50,000-square-foot facility in Everett, Washington.
After spending several years developing innovative products, it’s no surprise Mischel was drawn to the study of patent law. He was watching the 700 Club one day and saw a story about Regent Law. That’s when he decided to head to Virginia.
Mischel didn’t even have enough money to visit the campus, so he applied to Regent’s School of Law site-unseen. And a few weeks later, he drove across the country to start classes. “There were plenty of other law schools,” admits Mischel. “But I told my family, ‘If I don’t go to Regent, I’m not going to law school at all.’”
It was the combination of law, politics and religion that attracted him. Even as a teenager Mischel was involved in politics and religious-freedom issues. “I saw religious discrimination all around me,” recalls Mischel. “I wanted to stand up for the ideals our country was founded on.”
At Regent, Mischel found what he was looking for—a law degree and a community of believers. “It was wonderful to find mature Christians who were passionate about their faith and dedicated to impacting our culture for God.”
For Mischel, being a Christian is not just a personal experience; it’s a way of life. “We need more believers and influencers who are really willing to carry their faith through their businesses. We need more leaders who understand that our Christian faith is the foundation of our country and the basis for everything we do,” declares Mischel. “We have to live it out in the way we run our companies, in the way we vote, in how we treat our families and in the way we get involved in our communities.”
Mischel graduated from Regent in 1996 and sat for the Washington State Bar Exam, followed by the Patent Bar Exam. For a few years he practiced patent law while slowly building his company. In 2001, Electric Mirror reached a turning point with the introduction of a lighted mirror. “It was our first big win,” says Mischel. “That product was a miracle. We invented something that had never existed before.”
But Electric Mirror was no overnight success. It was another five years before Mischel and his company began reaping the rewards. In fact, it took 10 years in the business for Mischel to earn above minimum wage. The first three years, he lived with his parents. The next four years, he shared a house with 10 other men. But Mischel was determined to succeed. “I knew God had better plans for us,” says Mischel. “I couldn’t see past the struggle, but I knew God was guiding me.”
By 2008, Electric Mirror had developed a product that soon became the standard in hospitals all over the world, from the United States to China, France, Russia and more.
While the company serves markets globally, Mischel is a firm believer in manufacturing locally. His passion for American-made products has created a stumbling block on occasion, but he claims it’s worth the sacrifice. “We’ve paid a heavy price to keep our company manufacturing in the U.S.,” Mischel explains. “I believe it’s one of my missions to educate people on good government policy that doesn’t push manufacturing outside the country.”
Investing in the community has been a rewarding experience for Mischel and his family. Electric Mirror strives to create a place of hope and opportunities for transformation. “We get a chance to transform people’s lives,” says Mischel. “By creating American jobs, we show people a better way to live and give them an opportunity to bless others.” Electric Mirror supports several programs that help people return to the workforce and develop skills that allow them to provide for their families.
Mischel’s story is one of toil and triumph. And it doesn’t end with Electric Mirror. Mischel has his sights set on more ambitious goals for the future including opening more businesses, writing a book and starting a church. He even hints that he may run for office some day.