I am not fully sure how I stumbled into the orbit of this talented young lady, it may have been her beauty and style via her UNSCRIPTED STYLES or it may have been her mouthwatering MEALS BY MEL but in any realm. She has that thing that makes you want to tune in. I am sure the mixture of attractiveness, Texas appeal(you just have a different feel when you FROM Texas), or her obvious entrepreneurial spirit grabbed my attention. Yet the quality and consistency made me stay locked. She hails from Houston, Texas which I’ll overlook because we don’t hate in Texas, but I was allowed to rap with her about a few intricacies of her business, personal life, and just her path as an entrepreneur. So without running to long on the backdrop here is Melissa Alakayi:
- What has been your motivation concerning your business?
When it comes tomy businesses, I think my environment and mindset keeps me motivated. I am avery observant person, and I know what I want out of life and my brands, so constantly seeing others excel or even seeing people being inspired by what I’m doing, keeps me geared to wanting more. I have a strong motivating mother as well who pushes me to the fullest and encourages me every step of the way.
- You run two independent brands one is food service the other stylist. Where do thosepassions stem from?
Both passions stem from my childhood. Although these are two separate industries, I have developed a love for them both since I was growing up. To start, cooking has always been my go-to or my safe-haven. With a diverse family background, food is essential in our household. I love the environment of being in the kitchen,combining new flavors, and traveling to enhance my skills. Styling on the otherhand, has been a growing journey for me and is constantly evolving along with the fashion industry. I have been through numerous waves of fashion, such as:modeling, merchandising, retailing, and even management. With the constant involvement, I have now transitioned into the styling and buyer side of things.I love dressing up and putting pieces together for myself, and for the emerging fashionista. Plus, traveling also gives me another way to dabble into my buyer side.
- At What point did you decide to live your dream?
The moment I realized my passion. I believe you have the opportunity to live your dream daily, as long as you know what that dream is and you are truly dedicated to it. The possibilities are endless.
- As a black woman [you have always been in season in my eyes] but are currently infull-fledged demand, how does that help uplift you in your endeavors?
I think African-American women have always been in demand, but now we’re beginning to realize the depth of our worth and we broadcast it more than ever now. Seeing women of color who are launching into their own businesses isinspiring and uplifts my spirits, because we live in an era where the media constantly tries to put us down or even against each other. It is a goal of mine to be a step on the ladder for women of color, and all women achieve their dreams.
- What are your goals for growth in 2019?
To never stop growing. You can never learn “too much”and there’s always room for improvement in all aspects no matter how high you climb.
- So I’ve seen some of your styles and meals and I can say that both are equally appealing,two part question what is your favorite season to dress and cook in as well as your number one meal to prepare? (please share pictures and recipes if willing)
I love all seasons to be honest, although, living in Houston you can experience all of them at once. I say this because, every season brings out a new style and I view my style as “unscripted” meaning you never know what you’re going to get..just like this weather. As for cooking, I love making Southern cuisines, Cajun dishes, and International foods from time to time (Mainly Nigerian dishes) every dish brings out a unique flavor, so its hard to pick a favorite, but I do have some popular dishes such as: Mel’s Seafood Nachos, Cajun Boudin Balls w/ a crawfish bisque sauce, Stuffed Salmon, plus much more.
- Planted inTexas how has that influenced your craft/art?
Everything is big in Texas, which is how I envision my brands. BIG! So, with such a huge market in both industries it makes it more competitive. I’m originally from Houston, but I’ve had the opportunity to live in Dallas and both cities bring out a different element for each business.
- As an ambitious woman, how does that correlate to your personal intimate life?
For me, it honestly doesn’t correlate. I keep business,business and personal at a separate. Focused on self-love and business growth is the priority.
- Being so busy, do you currently have time to even acknowledge the idea of a partner?
Yes, I do/ have (smirky face lol)
- So many people are attempting entrepreneurship at what point did you decide that was the lane for you?
When I realized that no matter what job I had, or how great the opportunity was, I always found myself redirected to my own business journey. I’ve been able to experience the corporate world and the average known common jobs, but none has compared to what I am doing now. Although, I’m not one to downplay corporate America, because I still feel like it has its benefits over entrepreneurship life at times. But, I feel like I’m doing what I was designed to know and that is to become an ultimate business-woman. This lane isn’t for everyone and that is the honest truth, people see dollar-signs before they see the sacrifice.They see the freedom, but don’t realize the pressure from the unknown. However,I feel like I was built for this lane and that’s why I’m still doing the things I am doing today.
- Who inspires you in your own creative expression?
I think the universe inspires my creative inspiration. This may seem vague, but its true. It goes back to the statement, “give the janitor the same respect you would to a CEO”. Everything is a constant inspiration for me in my industries,because its everchanging. I can see someone wearing Tom Ford or someone wearing Walmart Jeans and get inspired to correlate both or when I go to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, compared to a 5-star one I can take something from both and tie it into my own creation. Inspiration comes from my surroundings and even realizing that I want to be more allows me to tap into a different creative direction.
- When was a time you jumped out on faith and felt negative feedback from it?
When I quit my job. A lot of people, mainly family were opposed to me just quitting and basically putting my eggs in a basket that I wasn’t sure how it would grow. However, if you know me, then you know I firmly stand on faith and honestly is what has gotten me this far. Of course, I have my bad days but I learned not to put too much thought into what other people think.
- How often did/does doubt creep into your mind as you build?
There’s always going to be some sort of doubt when you’re living in the entrepreneurship life, but doubt is just another word of fear. Its okay to have doubt, but I don’t allow it to consume me. The moment I feel any doubt, I pray, because I know anything coming from God won’t let me question it. Therefore, if I’m still doubting it then I must have more work to do and to turn up my faith.
- What has been the most limiting factor in your pursuit?
No limitations !
- As far as reward, what has been your moment of breakthrough and self-success?
For me, I don’t feel like I’ve had my “big” breakthrough just yet, only because there’s still a larger scale of things I still need to accomplish. However, I can honestly say the reward of this all is being able to share my story with others and hoping that it fuels and motivates someone to trust their journey and never look back.
Thank you for being yourself, setting a platform of beauty and substance. I know that you will continue to blossom and grow. Oh and I’m need a few plates too. Just continue being a strong woman in MOTION!