THE GLAM GAP by BET.com is a weekly video series featuring black entrepreneurs, executives and influencers from the fields of beauty, fashion and lifestyle.
Last year, Beyoncé published an extensive directory of black-owned companies on its website. One of the listed was Melanie Marie, a bespoke jewelry line and an idea by New Yorker Melanie White. And although it was enough for the accessory designer to just get recognized on the coveted list, it didn’t stop there. “We were fortunate enough to work with Beyoncé and Black Is King,” White told BET Digital.
“The team reached out to me to see if I could create a custom chain for the film. So we came up with two different designs.” As expected, after months of secrecy, White was overjoyed to finally share the news. “I said,” Oh my god! “She says.” I would randomly call my friends and say, ‘You know, Beyoncé knows me now.’ “
With such success, you’d think White always devoted her career to jewelry, but that’s not the case. “I actually went to Hampton University for nursing,” she says. “I come from a well-educated family and my grandmother always asked when we were growing up if we wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.”
However, White quickly realized that none of these professions satisfied her. “I just thought I don’t want to do this,” she says. “I’m too creative and already had such a deep love for jewelry, handbags and other accessories.” When White finally decided to turn to entrepreneurship, Melanie Marie started out purely as a handbag brand. However, White shares that the high-priced manufacturing led her to exclusively explore the possibilities of jewelry. “I started adding costume jewelry,” she says. “Then I moved on to custom jewelry and that’s how it all came together.”
It is important to note that when you purchase a Melanie Marie item you are purchasing a personalized, one of a kind investment piece. “Everything is handmade,” shares White. “You can keep custom items forever. I encourage my customers to take the time to order the right items and find out which will work best for them.”
White has taken the same stance when it comes to her personal style. “I like to mix it up here and there,” she says. “Sometimes I wear loungewear, sometimes a dress, or sometimes jeans and a moto jacket. It’s all about what I’m comfortable with. As long as I’m comfortable and cute, I can get started. “
She says that these days she finds inspiration from those who are closest to her. “I have a four-year-old and everything she does comes straight from her imagination,” says White.
“Whether it’s drawing, talking or just making up characters in your head. She knows what I’m doing and it’s fun because when I send things out she always wants to help. That’s why she did it sometimes when people get their packages and the labels are crooked. “Death is already following in her mother’s footsteps. “She has a set of pearls that I got her to make necklaces and she comes up to me and says,” Oh, look at this, we have to send it to the customers, “says White.” But sometimes she’s right and I’ll find that the colors she put together are cute so an idea for a new piece or style could come up. ”
But how does white balance it all out? Well, with another little one on the way, she learns again what she has already familiarized herself with. “I feel like in the moment that I am now, I have mastered being the mother of one and an entrepreneur,” she says. “If you say ‘mother of two’ now, it drives me crazy because I say, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to have two kids in a moment.’ So I have to figure out how to relearn my schedule and this balancing act. All you have to do is examine it all, the way you work, your habits, the child’s nap times. And then just go from there. “
Follow Melanie White on Instagram @melrwhite and visit melaniemarie.com to explore White’s collection.
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