We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Coulier and Melanie Samuels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa and Melanie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
We think of risk as where intuition aligns with action. If you’re passionate about an idea, that feeling should outweigh the fear of taking a risk. Risk taking can feel intimidating, but it’s about how you push through the fear and what steps you take to get there. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to find a balance in your risk taking. On the one hand, it’s important to be wise in the risks you take. On the other hand, it’s crucial that you push through limits and boundaries. How can you make your goal or idea possible? What steps do you need to take to get there? Make those steps actionable. Being overly cautious can be dangerous in business, as you can potentially overthink your way out of an opportunity. In business, financial risks can sometimes be the “elephant in the room.” Depending on your relationship with money, it can make or break you. Whether it’s investing in new equipment, hiring someone to help lighten your load, or paying for marketing support, investing can be a stressful decision. Our advice would be to listen to your gut. Make the right choice for you, and if you aren’t ready, find realistic options to work through a hurdle without a financial investment. Risk taking has played a large role in both our personal lives and careers. Risk was actually was a major element in how we started our business. As close friends, it was a risk going into business together. Not all friends are meant to work together. However, we shared a similar purpose, and that was a strong foundation to build on. Our different perspectives on risk taking also make our partnership stronger. One of us takes passionate risks and the other takes calculated risks. However, we meet in the middle. This balance is key. Bottom line, risks mean staying true to yourself. When it comes to the root of risk, we believe in going back to one thing: your purpose. Why are you pursuing your idea or goal? What fills up your creative soul? Your purpose leads you to the meeting point of your intuition and your risk. We like to remind each other that success is found through our failures. It’s important to not let past failures dictate future risks. Push through moments of doubt by pivoting and creating the paths that haven’t been walked on before. Take the risk, friends! We’re cheering you on.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
mel and mel collective is the future home to artisan-based, curated wellness goods. We are currently developing a website that gives you access to wellness products you wouldn’t see on the shelves at a store. We are also in the process of developing our own wellness products. All of above will help accomplish one thing: making wellness accessible and realistic. Wellness is such an individualized concept, and we’re here to make it easy to apply to your everyday lifestyle (whatever that looks like for you). What sets mel and mel co. apart is the fact that we approach wellness from all directions. We believe wellness is achieved through thoughtfulness. It’s not just about the food we eat or how we exercise. Those are important parts, of course, but wellness is more than that. It’s who we surround ourselves with, how we talk to ourselves in the mirror, and what we choose to fill our spaces with. We are also proud of the skill set we bring to the table. Melissa is a professional photographer and visual branding consultant, and Melanie is a certified holistic nutritionist. Through Melissa’s creativity and Melanie’s science and whole foods-based approach to nutrition, mel and mel co. is a well-rounded brand. Our personal backgrounds are truly the foundation of our brand. As far as where we are today, think of mel and mel co. as a recipe. Currently, we are in the marinading stage. We have all of the ingredients together, but they need a little time for the flavor to be just right. Don’t worry, your perfect meal will be arriving soon with beautiful garnishes! Despite living in a time where “instant gratification” is the norm, we have learned to lean into patience. It can be challenging to have patience when you’re in this phase of developing your business, but our product development has been slow and steady. Unlike the TikTok model, we strongly believe that great things take time. In order to make the highest quality products and stay true to our vision, time is necessary. Regardless of the rules out there of what we “should or shouldn’t” be doing, if it feels right, it is right.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA has so many gems! Where to start? We would definitely do some hiking in Topanga Canyon, a favorite place of ours to be active. A beach day would also be a must at Point Dume, a beautiful and low-key spot. We’d hit up some galleries – a popular place like The Getty for its history and more of an “off the beaten path” gallery, such as the Fahey/Klein Gallery. Food would also be a destination, of course! For healthy eats, we would take them to Cafe Gratitude or Gracias Madre, Topanga Living Cafe, Malibu Farm, and Sunlife Organics or Kreation. For a more indulgent meal, we’d go to Jon & Vinny’s, Sugarfish, or Sol Y Luna in Tarzana. Other fun LA favorites would be visiting a small bookstore, like Skylight Books in Los Feliz or going to a comedy club, such as the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We first must recognize that both of our husbands, thankfully, are in the creative field and take risks daily. It absolutely helps when you are supported at home. A dear friend of ours, Candace, has been a continuous inspiration for pursuing our business. In her book, “Kind Is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously,” Candace emphasizes the importance of knowing your purpose. Her emphasis on purpose inspired us to find our own, arguably what led us to form our partnership. We discovered that we shared a purpose: helping people feel confident and find success through their passion. The way that Candace stays true to her purpose through her work and her ability to eloquently live her brand is both admirable and pushes us to be better. We are so grateful for her continuous support. We’re also big fans of reading books that inspire us. We recommend a few of our favorites: “How to Be an Overnight Success” by Maria Hatzistefanis, “Girl Boss” by Sophia Amoruso, “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” by Laura Vanderkam, and “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcom Gladwell.