Artist and designer Melissa Mitchell is shaping her brand through bright colors and abstract designs. A full-time IT employee by day and artist and businesswoman by night, Mitchell is steadily on the rise in the world of fashion as the owner of Abeille Creations.
Mitchell has worked with big-name celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Amara La Negra, Yandy Smith, Karen Civil, Rebecca Gross and many more. Here, Mitchell discusses Abeille Creations, being in Cantu’s Textures on the Runway fashion show during New York Fashion Week and new designs.
Tell us about Abeille Creations. Why did you decide to start this business?
Abeille Creations found me. I was home one day during the snowstorm in 2014, and I think I was just fed up with the mundan[ess] of going to work and coming home. I heard God say paint. And so I went to the basement, I have some old wood, a couple of pieces of paper and I just started doodling and showing people [my designs] on Instagram.
I chronicled my first piece, and somebody was like, I’ll buy it for 25 bucks, and I became an artist overnight.
What can people expect to see from the Spanx Illuminate-Her bra collection which is set to be sold worldwide in spring 2019?
The 2019 collection is going to be bright and full of color. Instead of doing the traditional black, white, tan and different color bras, they’re like, “wow, we should bring some art to the bras.” We [have] to wear a bra anyway, might as well make it colorful.
How did you end up creating head wraps for Yandy Smith, Lupita Nyong’o, Karen Civil, and Amara La Negra?
I came up with the designs, and they spoke for themselves. They naturally draw people to them, and so I don’t necessarily design just for celebrities. I design for the queen in all of us. I had sent Lupita a design months before she even showed it and she traveled with it, loved the product, and she took it with her to her Vogue magazine photo shoot.
How do you think people responded to your designs at the Cantu’s Textures on the Runway fashion show during New York Fashion Week?
I found someone to digitize my designs [and] got it on fabric. People were like, is that a real painting? They thought it was like [a] fabric grab from somewhere. They went crazy about it. People fell in love with it.
Discuss more about the Ford Motor Company’s Driving Her Dreams online contest. What will you receive if you win?
I’m still in the contest. It’s myself and another young lady. For 10 years Essence and Ford have celebrated Black women entrepreneurs. We’re competing to win a free two-year lease [of a] Ford Explorer. So they bought us all down to the Essence Festival. We all gave our business pitch, and people begin voting at the end of the month.
Where do you get inspiration from with your pieces?
Because I’m [of] Caribbean descent, I pull from my heritage and my ancestors. I draw from, music, history, and my mood.
Let’s talk about your book Views From My Kaleidoscope, what is the book about and why did you decide to write it?
I started compiling all of my Facebook statuses 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.
And so what I did was I took all of my favorite quotes, and I paired them with my artwork. So that’s why I call [it] the kaleidoscope because at first, it’s cute, but you put your eye to it like, wow, look at all these colors. And so it’s just a kaleidoscope of hope.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue the creative arts as a career?
I think a lot of people resent their nine-to-five and it’s all about mindset shifting. … So my advice to a new business owner is, don’t quit your day job. Have a plan. You don’t have to leave your job to follow your dreams. You can change your story.