Paula Delores of The Melanated Bar
I had the pleasure of meeting Paula Delores at an event we shot for Blavity in the fall of 2018. Paula was so friendly and personable and offered me a free sample of the most awesome smelling lavender face mask. The little sample went a long way, and I found myself using it every day. It made my skin feel consistently fresh and healthy. Once I ran out, I mourned for a bit and then decided that I had met a Doyenne. We needed a longer conversation with this skin guru. We visited Paula at her home office, where she makes all of her products. The space is welcoming and sweet.
What products does The Melanated Bar offer?
The Melanated Bar offers natural lifestyle products. We currently sell natural skin care items, infused with essential oils, specialized to enhance self care time. The Melanated Bar is currently working on a satin collection that will include pillowcases, headbands, and comfy lounge wear and there will be much more products in the future. I also work with similar brands on creating a brand standard, labels, and social media templates.
What drew you to entrepreneurship, specifically producing and selling skincare products? Was it an “aha” moment in the shower or have you been thinking about this your entire life?
Honestly, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a child I had my own baby sitting business, and in college I had my own house cleaning service. My mother, and grandmother were both very entrepreneurial as well. I am 100% sure it’s in my DNA. I also love being able to control my own money flow and having the freedom to do what I want.
That being said, I did just stumble into The Melanated Bar and it was certainly an “aha moment in the shower” LITERALLY. I was in the shower for almost a hour. When I got out I felt amazing and refreshed. I looked around and realized that I was surrounded by products I had been making just as a hobby. At that moment I knew I had to share this with the world.
Do you have a favorite story about your business?
I would have to say it was when I logged onto the internet and saw that I was featured in 3 Christmas gift guides!
Christmas 2018 i worked super hard on my Christmas gift sets and holiday pictures. So when I woke up and saw my pictures plastered throughout social media I was floored! It was one of those moments like yesssss, this is what I worked hard for, this is what I sacrificed and hustled for. Just from those three features my audience grew and sales rose.
It was a humbling moment, that showed me my work is not in vain.
Have you overcome any business flops? What happened and how did you deal with it?
My biggest business flop was investing way too much money on, on hand inventory. As a small business it’s hard to properly plan and understand exactly how much inventory you should keep on hand. Buying in surplus may seem ideal but if you invest 1k on supplies and sales are inconsistent or you have a slow month you’re really not going to make a profit. And at this point you’re almost losing money in a sense. What I do now is order in smaller quantities that way I’m not using credit to have supplies on hand. As my supplies diminish or I sell out I am sure to share it with our followers and this helps create hype around my restocking date. It almost gives my products as sense of exclusivity.
What do you do really well in relation to your work?
Researching. Hands down. I will research my butt off until I find what I need. From what ingredients to use in my products, to the crazy IG algorithm. I don’t miss a beat.
The internet offers so many FREE resources nowadays about everything that I feel if don’t research and do my due diligence to learn every aspect of working a business then I am failing myself. I take advantage of this and it has made me an amazing entrepreneur.
What about your business are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my organic growth. In a world filled with start ups, it can be hard and also daunting to market your brand. It’s tempting to “buy followers, or change your brand standards to get a following”. I have stayed authentic throughout the years, from my target audience, content, and products I offer. The best part is that it’s measurable. I get consistent tags from others, using my products, leaving reviews, or reposting some inspo from my IG feed.
I have also reached a point where I don’t have to be in the room for my brand to be mentioned and I have to say that’s the BEST THING EVER. Becoming a recognized brand in the local area has truly motivated me to another level!
Have you faced any adversity being a woman in your field?
Oh yes! Definitely. Being a women in the wider field of “entrepreneurship” can be harddddddddd.
Finding business besties, or a group of women in business to connect with can be daunting. I have experienced situations where I thought someone truly wanted to see me succeed and later down the road find out they were actually rooting for me to lose. It hurts and it almost makes me want to keep this wall up so that no one can sabotage my business.
Having discernment in business and picking your partners is crucial and without it you can certainly damage your brand.
I am now at the point where I am able to determine who is a positive influence in my business life, and I measure this by how I feel after we talk, how they critique me, and if they are involved with my brand through word of mouth or even on social media. Those three things have helped me pick and choose my circle.
Is there anything else about being a badass business babe that you’d like to share?
Being a badass business babe is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Before I began my recent entrepreneurship journey I wrote down my Why. My why is: I love my freedom, I love being able to get up and do exactly what I want, when I want to. I also enjoy being at home with my daughters, we travel frequently and it is amazing that I can take my work with me, or put it on pause if needed. If you are a badass business babe be sure you write down your why, and post it up where you can see it everyday!