The husband and wife-owned, US organic hair care firm already sold some products into European markets but the expansion into core UK retailers, including Boots, marked the company’s first foray at scale beyond the US home market. The follow-on European online expansion through its Lookfantastic partnership would extend Mielle Organics’ reach into all major European markets.
‘We have the demand there’
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe about the expansion, Monique Rodriguez, CEO and founder of Mielle Organics, said it made sense to move into the UK.
“We have the demand there and I really focus on building,” Rodriguez told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
“We have built such a phenomenal brand here domestically (…) and because of what we’ve built here, the UK is requesting Mielle. We have thousands of women that live in the UK shopping online on our website,” she said.
Founded in her kitchen back in 2014, Mielle Organics was now stocked in over 100,000 major US retailers, including Target, Walmart and Kroger, and the portfolio now featured around 60 products, including shampoos, conditioners and hair oils.
“…We have built a robust portfolio, and I’m not done yet. I’m still always in the lab to make new products to meet my consumers’ needs.”
Asked what sort of product development could be expected in the coming months and whether there would be any made to specifically target Europe, she said: “Right now, it’s too early to determine. With product development and manufacturing, it takes a lot of research.”
People first, then product – ‘you can’t lose that authenticity’
Melvin Rodriquez, Monique’s husband and company COO, said the expansion into the UK and Europe was exciting because these markets were so driven by and focused on hair texture.
“We understand that in the European market the customers are all about texture; the texture of their hair. So, it’s not focused on nationality, race or creed, but hair. And for us, we speak to hair, to texture. Our products are designed and developed for all hair types and textures,” he said.
Monique added: “When I first created this company, I started with a mission: to educate women about healthy hair.” And she said the brand still centred around this core purpose: community.
“It’s people first, then product. When you care about people, the foundation, then you can’t lose that authenticity when you’re focused on people versus product.”
Mielle Organics now had a dedicated UK Instagram page and European team members on-the-ground to help drive growth in the region and stay relevant among consumers.
The Mielle Organics story ‘must be told’
Reflecting back on when she founded the company, Rodriguez said she never envisioned building a business of such scale. “I always had a passion for beauty since I was little girl, but I never thought it was something I could make a career of. I thought being an entrepreneur was something for Caucasian males.”
Melvin said the story of Mielle Organics “must be told”.
“It’s about our youth and communities globally. A lot of time people need to see it for them to believe it, so it impacts them in a way to help them in their dreams and desires. They need to see a young, African American husband-and-wife duo that’s running a very, very successful business together. Because, when you talk about statistics and stereotypes, people say husband and wives shouldn’t do business or can’t do business – for us, we’re demonstrating that’s not true,” he said.