Mielle Organics is the fastest growing natural hair care company in over 100,000 stores.
It’s not easy to name women who are CEOs of their own successful hair business, find time to manage their family life, and have the gusto to cleverly take over the Essence Festival without incident but somehow Monique Rodriguez can do it all.
Starting her Chicago based business from inside her garage, in only four short years, the mother of two girls, turned Mielle Organics into a multi-million-dollar brand that’s sold in over 100,000 major retailers. She also manages to make her products a celebrity necessity which earns her company the title of being one of the fastest growing natural hair care companies in the game. She’s playing to win.
When climbing to the top of the mountain of success, there are often valleys to endure, and in Monique’s case, her business was birthed as a result of a catastrophic tragedy one year before the launch of Mielle Organics which left her family shook.
In 2013, while eight months pregnant with her son Milan, things went left when her uterus ruptured causing her to be rushed to the hospital. Disturbingly, instead of doctors requesting that she stay under their watchful eye to monitor her health, they choose to release her, having no idea that her son was losing oxygen to his brain daily.
Sadly, when Milan was born, he was diagnosed brain dead with cause to believe that he would not live a functional life. He was removed from life support after six months.
Determined to fill the void in her life and escape the reality of losing a loved one, Monique turned to something that she’s always been passionate about– beauty and hair care.
“I started to talk about what I love, what ingredients were good for the hair, and the products I used on social media,” Monique shared exclusively with Upscale. Her social media following would rapidly increase after sharing educational content about hair care. “I built a platform that people could trust.”
What Monique didn’t know was her love for hair and using social media to cope with the loss of her son would catapult her into an influencer of the beauty business. It didn’t take long for her followers to encourage her to create amazing products.
“I felt that God was pushing me to do so,” she shared enthusiastically. “This was a gift and my calling. Ever since I was young, people would ask me about my long hair, but I never thought that I could make a career of it.”
Taking a leap of faith with her husband whom she has known since the age of 16, the 35-year-old Chicago native chose to take the route of being an entrepreneur with minimum support and one bottle of oil that she sold online.
“I’m not a chemist, but I knew what worked best for my hair and I got in the proverbial lab,” she shared. “We received a small investment from a friend and the continued support of my mother, and we went straight to work.”
Mielle’s hair care products only use natural and certified organic ingredients, making it one of the most sought-after products on the market. Its best sellers are the White Peony Leave-In Conditioner and the Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner.
“Every ingredient we use promotes healthy hair growth,” Monique explains. She also believes that everyone who shops her product should not only get the best ingredients but also an experience that brings them back for more.
“Anytime you get a product or a shipment from us, we want you to feel good about the performance, but you also become a part of the brand family whom we call Mielle Mavens,” she reveals.
With a growing demand from her “Mielle Mavens,” her brand went from just beauty products to a skincare line developed off of consumer feedback.
“People would ask me what I use on my skin and request that I create skin care products. So we took that feedback and surveyed our customers about what they needed for their skin and we worked to make our Maven’s happy.”
Once again, success! Growing into a multi-million-dollar brand that can be found in every retailer including Target, Sally Beauty, CVS and more, Monique knew she had to share the wealth with those in need by creating her non-profit organization, Mielle Cares.
“God has given me this platform to help others,” Monique acknowledges. “The organization makes donations to families in need during the Christmas season and throughout the year.
“We donate toys to the children’s hospitals in Chicago, and we recently went to the inner city of Chicago and handed out gift cards to random people, just to let people know that we care.”’
Monique’s need to share has no limit. Just recently, she partnered with an organization to give a few girls a one in a lifetime opportunity.
“This year we partnered with iGlow Mentoring, which is a nonprofit organization to honor 21 girls and take them on an educational trip to London. We want them to have the experience of a lifetime.” Monique hopes that this trip will broaden the horizon of these young women allowing them to appreciate life beyond their city.
When asked what advice she could offer to young women looking to start a business, Monique simply stated, “Do what you love, and what you are passionate about because there are going to be obstacles and challenges and you will want to give up.” She continues, “This is when you will need your passion to fuel and give you strength because running a business is not easy.”
Monique also feels that you need a strong mentality when walking in the world of business. “ Education is key. No one knows your business better than you, so learn your genre of business and be mentally strong so that you can never feel or be broken.”
Admitting that there are both pros and cons to owning a business, Monique confesses that having the freedom and flexibility is a plus when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, that means that she is a member of #TeamNoSleep. “I am still learning how to relax,” she accepts, recognizing it as a flaw.
When she’s not managing her business’ growth, she’s living for spa days. Monique takes limited free time to get her hair done and indulge in the luxury of getting a manicure and pedicure. She also loves the comfort of a deep massage and a fresh facial mask.
Monique also uses travel to relax and unwind because even with a multi-million-dollar business, she’s still a lady!
Written by: Tweety Elitou