Detroit native Melanie Elturk always thought she’d be a lawyer. But after starting her legal career at 23-years old, she quickly found her true passion in her hobby selling hijabs online for fellow Muslim friends and fans.
Today the business is based in New York City to support the demand for the booming brand that has cornered the market for beautiful headscarves. We sit down with the CEO and popular fashion influencer to talk through organically starting a business to finding funding and staying ahead of the uncertain retail curve.
Listen to her podcast below — and learn a little more about this inspiring influencer and businesswoman.
Do you ever miss being a lawyer?
All the time! I miss exercising that part of my brain — that really deep, analytical muscle crafting arguments with the proper law to support it. I absolutely loved being an attorney and I loved my work. I definitely quit my job with a heavy heart. I had a lot of ambitions with my legal career that never came to fruition, so I think about it often, but then I reassure myself that building this brand is exactly where I need to be.
Your husband is a co-founder in your business. How is that dynamic?
It can be incredible and really hard all at the same time. I would say that it takes a special duo to work together this closely, whether you’re married or not (although being married does present its own set of advantages and challenges). Best piece of advice is to team up with someone who has complementary strengths. Ahmed and I bring different skill sets to the table and where I fall short, he excels and vice versa. It’s a great symbiotic relationship that works well as co-founders.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to make a drastic change in their profession?
Look for the signs. God is opening doors for you daily – you just have to look for them and walk through them wherever they may lead. Make the move when it’s right. But, if you’re waiting for the perfect moment, it may never come. Knowing when to take that leap of faith is a tricky thing, but that’s why they call it a leap of faith. You may just have to close your eyes and jump.
Best career advice for others?
Be kind to everyone – literally everyone you come into contact with. The world is small and your reputation is incredibly valuable. Once you’ve lost it, it’s hard to recover. Know your strengths and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It doesn’t make you look weak, it actually denotes intelligence.
You’re empowering women all over the planet and changing lives. Who inspires you?
So many! I’m inspired by the compassion of Mother Theresa, the groundedness of Oprah, the tenacity of Sophia Amoruso, the wisdom of Maya Angelou, the courage of Rosa Parks, the intellect of Khadijah bit Khuwaylid and the class of Lady Diana.
If anyone could play you in a movie, who would you choose?
Lady Gaga! A lot of people say we look alike and she’s just rad.
Don’t miss Melanie’s podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here. Want to nominate somebody to be a guest on our show or have a question for Brittany to answer? Email us at email@example.com!