Focus on yourself, your craft, who YOU are and why you are doing what you do, and what makes you different and an individual. That is what sets you apart. I learned this very early on in business and I cannot stress it enough. Do not focus on what is going on around you — you need tunnel vision and focus.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Melanie Marris.
Melanie Marris started from humble beginnings in Perth in Western Australia. She left school at the age of 15, with no background in business or fashion, to pursue her dream of success in the beauty world. With her eyes firmly set on making her mark in the US, she enrolled in a Beauty Therapy diploma program. By age 16, certificate in hand, she was working hard in the aesthetics industry to learn all the tricks of the trade. While perfecting each of the services offered by salons, Melanie discovered that restyling women’s eyebrows transformed how women look at themselves in just 30 minutes. Heartened by the tears of joy and outpouring of gratitude from the women she styled, Melanie set her sights on taking eyebrow fashion and grooming as far as it could go. Melanie transformed a standardized express beauty add-on service into a focused premium boutique experience delivering the highest of quality. With great confidence that she would have success, Melanie opened Melanie Marris Eyebrow Stylist, her first salon, in Perth, Australia in 2012, offering her signature MM Brow, a structured sleek glamorous look designed to complement each individual woman’s unique facial features. 18 months later Melanie opened her headquarters in Bayswater Perth and expanded her team of talented stylists dedicated to delivering the incomparable Melanie Marris eyebrow experience. Now in 2020, Melanie has officially launched SEV Brows by Melanie Marris in the United States at SEV Laser Aesthetics.
Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in the Perth Hills, which is sort of like the country, in a loving, caring, humble, hard-working home. I am truly blessed to have two loving parents and a beautiful sister and brother. My parents worked very hard to put us through school, and I am very grateful for this — I didn’t come from money, everything I have, I have worked so hard for. Where I grew up, I was exposed to people from all different walks of life from a very young age and I believe this also put me on a path of dedication and hard work, I knew what I did not want to be when I grew up and was inspired by my determination of what I did want to be! My mother always taught me, you become what you hang around, and like the known saying ‘You are the 5 people you spend the most time with’ I was lucky enough to learn this and by age 22 put it into action.
I had a fascination with watching my mother put on her makeup in the morning for work, I was always in awe and inspired by her beauty. One of my Aunties was also really into fashion and I was always inspired by her, too.
I used to play ‘shops’ all the time as a child, I was always selling something! I had my set up in the cubby outside and at the age of 5 or 6, I would sell flowers from my Mum’s garden to neighbors on our block to make a couple of dollars. I didn’t grow up surrounded by anyone in business or anyone aspiring to be in business. My entrepreneurial mindset and skills came very naturally to me. Growing up I was very out there and creative, but also super intuitive and switched on. I was always told I was an old soul and very mature for my age.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in the beauty industry. I was obsessed with it! I was not an academic or studious person until I discovered that my passion was beauty. I went from low grades at school to high distinctions at Beauty College.
I realized “my thing” was connecting with people. After years of working for other beauty companies around Western Australia, I returned home to Perth and — believe it or not — I was out of work. I could not find a full-time, stable position. I was 21 and a half years old with nothing to lose so I thought “you know what? I am going to try doing this on my own!” So with 70c to my name and two part-time positions helping me pay my beauty room’s rent, I went ahead and did it — I launched Melanie Marris Eyebrow Stylist by 22 years of age.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I started in the most isolated city in the whole world in Perth Western Australia and I developed businesses in places I knew nothing about or had never even been to. The power of social media allowed me to connect with people and network with businesses from other states and countries and expand my brand to places I never imagined possible. I hadn’t even traveled out of the country until I was 20 years old!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I am living in LA working on the US growth plan and development of my latest studios here. It is such an inspiring place! I have some really amazing clients lined up and am excited to see everything I have been working so hard on really come to life. I am also working on the global expansion of my brow licenses, where select established companies from all over the world qualify to become Melanie Marris Brow Salons and of course, Brow Code, my product range. We are about to launch distribution into Holland, Belgium, Canada, US and the UK along with new innovations in brow cosmetics. This is a really exciting time for my brands.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each
- ALWAYS listen to your gut — always! I emphasize this because people don’t say it enough anymore in business and I can honestly say that there has never been a time where it wasn’t right for me. If your intuition is strong and it doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t right.
- Not so much what I wish someone told me, but when people ask me advice, the most common question is always in regards to competition. If you are truly on your path, there is no competition. You can tell people, show people, direct people and teach people every single thing that you know.. and they will still never be you or do it quite like you. Focus on yourself, your craft, who YOU are and why you are doing what you do, and what makes you different and an individual. That is what sets you apart. I learned this very early on in business and I cannot stress it enough. Do not focus on what is going on around you — you need tunnel vision and focus.
- That managing many different people to execute your brand goals and visions can be very challenging. Probably one of the biggest challenges during the infant stages of business when there isn’t enough funds to hire management and you are still wearing all hats (such as employee, accounts, bookkeeper, management, HR, owner, etc.) I have struggled with this during my time, being very young and a similar age to my employees. I was very accessible, friendly, open, motherly and the list goes on with my teams. You can still be you, and you can still care but you must learn how to separate personal from business or it will never work.
- Don’t release anything until it is finished and in your hand. Even if you are told it is finished, ensure you have seen it for yourself prior to launching.
- Be cautious when naming a company after your full name. Although it allows you to build brand and for your name to become renowned and successful (if you do well!!), you will run into complications when you plan to sell your company. This is why you will see people using their initials, middle names or their children’s first names to represent their companies. I have no plans to sell my company however this is definitely something I did not know at 22. When I see people doing it now, I see the risks associated with my now long term business mind. I simply called my company Melanie Marris Eyebrow Stylist because it was just me being an eyebrow stylist! Sometimes you don’t realize where your hard work is going to take you and thinking your business name through is very important. I have absolutely ZERO regrets with the name of my company, Melanie Marris Eyebrow Stylist has blessed me in so many ways and I love that it is so personal to me, but as you will see, all of my future business (i.e. Brow Code) are thoroughly thought through from all angles.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
- Delegation is KEY
- Hire people smarter than you but then attempt to learn and understand what they do.
- Meditation is 100% a must in business. It changed my life and the way I manage life’s stresses.
- Get 8 hours of sleep. If you can’t sleep, meditate.
- Your lifestyle must be healthy and balanced. When you find yourself having an unbalanced period, try to introduce things back in that make you feel balanced.
- Learn stress management. Learn as much about it as you can. This will help you in difficult and tough situations more than anything.
- Never do it for the money. Do it purely because it is your thing and it brings you joy, it should get you up in the morning and it inspire you and light up the fire within you. Never do any business purely for the money.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
- I would love to see school curriculum look more at what children actually need to survive and become the best version of themselves once they graduate. Helping them to identify their true strengths and exploring their talents at a young age so that they can grow and develop their skills over their 12 years at school. I see so many people finish their studies with absolutely no idea what to do next. Imagine how beneficial it would be being an entrepreneur and being able to explore this whilst going through high school!
- I believe that from primary school, meditation and stress management should be mandatory. It is a life changing technique and kids would be so much more focused. There needs to be more focus on teaching them how to actually deal with life by focusing on mental health and addiction. Teens should be learning how to prepare to be an adult, because not everyone gets taught this at home.
- I think they should be shown how to pay your bills, how to live out on your own, how to manage your money, how to get inspired and figure out what you want to do with your life or what your real purpose is and which route you should take to get there. More excursions to pick up rubbish, help people in need, exposing children to the real world and overall just how to be good people — I think this would help everyone in such a positive way, they could see what their life would be like if they go down the wrong path and they can also see how rewarding their actions can be when helping others.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My sister has been my light through my business journey right from the start. As an entrepreneur you are so creative, always planning and building your brand — you truly believe there are no limits to where you can take it. A lot of the time you turn to people when times get tough who really don’t have the answers for you because they have never been where you are going. All you really need to get through those tough times are a couple of close people who believe in you and who are always there for you no matter what. My sister has been there through every single one of my failures or wrong turns that the business has taken and every time she reminds me I am Superwoman and I can and will do anything that I put my mind to in the world. I am so grateful to have her. I have never had a business mentor or studied business, I have truly learnt from trial and error and my own mistakes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
What you think about, you become. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. The mind is everything, what you believe, you become — Napoleon Hill and Jay-Z’s Quote “I believe you can speak things into existence.” This is relevant to me because for as long as I can remember I have manifested everything I have in my life to this day. From mindset, to success, to goals I have wanted to reach! The mind is such a powerful tool and once you learn how to master it, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Oprah Winfrey! Her angel energy, wisdom, strength and outlook on life has inspired myself and the rest of the world, she is a true Queen. I would also have to say Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg — they are entrepreneurial geniuses.
How can our readers follow you on social media? Please add all of my links