Hustle Mindset

How One Black Woman Turned Tragedy Into The Multi-Million Dollar Company Mielle


With hair care being a part of self-care and a cultural point of pride, the products that we use play a significant role in how we style, maintain, and stimulate the growth of our hair. The bond that we build with our products over time becomes unbreakable. We suggest them to our friends and family, snagging them when we’re running low, or they’re randomly on sale. They become a part of us.

Like the products of years past, Mielle has gained a similar familiarity amongst their audience combining ingredients to create something effective and inviting. Now, as they find themselves in the middle of continued, major success, we’re taking a trip down memory lane. How did Mielle get started? Let’s look into the details of the brand’s journey.

In 2013, Founder and CEO of Mielle Monique Rodriguez suffered the loss of her son. She’d always had a passion for beauty and hair despite developing a career in nursing. Devastation inspired her to reach within towards self-care. She saw how mixing together ingredients in her kitchen worked for her hair and decided to make that the topic of her social media content. Her platforms gave her the opportunity to connect with fellow haircare lovers, to help women (as she did in her daytime role) while also healing from her tragic loss.

Through her faith and encouragement from her husband, Melvin, Rodriguez mixed, bottled and began selling her first product, Mint Almond Oil that revitalizes the scalp. Combining her children’s middle names, both containing ‘Elle’, the couple launched Mielle. From there, the two built a brand that we know by name, logo and product today.

How Did Mielle Get Started?

Color and heat damage led Rodriguez into the kitchen where she began mixing natural ingredients for her own hair. What she created helped her to reverse and maintain her tailbone-length hair. Through sharing the success of her hair transformation on her social media channels, Rodriguez gained interest in her mixes. She went from mixing and sharing to promoting and developing within six months. In May 2014, she made her first direct-to-consumer sell launching her multi-product and collection empire online. She went from experiencing continuous sadness to tapping into her creativity. Her background in science inspired her journey down a natural path, blending ingredients that promote healthy hair and an overall system.

In addition to turning towards her passions and the earth for ideas of brand development, Rodriguez stepped outside of her comfort zone. She attended trade shows and networking events where she had to promote herself; something she never felt comfortable doing before. While sitting in the audience of a brand event, she raised her hand and asked the guest a question, adding into her spiel that she created natural hair products. The guest affirmed Rodriguez, stating that she wears her natural hair, inspiring her to find her backstage and gift her a bottle of Mielle. To this day the brand works with that influencer, continuing to explore the power of connection via social media and in-person. The passionate that she feels for relationship building is also shown in her branding where she centers and showcases women of color embracing their natural hair.

Where Is Mielle Now?

Since 2020, Mielle’s sales growth has quadrupled every year. The company confirms that its products can be found in over 100,000 stores throughout the United States of America. Retailers of their 10 collections of hair and skin products for adults and children include Sally Beauty, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, JCPenney and Walmart.

Rodriguez also became the first black woman to secure a nine-figure investment deal with Berkshire Partners where she can remain CEO. Her dream of becoming a globally known brand for all textured hair no matter the ethnicity is in the works. The rarity of her deal is what Rodriguez hopes happens less and less. She also celebrates that, through being seen in her success, more women of color will follow in her footsteps.

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