Melissa R. Hibbert is a beauty entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach. She has provided world-class services in makeup and hair for some of the most leading networks, feature films, and television shows. As an author, speaker, and coach, Melissa’s writing and work are about inner transformation. She often speaks and coaches on topics that help to build confidence, restore worthiness, help others find inner power, and thrive in the face of adversity. Melissa is a new author with her first book entitled “Face Your Beauty,” which will be released August 1, 2019.
Melissa started The Glam Agency in 2015 to fill a unique void in the beauty industry by providing a platform for artists of color to be recognized and hired to work. In addition to outsourcing talent, she helps beauty professionals develop their business and branding strategies. Her team has worked with some of the biggest networks and programs in television. The doors Melissa has opened allows beauty professionals to make a living doing what they love, which was her goal from the start.
1. What is your connection to Jamaica?
I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica until the age of 7 – living between homes from St. Catherine to St. Andrews Parrish. My Mother successfully helped her 5 children to move from Jamaica to America in 1983 to provide a better life. I still have many siblings (on my Father’s side) as well as a host of family members who still reside in Jamaica. I’ll never forget one of the times I went back and celebrated my 30th birthday in Montego, Bay. It was a special time to enjoy and reflect on how far I have come.
2. When did you know being a makeup artist was your calling?
I picked up my first tube of red lipstick in middle school and I loved how the color gave me a sense of power. It wasn’t until I was 14 years old, in high school, that the opportunity presented itself for me to attend beauty school on the weekends. I quickly enrolled, never missed a day of class, fully fell in love with helping people look and feel their best. I graduated from high school with a diploma and a beauty school certificate.
3. What is the best makeup advice you have ever given?
I think the best advice I have given is quite unpopular. It is to take care of your skin first. If you have a healthy skincare routine and nurture skin, it will result in your ability to wear less makeup. There will be less to hide or cover-up. Even though I am a makeup artist, I am also a licensed esthetician/skincare specialist, so I believe in healthy skin first and makeup as an accent to your natural beauty.
4. What makeup tip you would give the average woman at home who do not have the money to buy a lot of makeup?
I would tell the average woman to Keep It Simple Sis! (K.I.S.S). When you keep it simple, you don’t force yourself to keep up with the latest products and trends. A basic rule is: concealer, foundation powder, mascara, blush/bronzer, and lip products whether lipstick or lip gloss. Those 5 products are sufficient for a flawless, every look.
5. What celebrity would you like to get your hands on?
Honestly, I have worked with some phenomenal women over the course of my career. But, three ladies I would love to get in my chair, not just for the makeup, but for the conversation and wisdom are Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Cicely Tyson.
6. Are you a business person or entrepreneur or both?
I am a hybrid; I’d like to refer to it as BusinessPreneur. My brain works in both spaces whereas a business person, I can identify a need or a unique void and then execute an idea. And there is the entrepreneur side of me, that has endless ideas that are fresh, unique, and I am not afraid to implement them and take risks.
7. What was your profession before you started your business Glam Agency?
I had a 14-year stellar career in Corporate Marketing, working with and for some of the biggest brands in the world like – Nike, Inc., BET Networks, Coca-Cola, Burger King Corporation, Los Angeles Times, and more. My career as a corporate marketing professional afforded me a great life, traveling the world in my early 20’s and 30’s, managing big budgets, creating highly regarded campaigns, and managing world-class events.
8. Who or what motivated you to go into business?
Funny enough, I was motivated by my own sense of fulfillment. Although I had the big titles, salary, and perks as a corporate professional, after 14 years I started feeling the pull of “the shift” where my soul was desiring more. I was motivated to meet “the call” in my spirit – to honor it and to see it through.
9. Many businesses have a moment they call their “big three breaks,” whether it be a news story, a big contract, etc. Have you or your business had that yet?
My big three breaks are:
- Becoming a beauty services vendor for the OWN Network (The Oprah Winfrey Network). When I received my first payment from them and saw the OWN logo on the check, I almost passed out!
- The first year I was called to coordinate a team of ten beauty professionals for a Glam suite for the BET Awards weekend, in addition to providing services for various projects that were filmed during the same weekend. It was busy and rewarding to see my team at work during one of the biggest award show weekends in the industry.
- When Essence Magazine reached out to feature me in a video series about my journey and beauty business. That video went viral and is still one of the most viewed among all segments they ran during that time. It was a monumental moment and spotlight on my business.
10. Currently, what is your biggest business challenge?
The biggest business challenge is finding loyalty in the industry which is primarily why I structured my business model in a way that is more “work for hire” and not an exclusive agreement with the beauty talents. We work in a fickle time where people like to be on to the next big thing quickly, so it was necessary to not fight against it, but protect my business interest by embracing this way of life and thinking in the beauty industry.
11. Other than the money, what type of satisfaction do you get out of your work?
The greatest satisfaction I get is knowing that I am helping others provide a living for themselves doing what they love. The beauty industry is very competitive, and I look at myself as an advocate and mentor helping my colleagues navigate the proverbial waters without sinking. I like to think I teach them how to swim in that regard by equipping them with knowledge, wisdom, and support in an industry where that is often lacking.
12. What motivates you on a day to day basis?
My beautiful daughter Milan motivates me on a daily basis. She is such a joy and light in my life. Like my mother who worked to give us a better life, I want to do the same for her. Everything I am and I do is to ensure her future is bright, her needs and wants are provided for, and she has a legacy that she will inherit if she so chooses.
13. How do you motivate people that aren’t close to you and enable them to see your vision?
Social media is a great platform to motivate people I am not close to or have never met in person. I curate my social media to reflect who I am holistically – a mother, beauty entrepreneur, leader, and an ever-evolving person who inspires by just being and living my truth.
14. How do you remind yourself of what’s important?
I remind myself of what is important by practicing gratitude. I learned that gratitude is to be a lifestyle, not just in the big things, but in the little things like seeing food in my fridge, gas in my car, or a compliment from a random person in the store. I am present in my life, knowing that every moment as I live and breathe and move about my life as a free woman is a gift. I honor that daily with gratitude.
15. What time do you wake up and do you have a routine?
Oh, my… Honestly, I wake up when my daughter wakes up, which is often early. She runs my life! There is no real routine for me with a toddler. I submit myself to her needs daily as I watch her grow and evolve. Now certainly, I prioritize my own needs and handle business, but overall, routines don’t exist the way they once did now that I am a mom.
16. Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies are going to the beach, the museum, or art gallery, making accessories for my daughter’s hair, and I love going to gardens or anywhere in nature among beautiful trees or flowers.
17. Seven-day, six-night, all expenses paid, my vacation destination is…
Hands down, Paris, France.
18. My favorite guilty pleasure is…
Talenti “Caribbean Coconut” Gelato – a whole pint!
19. My favorite Jamaican dish is…
Ackee and saltfish with boiled dumpling, banana, yam, and plantain. Second to that would be stew peas and rice, but I like mine served with rice & peas because I like the coconut flavor in the rice. And lastly, my go-to snack is bun and cheese with cola champagne.