The Magic of Mielle Organics: BGFMag Talks with Founder/CEO Monique Rodriguez & Celebrity Brand Ambassador Yandy Smith
How good and how rewarding it is to be able to follow your dream with no holds bar; to watch that dream become a reality, and to witness that reality’s global expansion and impact on hundreds of thousands, even millions of people. When Monique Rodriguez started her natural product line, Mielle Organics (2014), that is the exact path of execution she took. On Saturday, November 14th, Mielle Organics hosted an exquisite celebration for their brand’s success at Deuces & The Diamond Club, releasing exciting brand-related news, and introducing their newest Celebrity Brand Ambassador, Yandy Smith. This was no ordinary function: this was a red carpet event and guests made sure to pull out all the stops!
The event was hosted by BravoTV’s Africa Miranda who brought a vibrant energy and presence, adorned in a voluptuously curly crown, exuberant demeanor and commentary during the course of the night. Guests included all sorts of photographers, fashionistas, naturalistas, esteemed bloggers [i.e. Happily Ever Natural’s Michelle Thames (@naturalista86) & Nae2Curly’s Janae Mason (@Nae2Curly)], stylists, and excited supporters alike! This after work/cocktail hour themed event had so much to offer for entertainment and mingling purposes: from an open bar with signature drinks, refreshments, live DJ, red carpet photography, and gift giveaways! What a time!
There were keynote presenters for this event who showed us the multifunctions of Mielle Organic products. We caught up with one our favorite #BlackGirlsInStem, Erica Douglas, more famously known as Sister Scientist (@sisterscientist), a cosmetic chemist, who gave tips on proper natural hair care & product usage, highlighting the quality and utility of Mielle Organics. There was also a segment of quick styling using the products on live models conducted by esteemed hair stylist Chris Curse. You see, this was no ordinary natural hair care event and we've come to see that Mielle Organics is no ordinary brand!
When we sat down with Founder/CEO Monique Rodriguez, she shared some gems with us about how she got started with her business, how it feels to have a successful business, and what it takes to make your dream a reality.
BGFM: With the rapid success of Mielle Organics in such a short time frame, how does it feel?
MR: Honestly, it is a humbling and blessed experience! This is something that I prayed on and, to see everything come to life is so AMAZING! I really feel like this is my purpose and so many doors have opened for me through this.
BGFM: How did you adjust, from having a boss to being the boss?
MR: Oh, I adjusted quite well. I don't want to say that I don't like authority, but I just could not see myself working for someone else for the rest of my life, when I have the gifts and tools at my disposal to be in charge all the time.
BGFM: Going forward, as you start to see more women entrepreneurs looking up to you and following along the same or a similar path as yours, what would be your advice to them?
MR: Find something that you're passionate about. If you're not passionate, it's probably not going to work. Just because I've always had an entrepreneur mindset does not mean I've always known what my passion was.
BGFM: In the spirit of BlackGirlFly, what would you consider to be your fly factor; what is your magic?
MR: My magic is that I'm relatable. Sometimes when people get to a certain level of success or status they don't like to reach out or give back. I have never forgotten where I've come from. To have all of these people here to support me is a blessing, all of this is a blessing. So, my magic is that I've remained a humble person. If people ask me questions, I will answer; I'm no different than the person I was before the success.
Powerful words, by a genuinely warm, dedicated woman who also introduced me to her new (celebrity) Brand Ambassador Yandy Smith-Harris (producer, manager and reality TV personality) who also shared her journey to success as a businesswoman, how she balances family and work, and projects she's currently working on. Yandy appeared with husband Mendeecees and daughter Skylar to show love and support for the event and speak with guests and reporters, giving her insight on natural hair care, her personal experience using Mielle Organics, and also giving us insight on an amazing initiative she's spearheading for young women.
BGFM: How did you come about being an ambassador for Mielle Organics? We did learn that you use the products on yourself and family, but what prompted you to decided that you wanted to be one of the faces of the brand?
YS: I was definitely on a natural hair care journey. My hair has gotten so damaged from shooting (Love & HipHop NewYork) so I was looking for products to restore my hair’s health and natural curl pattern. Monique actually reached out to us to try the products and I LOVED THEM! Immediately I said ‘I want more! Where can I buy more?’ and that's how the relationship was built. So, when she asked me to be an ambassador I said ‘Absolutely’. I love to promote brands that I can stand behind.
BGFM: Aside from your partnership with Mielle Organics, what other projects and initiatives are you working on?
YS: Oh my! I'm working on so much! Of course, I still have Love & Hip-Hop going on. I also am producing a film set to be released next year and have decided to procure a natural skin care line. This natural hair journey has made me more attentive to all around health and upkeep & taught me so much about myself, my hair, my skin, and how to properly care for it and preserve it. I also have my own lifestyle brand called Everything Girls Love, specifically our mentorship program PUD (Partners Uplifting our Daughters). We host seminars all across the United States and we just had our first international seminar in the Bahamas with over 150 young women between the ages of 13-18 in attendance. It was amazing!
Hey yawl I’m Tyler Marie, or Ty as I’ve come to be called. I am a (West-Side) Chicagoan ‘til Chicago ends. I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School here in the city and went on to attend the first Private HBCU, Wilberforce University (OH) where I obtained my B.A. Sociology in 2012. It’s probably pretty clear now that writing is kind of ‘my thing’ but I’m more than okay with that. Other hobbies include eating, playing basketball, modeling and singing. Basically, I spend all my time trying to be as fly of a Black Girl as I can be. Connect with me via: Twitter/Instagram- @_Mighty5| Tumblr- iamjusttyler.tumblr.com