Oct 11, 2022

Monique Rodriguez, owner of Mielle Organic Products:

[Tranquil music]

Black beauty, to me, is excellence. I've always wanted to be in the beauty space.

For me, it is bigger than hair care. I feel like that's my purpose, it is to just motivate and inspire people to be the best version of themselves, and I just have of fun with hair care at the same time. I am very grateful and thankful for the community that supports me on a day-to-day basis.

My husband, who is COO of Mielle, that's first and foremost, and then my mom. She's been very instrumental in helping me pursue my dreams. I had the idea and the idea just popped in my head one day that I was going to go on social media and talk about my hair. I would go from that to mixing the different products together. I wanted to embrace my natural curls and I started with one product because I didn't have a lot of funding, couldn't create a whole collection, but I said I'm going to start with what I have. And I did a lot of research and found a chemist that was willing to work with me, had my first product, and I just went on social media and launched.

[Walking through warehouse]

Being a Black woman entrepreneur, some of the challenges that I experience is that we don't get the same type of funding. We don't have the same resources, the same access, the same type of expertise. I had to figure out marketing and branding. Financial literacy, I had to educate myself on that. I was a type to say, okay, what's going to change about this situation? How are people going to engage and how are they going to interact with my brand?

Social media gave me the opportunity to reach so many people, and so I had to remain consistent for people to take what I was doing very serious. Community is everything for myself and the Mielle brand. I'm very passionate about giving back to other entrepreneurs, giving back to my community.

[Uplifting music]

Mielle works with Walgreens because of our initiatives. They have been super supportive of highlighting myself and showcasing my story to inspire others.

I am showing young Brown and Black boys and girls that the opportunities that are in front of them are limitless. We are changing the narrative.

Black women owning businesses is not a movement. It's here to stay.

I'm Monique Rodriguez. This is my Shelf Life.