WRIGLEYVILLE — A local organic hair care line recently got a big boost from its first celebrity product ambassador.
Mielle Organics’ founder Monique Rodriguez hosted a party Nov. 14 at Deuce's & The Diamond Club in Wrigleyville to celebrate its new product ambassador, Yandy Smith, entrepreneur and TV personality from VH1’s "Love & Hip-Hop."
The company was founded in October 2014, and has since earned clientele locally and abroad, including in Europe, India and Australia. Rodriguez said she was excited to learn that Smith enjoyed the product and even happier Smith began to use the products on her children.
“What really blew me away was is because she began using products on her kids,” Rodriguez said. “After we sent her more products she started posting more about them. We asked her if she was interested in being our brand ambassador and she agreed with no hesitation.”
While filming "Love & Hip-Hop," the repeated straightening caused significant damage to her hair, Smith said. Using Mielle Organics’ helped her to repair the heat damage and restore her natural curl pattern, she said, adding that it was safe enough to use for her children.
“The products are all natural, so it doesn’t affect her at all,” Smith said, referring to her infant daughter Skylar. “Going natural has been a process for me, because my hair has been so damaged from shooting and heat damage. It’s really helped to restore my natural texture [and] my natural curl.”
Rodriguez, a former nurse and Chicago native, said that she enjoyed nursing but couldn’t see herself doing it in the long term. Instead, she channeled her desire to work for herself and her knack for developing hair care products at home to develop Mielle.
Before starting the company, Rodriguez said she became “addicted" to researching organic ingredients, and mixed hair care concoctions in her kitchen using ingredients like cooking oil, avocado and mayonnaise. Given her interest in beauty and fashion and her medical background, she realized she wanted to create products that were good for the body.
“I was mixing things in my kitchen not realizing that people would go out and make those recipes and start using them on their hair,” Rodriguez said. “I combined everything I know as a nurse [about] health. What you eat, what you put on your body is very important for us as consumers because everything is absorbed in the blood stream.”
For Rodriguez, Mielle Organics aims to encourage women to embrace their natural hair and educate them on how to take good care of their hair, she said.
“When I grew up, I saw a lot of girls that were not so confident and wanted to look like someone else other than what they were,” Rodriguez said. “To me, it’s not just about hair care, it’s about empowerment and helping young girls embrace themselves and be confident in who they are.”
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