COO of Mielle Organics, Melvin Rodriguez and his wife, Monique are behind one of the fastest growing natural hair care companies for women of color! The Chicago native co-founded a 6-week mentorship program titled, The Secret Sauce to Success Academy to create an experience for entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality! Of course, we had to sit down with him to discuss all the details and much more!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a driven individual that does not take “No” for an answer, I don’t understand “No.” I just have a philosophy of always figuring things out. When I’m faced with challenges, I have a philosophy of just praying through things. I’m very spiritual, my belief and faith is very strong. I enjoy people and I love to see others win. I just want to be able to help people.
Prior to Mielle, I was a Project Engineer with UPS for over 20 years. I graduated with my Bachelors in Computer Information so I’m all about technology. You’re probably wondering how in the world I went from Computer and Engineering to selling shampoo and conditioner. It’s funny how life can do a full 360 on you. I’ve found that what we do really relates to who I am in terms of impacting life. We’re doing it in a different aspect with our company but when I talk about me helping others, our companies and journey has been impactful for people around the world. It’s allowed me to adapt to this industry because of how we go about running our business.
Mielle Organics is one of the fastest growing natural hair care companies for women of color. Why do you think the company has been as successful as it has?
First and foremost, my wife and I have been blessed. One of the main reasons why we’ve been so successful and consistent with our growth is because we have been consistent. We’ve been authentic, my wife Monique has really resonated the almighty consumer. They love, respect, and value her. She inspires them on a daily basis. She has allowed the consumer to be apart of our journey and story. She has been able to present herself individually to young ladies who look like her or been through similar situations as her. I think a lot of that has just been her being authentic.
Tell us about the creation of The Secret Sauce to Success Academy. What inspired the creation of it?
The creation of it was because when Monique and I started Mielle, the only thing we had was of course God but each other. We didn’t come from a business or an entrepreneurship background. We didn’t know this, we only heard of this. For us, as we grew and as we learned, we have made a commitment that we understand that our success and story is great but it doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to others. We’ve committed ourselves to pay it forward so we created this academy to teach aspiring entrepreneurs the business. We wanted to teach them things they may encounter in business. We felt it was important to lead by example.
How do you believe the challenges in life have taught you how to become so business-savvy in this industry?
Well, for us we embraced the challenges. We understand and have always been this way that nothing in life would be given to us. We understand that in order to get garner that success, you have to go through it. Our philosophy has always been do what you have to do, learn as much as you can, so that at some point you can do what you want to do. We’ve learned costly mistakes but it’s only taught us to be more accountable to run our business. It can be trying sometimes but it’s important to really welcome and embrace challenges. Things that are worth having, you have to embrace the challenges, it’s just that simple.
What advice would you share with our readers?
We’re in the millennial environment and there are many aspiring entrepreneurs out there. I would say don’t believe everything you see on social media. A huge percent of things you see isn’t true. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter ten. Most importantly, I would love to share that if you’re looking to enter the entrepreneurship arena, make sure its something that is truly your passion. Make sure that you can embrace the challenges.
What can we expect to see from Mielle Organics and The Secret Sauce Academy in the future ?
For Mielle, you’re going to see of course, additional product skews. With us, we do a lot of consumer inquiries based upon the feedback that we get. We develop and innovate against their needs. Additional skews will be added to our portfolio. We want to see Mielle become a household beauty name. Going into next year, the brand will be found in close to 160,000 stores around the country. You’ll see us in new retailers that we aren’t placed in as of yet.
For The Secret Sauce Academy, the goal is for the program to continue to grow and flourish. We have a goal set in mind to take it global. We’re going to be having small retreats where we will fly individuals in and give them one-on-one sessions with our team and my wife and I. We’re very excited about that.
What do you hope to accomplish in the years to come?
I want to live my God-calling duty. I want to tap into more ministry work. I am for the people and I truly enjoy empowering people. That is something I envision myself doing in addition to Mielle.
You can find more information on The Secret Sauce to Success here!
For more on Mielle Organics click here!
All images by Jason McCoy Photography