People of color continue to make great strides in the world of beauty and fashion. Rihanna is known for her luxurious makeup line, Fenty and Kanye West continues to receive public attention for his fashion designs for his Yeezy collection. With the power of branding on social media, young entrepreneurs are emerging with their own creative companies and Melissa Mitchell is no exception.
The artist and author is the owner of Abeille Creations and has created over 500 original art pieces and 40 life-size murals. For Mitchell, Abeille Creations found her and blossomed into a major company after she posted a painting on Instagram. The passing of her father in 2010 pushed Mitchell to strive for more than just the typical 9 to 5.
“I was home one day during the snowstorm in 2014, and I think I was just fed up with just the mundane routine of going to work and coming home,” Mitchell said. “I heard God say paint and I just started doodling and showing people on Instagram.”
A viewer saw Mitchell’s painting on Instagram and stated that they would buy it for $25.
“As soon as the snow melted away, I went to get more supplies, and I became an artist overnight,” Mitchell said.
That night in the basement creating a painting has changed Mitchell’s life for the better. She will soon release designs for the Spanx’s Illuminate-Her collection in Spring 2019.
“The 2019 collection is going to be bright and full of color. It was a global contest to look for a woman designer for the new collection. And so the Illuminate Her line is a collection based on artwork,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell was selected out of thousands of applicants and plans to bring a creative way to wearing bras.
However, the businesswoman isn’t just working on bras. She has created headwraps and clothing that has been seen on major celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Amara La Negra, Yandy Smith, Karen Civil, Rebecca Gross, and many more.
Her designs were able to speak for themselves, but Mitchell says she doesn’t just design for celebrities, but for the Queen in all women. She is currently in contact with top stylists that want their clients to wear Mitchell’s pieces.
“They end up getting my product, falling in love with it and wanting their clients to wear them. That’s what happened with Lupita when she wore my headwrap and someone tagged me on Instagram,” Mitchell said. “I had sent it to her months before she finally wore it. She ended up traveling with it and liked the product so much, she took it with her to her Vogue magazine photoshoot. My product went viral, and it was pretty phenomenal,” she adds.
Mitchell has been featured in Forbes, ESSENCE, Sheen Magazine, Vogue, and countless other outlets.
Mitchell was in New York for New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, Sep.5-Sep.7 for Cantu’s Textures on the Runway Fashion Show.
She was contacted by the organizers to create custom art and turn it into fabric that was featured during their New Orleans-inspired runway show mixing high fashion and celebrating the beauty of natural hair.
“I found someone to digitize my designs and got it transformed it into one-of-a-kind fabric. They went crazy about it. People fell in love with it, and I’ve got a lot of business from that. So it was a great opportunity,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell pulls inspiration for her vibrant designs from her Caribbean descent.
“I pull from my heritage, my ancestors. I wake up and want to be around things that make me feel good and color happens to be that thing. I draw from, music, history, and my mood,” she said.
Mitchell’s artistry continues to put her in places that some could only dream of. She is currently participating in the Ford Motor Company’s Driving Her Dreams online contest for a chance to win a 2019 Ford Explorer. The contest is an extension of the 2018 ESSENCE Festival panel and pitching contest.
Mitchell speaks into existence that she will win the contest. If she wins, she believes the competition will help leverage her business.
“I think it will just boost my morale, and I’ll be able to tell my stories on a larger platform. So just having the relationship with Ford and ESSENCE magazine is monumental for a young business person,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell plans to take her company to the next level. She wants to be on shelves with clothing, home decor, and more in Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. Her book, Views From My Kaleidoscope highlights her Facebook status’ over the past eight years.
“I had about 150 pages of quotes, so this is the first volume of 11 that I’ll be putting out. What I did was I took all of my favorite quotes, and I paired that with my artwork,” Mitchell said. “It’s really a kaleidoscope of hope. My book is encouraging all different entrepreneurs, the average mom or dad, whatever you’re trying to do.”
For those aspiring to began their business or to chase a dream, Mitchell says that you have to be able to mind shift.
“You don’t have to quit your job to follow your dreams. Make a plan and write it out,” Mitchell said. “My number one advice is that you don’t have to be like her or him. God is doing something different with your life.”