We had the good fortune of connecting with Makalah Emanuel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Makalah, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking has been an area I’ve had to grow most in since starting Melaxation Boxes. I’m typically a very calculated person, not wanting to make a decision until I know for sure it won’t end in some kind of catastrophe. I don’t know if it’s at all possible to do such a thing while owning a small business. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone and take risks on the items I offer, the places I invest my money and time into, and so much more.
The first big risk I can remember came when deciding to offer a men’s self-care box. Currently, most of followers and customers are women. I wasn’t sure how spending time developing a men’s box, selling it, targeting men, and blending it with the boxes we currently have was going to work out. All of my calculations pointed to just staying the course, continuing growing our brand with women and worry about a men’s box once we’re a little bigger. I didn’t listen. I took a risk and launched it anyway. For the first month, we didn’t see a single men’s box sale, not even one (and we released it right before Father’s Day!). Fast-forward to now, it’s been one of the best parts of the last few months. Seeing men buy boxes for their friends has brought a sense of validation my calculations couldn’t have anticipated. I try to remind myself of those experiences whenever I’m considering taking a risk.
Also, my senior quote back in my high school yearbook read “you can’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” That’s been my guiding force from time to time ever since.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There are several self-care box companies out there. I know this because I’ve done the research (again, I’m calculated!). But, Melaxation Boxes isn’t just a self-care box company. We’re a company trying to reshape the norms around self-care. Bubble baths and spa days are nice. But, so is intentionally taking care of yourself mentally. Melaxation Box is about uplifting and collaborating with other BIPOC-owned businesses, because it takes a village, even in the business world. Melaxation Box is about being genuine and authentic. I didn’t start this company to get rich off of over-priced items. I started it because I like spending my Thursday nights making lavender candles, adding them to a box, and hearing about how much someone loved the smell later. I started the company to make gifts, and not just a materialistic one that you’ll forget about in a week, but handmade, special, love-filled gifts. Melaxation Boxes is a self-care box company wanting to make people feel good, support oftentimes excluded communities, and embrace radical self-love with a box that really means something.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’re kicking things off at Reunion Coffee House! First, because it’s a beautiful hidden gem and we’d need to load up on some kind of delicious and unique beverage before hitting the town. After enjoying some time there, we’d visit places that often get overlooked in Denver, starting with Five Points. I love Five Points because of the history and beauty that encompasses that area. We’d look at the murals, visit the shops and ask about their stories. Then, since we’re in the area, we’d stroll through downtown Denver. We’d shop, walk around, and just take in all the city has to offer. It’d likely be lunchtime by then, so we’d find a spot downtown to grab some grub. We’d finish out the day at a reservoir. Other items on the itinerary for the week would include visiting as many state parks as we could, taking a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, grabbing a beer on some rooftop, catching a show at Red Rocks, watching a movie at the 88 Drive-In, taking a hike to St. Mary’s Glacier, visiting Grandby, and having a skate night at Skate City.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The list is LONG!! I’d have to first start with my family. My sisters and partner have truly taken on such invested roles, whether they wanted to or not haha! There isn’t a box on our website that hasn’t seen the eyes of my family a million times. Every box iteration, every announcement, and every idea only came to life after dozens of Facetime calls, pictures, and questions (so. many. questions!). They’ve stood by my side, cheered me on, and pushed me to make Melax better. They may have also asked for their cut from time to time, but it’s only because they deserve it. Melaxation Box would not be what it is today without them.
I’d also have to shout out Ask Mum Denver! I joined the group not too long after starting Melaxation Box and the support, encouragement, and help I get from the mamas in that group is unparallel. They share our pages with their friends, buy boxes for themselves and their families, and are also giving our social media accounts so much love, which as a small business owner, is HUGE. Not to mention, Melaxation Boxes made its way into a REALLY COOL brick-and-mortar called Tumble HAUS, a connection made through Ask Mum Denver.
I could go on about my friends who supported me by buying tons of boxes early on, just to give me the boost and confidence I needed, or my customers who supported Melaxation Boxes in ways they likely didn’t even know about.