Melanie Marie is the quintessential millennial businesswoman combining equal parts beauty with a fierce eye for trend and enviable work ethic. Her lifestyle brand, which includes both her and her daughter's jewelry line, clothing, and a blog, among other things, has been one to watch for years now.
Whether she is collaborating with major corporations such as Coach or toting her adorable toddler, AnnDrew Marie, to modeling gigs with retail giants like Target, Melanie Marie is the picture of success. And if her recent partnership with Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are any indication, she seems poised to take it up a notch and keep making the waves that have made her a woman in business we are happy to root for.
If you missed our Lunchtable chat with the ever-stylish and stunningly creative mother of two, check out more about how she is designing not only jewelry but a life on her own terms.
Iman Milner: You've been at this for some time—reinventing and taking your brand to new heights consistently. What's been the most important lesson you've learned?
Melanie Marie: Don't quit. If something's not working, I'll go another route. I'll find another way to make it work. Always know you can do whatever you need to keep moving forward. Be above what anyone will say or think about what you're doing. People have said, 'Oh, she's doing too much,' and I do not care what anyone thinks. It all falls in line with my brand, and it's all for my greater purpose—that's where I keep my focus. I always make sure to stay true to me and what I'm passionate about. Focus. That's going to take you further than anything.
IM: People do a lot of glamorizing entrepreneurship, what's the real on staying on top of your game?
MM: It's a lot harder to have your own business than to work for somebody else because you have to have the discipline and the drive. I just always make sure I stay disciplined in pursuing my goals and what I want to do. If you have those two things—that will keep you going. The rest is learning what your brand needs to survive as you go.
IM: Very often, we talk about the barriers Black women come up against in different industries, but I want to talk about the benefits. How has being a Black woman in the jewelry and lifestyle space worked in your favor?
MM: A lot of times in our community, you can't really reach people who look like you that are doing the things you want to do. Existing in this space and showing young Black women that they can do it reminds me of my actual purpose. We didn't always have the opportunities that we have today, and I keep that in the back of my mind on the hard days. Having the odds stacked against you makes you go harder.
IM: In your tougher times, what are some things you do to get back on track?
MM: When it's just one of those days when everything is going in the opposite direction of what it should be, now I take a moment. I take my time and think about how to best solve the problem. Before I would never want anything to be wrong, so I would respond really fast and try to jump right into fixing things. But taking those moments not to rush and make the best choice make all the difference. I give myself permission to take me time. That's what I do.
IM: How has being a mother changed how you approach your business?
MM: Oh man, it just makes you turn everything up a few notches because now you're working to feed your family. When you're pregnant, you get this superhero gene. It's super hustle mode. You have to take care of your kids. You have to get it done regardless. You can't slack or let them see you fail. It gives you more motivation to make sure you're making it happen. It's a serious factor in how hard you can go.
IM: What piece(s) from your collection would be the best gift for the millennial woman gifting herself?
MM: Going all out for yourself, you definitely want to invest in a solid gold and customize it with a message that means something to you. Something that reminds you of who you are and the power you possess. Mantra bracelets are great for that too. We even have handwriting jewelry, where we can take a note from someone in your life and turn it into a piece for you to wear.
IM: That's sort of what you're offering in your amazing collaboration with Nordstrom, right?
MM: Right. We created some things for the frontline workers that can be given as gifts of appreciation. We made sure to use uplifting things that could really lift people's spirits. Words that have weight and remind you of who you are.
IM: Let's just give a minute to the fact that Melanie Marie jewelry is in Nordstrom and available online as well. That's a huge deal! That must be so affirming for you and your brand.
MM: Thank you. It really is. We'll be living on nordstrom.com, and you can customize anything or shop the entire collection from Melanie Marie. For Nordstrom Rack, it was a flash sale where we created things that you could just buy and wear immediately. I am still just so excited and surprised that it actually happened.
IM: Where is Melanie Marie headed as a brand?
MM: Well, we will continue to be a lifestyle brand—clothing, jewelry, my blog, kid's jewelry, and my most recent app company—that touches on an aspect of everything. And I will always deliver at the highest level possible.