(Image: Mielle Organics)
The beauty industry has been saturated with products targeting naturalistas and consumers who are paying more attention to the healthy factor of what they put on (and in) their bodies. Monique Rodriguez, 32, has been able to etch a strong foothold in the market in a short period of time with her beauty line.
[Related: Part II: Successful Women Entrepreneurs Share Business Rules They Didn’t Follow]
In 2014, while working as a registered nurse, Rodriguez had a dream to monetize her passion for all things beauty and took a leap to transition into entrepreneurship. “After a lot of soul searching and prayer, I asked God to help me find something I’m passionate about that doesn’t feel like work,” she says. “I’ve always been into beauty and hair care. I wanted to find a way to combine that with what I studied in school—being in the medical field—and I decided to create a hair-care brand that would be effective for [black] hair and its growth.”
Since the brand’s inception, Mielle Organics touts placement in more than 87 countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, and South Africa. Her products have already been raved about by celebrities including Rasheeda Frost (VH1′s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta), Demetria McKinney (Real Housewives of Atlanta and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne), Drew Sidora (BET’s The Game), and new celebrity brand ambassador Yandy Smith (VH1′s Love & Hip Hop).
“We use high-quality, organic ingredients that actually work,” Rodriguez says. “These include exotic oils such as babassu, which comes from an Amazonian palm fruit.”
(Video via Vimeo)
With that kind of growth and popularity in less than two years, Rodriquez looks to be on track for even more growth and revenues. Below, she shares with BlackEnterprise.com how she was able to get celebrities and influencers to use her products and endorse her brand:
1. Do the proper research on your industry and who to target. Rodriguez says that when she first started, she didn’t have the budget to hire a marketing professional or consultant. ”I’d stay up reading about different ingredients, how the beauty industry works, and how to brand and market myself,” she adds. “I’d buy books, and Google any and everything about the market. You really have to research and know the industry. It will save you from making a lot of mistakes.”
2. Be genuine and authentic in your approach when trying to get the attention of influencers and celebrities. “Celebrities get asked a million times a day, ‘Can I send you my products?’” she says. “In my approach, I contact those I know would be interested in the product I offer based on their brand and what they like. I’m not pushy. I tell them about the ingredients, and I’m not aggressive.” Let them get to truly get to use and like your product before expecting them to rave about it, she adds.
3. Networking may seem “old school,” but events can be gold mines. “I did a lot of networking when I first started my business,” she says. “I knew none of the celebrities who have used my products before. If I knew a celebrity who could use my product would be in my city, I’d go to that event and introduce myself and my brand. I’d find a way to approach them to give them my products. For example, I met Rasheeda [of Love & Hip Hop] at an event. When they opened the floor for people to ask questions, I addressed her and got the chance to tell the whole room about my products.”