How Monique Rodriguez launched a multimillion-dollar company after losing her son

Dollita Okine June 08, 2023
To keep herself busy and recover from her pain, Rodriguez began experimenting and making hair products in her kitchen. Photo Credit: Instagram Monique Rodriguez on Instagram

CEO of Mielle Organics, Monique Rodriguez, always knew that her passion lay in the beauty industry. For 8 years, she worked as a registered nurse because her family told her it was a safe choice. However, after the tragic loss of her son at Birth, Rodriguez could not see herself returning to her nursing career.

In an interview with CNBC Make It, Rodriguez said, “It took something traumatic to happen for me to realize what my true purpose and ultimate calling was. And that was in 2013, I suffered the loss of my son. I was eight months pregnant. It was a high-risk pregnancy and unfortunately, my son passed away as a result.”

To keep herself busy and recover from her pain, she began experimenting and making hair products in her kitchen. Today, what she began as a pastime for her sorrows is now raking in millions, selling in 87 countries, and has sold in over 100,000 stores across the U.S.

However, she revealed that her journey to her current position was not an easy one. Rodriguez had to deal with banks who didn’t believe in her potential as a Black woman starting a business. This compelled her to use her savings as well as her husband’s to cushion the business when she began.

The couple later received a loan after meeting the right networks and continuing to push themselves with hard work. Through that, they were able to get their first retail partner, Sally Beauty.

With more success coming in, Rodriguez received her first round of seed funding from the New Voices Foundation in 2020, as well as a $100 million funding from Berkshire Partners – a private equity firm in 2021. She still holds that there is “a long way to go” before she reaches her goals.

Speaking to US Magazine, Rodriguez shared that she wants to lead by example by being a source of inspiration to Black women, to show them the possibilities of what they can be.

Aside from her very successful hair care brand, she holds an annual retreat dubbed, ‘the Secret to Success Retreat’ during Women’s history month; where she imparts attendees with resources, access, and expertise.

When she began her company in 2014, she did not imagine how fast it would grow; she even envisioned taking 20 years to grow the company instead of 8.   

Rodriguez added that her brand has helped her to love her natural curls and her texture. She also noted that giving her two daughters the opportunity to see their mother achieve historic feats pushes them to be the best version of themselves; which is one of the most rewarding things in her career.

The thriving entrepreneur disclosed that apart from her other mentors and coaches, her husband gave her the best advice of all. He told her “Success is not owned, it’s rented-and rent is due every day.” He also encouraged her to keep up her good work and avoid getting complacent because the moment she took it for granted, someone else will fill her position.

Sharing some tips on launching a fast-growing business, Rodriguez said, “Bootstrap as long as possible. Be able to thrive on passion, and lastly, know your limits.”

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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