Conversation With Melanie Burge

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Conversation With Melanie Burge

The first time I met Melanie, it was eight years ago. At the time, she lived in New York. She was not married and had no children. She was my sister’s best friend, and still is by the way. She had straight blond hair, Beyoncé style, and wore a pair of open toe beige Miu Miu wedges (trendy at the time).

In my memory, she had a little pitch voice, and a spectacular speech flow. And oddly there was no chemistry, which is very rare with me. In general, I’m easy going with people, a real chatterbox, but in this situation; nothing. A simple “hello” and our relationship never really evolved, it just got stuck to a “hello”.

I thought it was the language barrier… and then my English has improved, but not our relationship. Then I told myself that distance was the reason. But I still managed to make friends with other friends of my sister’s, who also live in the States. Then I thought it was the age difference and that I did not have to make friends with all the people I met… Right?

But I just think my shyness in Melanie’s presence was a heap of excuses. I think Melanie is the kind of woman with a beauty that commands respect and in my case; silence. The kind of woman whose presence fills the voids, and attracts attention. So here’s my conversation with her, in her kitchen…

Hugs & Kisses… G.

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Introduce yourself:
What is your name, age , occupation , marital status.
Melanie Burge, 33, Stay-At-Home mother, co-owner of Lavish Hand, author of Grow Longer Hair In 30 Days: The Definitive Guide To Growing The Longest Hair Of Your Life No Matter Your Texture

Where did you grow up?
In the suburbs just outside of Washington, DC

How were you raised?
I had a normal and happy childhood with my parents.

Growing up, what were you dreaming of becoming?
I honestly never dreamed of doing one thing. I wanted to do so many things. I have what you could describe as a perpetual entrepreneur personality. I am always inventing and coming up with ideas. One thing that always drove me was the need to be successful, whatever that might be. 
 
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about living up to my God given potential and helping other women do the same. Each of us is capable of so much more than we know. Half of my Grow Longer Hair in 30 Days book is dedicated to just helping women that they can grow long hair. I show them the lies, deceptions and mistakes that hold them back. The most prevalent lie is that they can’t grow long hair. They truly believe that their genetics are less capable than someone else’s. I tell them they can do anything that they believe in their heart and confess with their mouth. If you set your mind to something and ask God for wisdom, you can conquer anything you face. You do not have to be a victim to anyone, anything or even your own self doubt. I love the “ah ha” moment in their eyes when I tell them this.

Today, what are your career plans?
With Lavish Hand, where women can create their own Beaty and hair products. We hope to usher in a new era of beauty where product customization is a readily available option for women. There really is no where for the industry to go other than customization. Everything else has been done. 
For my long hair company, I am hoping to teach women how to care for and maintain long hair. So many women struggle their entire life with short, breaking off and slow growing hair. Although they would love long hair they just have no idea how to get their hair to their dream length. 

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What are you working on?
I am finishing up my book which will be out on February 21st.  I am also coming up with hair products for Lavish Hand that will help women grow longer hair.

How did you endup on the journey you’re currently on?
Honestly, I believe a God put me on this path. I am not a natural planner. I pretty much go with the flow and. See where life takes me. If it was up to me I would still be thinking of ideas and not putting effort behind them to see them become actual businesses. But I believe that that the Lord put the right people in my life to help me stay focused and push me to move forward. The long hair business was obvious, because nearly everyone I meet asks me about my hair. So that was a no- brainier. For Lavish Hand I am hoping to be an early adopter of what will help evolve the beauty business to the next level. There is so much potential in it, we are trying to figure out the right audience to target right now.

What was the trigger?
My husband is a great provider for our family, but I want to be successful in my own right as well.  I have two daughters that I homeschool. They look up to me and mimic what I do. I want them to be independent and successful women. I know that it is imperative that I show them how to achieve success without being dependent on their sexuality or a man. I want them to use their God given talents and abilities to influence others and leave a lasting imprint on this world.  My oldest daughter, 4 yrs old, has already come up with ideas for her own company that she wants to start right now.  She even tries to resell to her grandmother stuff I buy her at a steep markup. She is definitely a business woman. 
 
Who do you look up to?
There are so many people I look up to for different reasons. In business one group of people that have inspired me are the cast on Shark Tank . It is a tv show that inspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to billionaire business owners in hopes that one of them will invest in their idea. It has been a wealth of knowledge to me, almost like business school. It is my absolute favorite thing to watch.

Who are your inspirations?
I love rag to riches stories. Especially people who came from nothing and are now successful. It keeps me motivated to keep pushing and trying my hardest no matter what.  I spend time reading startup stories on Tech Crunch and Kickstarter constantly. Here are so many amazing entrepreneurs with unique stories that inspire me. Regular bloggers and other women also inspire me. I love their ingenuity and commitment. So the small business owner is definitely who I look up to as well.

What were you doing before?
I have been a stay at home mom and wife for 5 years before starting my companies. 
What is your professional background- I worked in all types of radio, TV, and print media. I have worked for Sirius XM Radio, PBS television andConde Nast Publications. I mostly worked in advertising.  Weirdly,  I was once approached by the Secret Service at the White House to join their team. 
school- I went to The Univerity Of Maryland.
Is this background of use as to what you are doing today? Honestly, no. I have never loved school and found my self with high level positions at companies while I was still in school. I was always blessed with great jobs, but they very little to do with my schooling. I am an advocate for education, but I know that school is not for everyone. I also know that working for someone else is not for everyone. That is why I never loved any of my jobs even though many people would kill for some of the opportunities I had.

How do you manage to reconcile family and professional life?
It’s tough because my kids are with me all day. Their is a fine balance between wife, mom and business owner. They all overlap many times throughout my day. But I pray for wisdom because if I relied on my own strength things would unravel quickly. 
What are the difficulties you have encountered and which you have to face? Setting a schedule where I set out blocks of time for specific things. It is so not in my personality to plan, but if I don’t do it something’s and some people would be neglected. So getting the right schedule and keeping it balanced has been tough.

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What does a typical day look like for you?
My daughters wake up at 6:30-7am and I give them their iPads to play education games or videos and then I go back to sleep.  I finally Wake up around 8am, pray and read the Bible( sometimes this is neglected, but I am working on it), get dressed, get the kids dressed and fed, checking emails, do home school for a few hours, go to the gym for lunch (with the kids), then my husband takes the kids around 2pm and I then start my business day until dinner at 6pm, my husband gives the kids a bath after dinner and we take turns putting them to bed, after dinner I will work some more until 10, spend time with hubby and try to get in bed by 12 am. 

Your beauty tips: What is your beauty routine?
I wash my face with a tea trea soap with an electric brush, apply SPF moisturizer, makeup. At night I was my face the same but alternat between Retin-a and alpha hydroxy acid night cream. I use a facial mask  and exfoliate a few times a week too.

For make up I am a firm believer in contour and highlighting. Doing this has changed my life. I don’t wear a lot of makeup everyday, but creating a dimension on my face helps give me a flawless look. I usually use concealer, a light bb cream, a darker foundation for contouring, setting powder, mascara and lip stain,

For my hair I wash it everyday and let it air dry. For the night I tie it into a top knot and sleep on a satin pillow case. Sometimes I will wear a silk scarf too.  

Your favorite products?
My Holy Grail includes Bobbi Browns peach concealer, garnier under eye rollers, Anastasia brow pencils,  sephora matte lip stains,  Retin-a and microdermabrasion crystals. 

During the day, what do you keep in your purse and never gko without?
I live with my under eye roller and setting powder. My under eye makeup can get creased so I am always fixing that. I also can get a bit greasy so the powder helps with the shine. 

What’s your ideal evening makeup?
Conturing and highlighting is my Holy Grail look. For the evening I may make it a bit more dramatic. I like a smokey cat eye with nude lips or  a simple eye with a bold lipstick. I love golds and coral on me. I think Jennifer Lopez’s makeup is always on point, so I try to mimic her. I also think balance is the key. My hair is out and big 99% of the time I have to consider that when doing my makeup so that I don’t look over the top.

What are your future projects?
That list is endless, but growing my companies is a high priority.  I don’t want to take on anything new until they are both in the seven figures in sales. I am always looking for partnerships and clients. 

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WRITTEN ON MARCH 4TH 2015, IN ATLANTA!
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2 Comments

  1. Joli portrait. Je découvre Mélanie avec intérêt. Elle respire le dynamisme!

    • Gabrielle Bocquet

      Oui, je trouve aussi. C’est d’ailleurs à partir de ce constat que j’ai choisi de l’interviewer. Je trouve que, malheureusement, il existe beaucoup d’entrepreneurs aux USA, et que cette démarche est bien moins présente en France. Pour ma part, avant de me lancer, je pensais qu’il n’était pas possible, ou quasi-impossible, d’être son propre patron (et je dois avouer que cela a été le parcours du combattant), mais après beaucoup de voyage et de rencontre de personne qui sont partis de rien et qui on t construit des petits empires, je me dis que cela est possible et que surtout, il faut le partager ici sur ce blog, afin de montrer à tout une génération de jeunes femmes et adolescentes de ne pas se contenter du salarias (sans critiques aucune) et qu’il faut exploiter toutes ses compétences. Au plaisir de te relire. Gaby.