Meet Blushed and Beautiful owner Melissa Edwards
How Melissa Edwards made the leap from social services to the beauty business
Just over a year ago, Melissa Edwards made the brave and bold move to leave her job and start her own business, Blushed Hair and Beauty Lounge in Ballina. In the highly competitive and tough-to-crack beauty market, Melissa has carved out a niche for herself and her business. On the eve of her latest venture, Melissa spoke to Style Magazine.
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a hairdresser or social worker. Social services won out for the first part of my career, and hairdressing is my current love.
Ambition or talent: which matters more to succeed?
Talent is important, however ambition becomes the drive to navigate the journey of success, which is often not a straightforward road. It takes many ups and many downs to become successful and ambition, tenacity and self-belief is the only thing that will get you there.
How have your ambitions changed in recent years?
I worked in the social services sector for eight years. I was a case manager for six of those years, and as much as I enjoyed helping people to facilitate change within their own selves and family life, I didn't feel as though it really satisfied my craving for creativity. I went to night school for three years to study hairdressing and beauty whilst still working as a case manager.
I started doing wedding hair and make-up on weekends, and once my business was established, albeit part-time, I left my case management job and opened a small home salon.
After working there for six months, I knew that I needed to open a formal commercial space, and that is how the idea for the Blushed Hair and Beauty Lounge was born.
Looking back five years ago, I never would have thought I would be in the position that I am in now. This is a true testament to the value of ambition and hard work, and believing in yourself and in your idea despite what people might say or think.
Who was or is your mentor?
Over my life, I have learnt many lessons from many different people, although my very best friend, Allan, was a big influence in my life. He sadly passed away nine years ago, but the wisdom that he bestowed on me has stayed in my heart and soul. My partner Steven has also been a great mentor to me and has been my biggest supporter to date.
Without his support, the crazy yet wonderful ideas that I regularly come to him with may not have seen fruition, as he is the one with the “building” skills.
What’s next for your business?
I am in a really exciting time for my business. The Hair and Beauty Lounge has been opened officially for 16 months, and I am now starting to see the fruits of long hours and marketing efforts. We have recently launched our make-up and hairstyling
classes and are potentially going to run some pop-up classes in a local shopping centre at some stage, and we have had some interest from a few local community groups also.
Our current project, The Blushed Beauty Bible, is a collaboration with a few local businesses to create a series of short makeover videos designed to uplift a deserving person, whilst providing the opportunity to brand ourselves as “experts” in our fields. Each segment includes a fashion, health and wellness, hair and make-up makeover, and a professional photo shoot with the reveal at the end. These five- to six-minute videos will be shared on our social media channels.
Describe your personal fashion style?
I am a hairdresser, so black, black and more black! No, I actually really love blue skinny jeans with oversized knitwear and ankle boots. I love dresses with interesting floral patterns, colourful off-the-shoulder tops with statement earrings, and I love the beautiful statement jewellery pieces that my jeweller partner (Steven from Gem Array Jewellers) makes me.
Has your style changed over the years?
I was some kind of purple and black hippy goth in my teenage years and early 20s. I lived in long black skirts and my vintage purple Doc Martins. I then evolved into more boho styling (before it was a thing) and am now more of a classic styled dresser.
What’s your most treasured fashion item and why?
My denim jacket and my collection of Forever New dresses. They are so well made and always fit in the right places.
What is the single best piece of beauty advice you can share with readers?
Beauty means different things to different people, and there is no real right or wrong; just guidelines that take into consideration colour theory and symmetry. Be creative and enjoy the process. Take your time to investigate the brands that test on animals – it is a barbaric practice that really does not need to happen. There are so many amazing and quality brands that do not test on animals, and I urge people to get to know them and support these brands.
You can only pack three make-up items – what are they?
Mascara, tinted lip balm and pressed powder - the three key items to a natural, no make-up look.
What is your favourite new beauty trend?
Lashes for sure. I am a fan of lash extensions and temporary strip lashes. The right lash style can take years off your look, open your eyes and give the illusion of a more youthful complexion.
In what place are you happiest?
As a child, I grew up sailing the eastern seaboard on a 38-foot yacht with my parents and brothers. As an adult, I still find the water incredibly soothing, and would love nothing more than to be sailing through the Whitsundays on a yacht with my partner Steven, and our two maltese shitzu, Rocco and Chilli Charles.
Melissa Edwards at work in her hair and beauty lounge in Ballina.