Michelle Ballard took her love for beauty and hair and started a YouTube channel in 2012. Her passion for educating women on how to properly take care of their hair inspired Michelle to create a hair care line that would work perfectly on all natural hair textures. Miche natural hair products are handcrafted to leave your hair healthy, strong and beautiful.
I personally tried this brand at my local beauty supply store, btw is owned by a Black woman (more to come about her story soon) and I fell in love with the Quenched Hydrating and Twisting Butter and no joke my hair was super moisturized after being in two-strand twists for over a week.
Black Girl Affirmed spoke with Michelle about entrepreneurship, how she maintains her business and family, and how she remains positive during challenging times.
What motivated or led you to become an entrepreneur in the hair and beauty business?
I’ve always had a passion for beauty, specifically hair and makeup and I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I was actually on the path to becoming a dentist and I dreamed of opening my own dental spa, where women could come get their teeth taken care of and also get their hair, makeup or nails done as well. After a few years of working in the dental field, I realized that it wasn’t my passion to work on teeth all day for the rest of my life.
In 2012, my husband bought a camera for himself to start taking pictures. As it began to collect dust in the closet, I realized that I could better utilize his camera since he wasn’t using it. One random day, I stumbled on this site called YouTube and began watching hair videos incessantly. I couldn’t believe there was an entire community of women documenting their hair journey. So…I decided to start my own channel and document my healthy hair journey. At the time, I was still relaxed but I wanted to show other women that they too could grow long, healthy hair. Fast forward to 2015, I started getting a lot of questions from my YouTube subscribers about what products I’m using and how I could personally help them with their hair. At that point, I was using all different types of products, but I didn’t have one complete line that I could say worked for my transitioning hair at the time. After a lot of research and prayer, I decided to combine my love and passion for beauty and my science background to start the Miche beauty product line. I believed that healthy hair was very important to women and my goal was to help them feel good about their hair and feel beautiful.
Did you start your business as a hobby or part-time? If so, how did you make the transition into full time?
I started my business part-time with high hopes of one day leaving my 9-5 job and working on my business full time. But with a husband and two kids, I knew that I couldn’t do that just yet. I would get as much work for my business done during my downtime at my job but when I got home, I would make the kids dinner, go to the gym and then work on Miche until 2 am some mornings and then get up and do it all over. My husband (also co-founder & COO) and I would set monthly goals that if we made xx amount of money in sales, I would finally leave my job to do this full-time. Over time, Miche kept growing and I ended up leaving my job in April 2019 almost out of force. I enjoyed my steady paycheck every two weeks, but it was challenging to keep up with the growing demand and it was time to give Miche my full attention. I gave my two- week notice and haven’t looked back since.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced starting your business?
I honestly face a new challenge every day. Running your own business is not a walk in the park. Although it is very fulfilling, there are so many emotions involved. I like to call it an emotional roller coaster – one day you are happy, next day stressed and then you’re happy again. There are so many moving parts that I feel like it’s challenging to find a work/family balance. Like I mentioned earlier, I have two kids who are full of energy. They are at an age where they are growing so fast and I don’t want to miss those pivotal moments. But I also know that I want to provide a better life for them and a lot of times, my husband and I both have to work late or travel often. We try our best to organize our day and also rely on our support system so that we can get everything done.
What makes Miche hair line different from other products on the market?
What makes Miche different from other products on the market is that our products do what they say they will do. When I formulated our current line of products, I really wanted to focus on moisture. One of the main questions I would get on my YouTube channel is “Why is my hair so dry?” and “how do I grow my hair?”. I even saw this happening with my own hair where it was breaking off and not staying moisturized and because of this, I thought my hair wasn’t growing. I always tell people that moisture is key. If your hair is moisturized, it will retain length and grow healthy. At Miche, we focus on moisture and lasting moisture at that. We don’t want you to just take our word for it, we also pride ourselves on the genuine reviews and messages that we get from our customers letting us know that their hair is finally healthy, and they are seeing a difference. After using the Miche Beauty line, we want the results to speak for themselves.
How are you using your platform to educate other Black women on entrepreneurship?
Well…I am naturally an introvert and sometimes it can be hard to put myself “out there” and speak to my viewers. However, one of my goals in 2019 was to use my platform more to educate and uplift other Black women. Recently, I got on Instagram stories on my personal page and told my story on self-care. I was telling my viewers how important it is to take care of your mental health and physical health so that you can be a better you. You can’t run a business if you are sick or stressed mentally. When I posted this message of me just genuinely speaking to my viewers, a lot of them emailed me to tell me how this was what they needed to hear. That really showed me that people are listening even when you think they aren’t and if I can help just one person, I am happy. That really inspired me to keep posting so that I can help others.
What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the hair/beauty business?
My advice for other women looking to get into the hair/beauty business would to be to stay in your own lane. A lot of times, you may find yourself “getting inspiration” and comparing yourself to other people and businesses. Comparison will steal your joy and make you feel like you are behind, or you are not good enough. But it’s important to be yourself and do what’s best for you. I would also say consistency is important. You will not have results overnight. Miche started in 2016 and I am now starting to see the fruits of my labor. You must show up and work hard every day.
What I love about the natural hair movement is how it created paths toward entrepreneurship and not just for those who’ve created hair care lines and products, but those who have accessories and who’ve become influencers. We’ve known since Madame CJ Walker that the Black dollar is powerful. Can you speak on the importance of buying Black and supporting businesses like yours in our community?
I believe it’s extremely important to buy black and support black-owned businesses because the more we support black-owned businesses, the more money & resources become available to our community, we create new business opportunities, we grow our economic base and it empowers us to set the direction of our future. That’s in addition to a host of other educational and political benefits as well. Most importantly, it helps to break the negative stereotypes and social injustices that have plagued our community for generations. Supporting black-owned business teaches our kids and future generations that it is possible to start their own businesses. It gives black kids access and early access at that to successful black business owners so that they learn how it’s done. This is how we further economic empowerment that progresses in our kids and grandkids. Supporting black business is being the beginning of the future that we dream to see realized.
What do you do stay positive and affirmed amidst challenges?
Pray and exercise. I’m naturally a pretty positive person but when I take time to pray every day and exercise in the morning, I am a more pleasant and productive person. You also have to realize that some problems are out of your control. There will always be challenges but how you handle them is where the power lies. Take a second if you have to but keep pushing and moving forward.
Check out Miche Beauty products and support Black women entrepreneurs.