why did you start Melanin Mamaa Boutique?
The thought came while I was involved with my sorority in college. I wanted to have the best accessories, clothes, handbags, you name it. I spent a lot of money that didn’t need to be spent. I started the boutique to allow the woman on-the-go to remain budget conscious. The boutique has been a $30 and below shop since we launched.
what was your business mission at the outset?
Our mission is to provide “a whole new look to classy” and by that we mean, we’re a brand that sells unique, exclusive jewelry pieces that you can’t find anywhere else! We specialize in providing affordable accessories that won’t break the bank!
when did it make sense for you to hire?
I have 2 paid in-house employees who are my photographers. I noticed I needed to hire to build a brand that looked professional. I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it alone, so I incorporated experts in the field.
how do you market your business?
We market the business through pop up shops, online platforms such as: Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. In addition, we utilize email marketing, partnerships with local businesses, bloggers, models and networking events. I take a lot of time on the advertisement strategy with an emphasis on being cutting-edge and innovative. I’m a sucker for creativity so quite naturally our photo shoots are always unique and different.
name 3 unique things about your practice that differentiate you.
- We offer trendy, classy jewelry pieces on a budget.
- We are unique in our marketing skills.
- We offer free on-demand styling tips. I have 7 years of personal styling experience and like to offer it as a service to our clients.
what has been the hardest part being a business owner?
The hardest part is the months where sales are slow. COVID-19 has really taught us to adapt to change and utilize multiple ways to provide a unique shopping experience for our clients in order for us to succeed.
how do you embed your business into the community?
I sit on a board called Yes! Columbus which caters to Dress for Success, which is an organization that helps women in need get a job and find business attire for their new start. My involvement with the board has helped my company have a larger footprint within the community. I also collaborate with a lot of local boutiques and locations around Ohio from wineries, breweries, coffee shops, boutiques, bridal shops, and salons.
tell us more about being a black business owner. what do you wish more people knew? how can we support you better?
Being a Black-0wned business will always be a different experience. I have made sure that I put my best foot forward whether that be by taking part in creative pop ups, or the packaging of my products, or by providing excellent customer service. I feel we have to be 110% at all times and let the community know, we not only provide a service but we’re intentional and professional while doing so. With the current BLM movement we gained followers that we would normally take at least five months to accomplish. In addition, we had over 20 features and mentions from bloggers and influencers and well-known companies. Our sales were unexpected and it was nice to be admired and appreciated. Now, more than ever, I feel it’s really important to support Black-owned businesses as we tend to get overlooked. I feel the best way to support us is to mention us in your blog posts and in your social-media stories and tag us (@melanin.mamaa). Tell your friends about us, purchase pieces from us, buy a gift card, anything is better than nothing and we greatly appreciate it.
how do you stay creative and motivated?
I feel motivated when I reach out to my mom who has started and run a successful non-profit for over 15 years now. When I feel like giving up or I’m not motivated, I typically reach out to her for guidance. Creativity-wise, I listen to a lot of boutique podcasts, look on Pinterest and go to creative networking events to help stay on the creative side. I have always been creative but it’s important to stay relevant and cutting-edge to thrive in business.
what else should people know about you?
I have a BS in Organizational Supervision with a minor in Communications from the University of Akron, Go Zips! I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur and I knew I always wanted to start my own business.