Melanie Crocker

Owner, RubyRose Beauty Bar

What are you most proud of professionally?

I opened a commercial space with NO clients. And now we have 3 people working full time on bust. It is the result of working hard and never letting the doubters get in the way. I am so proud to be able to look back over the last few years and watch my business evolve. To see this ultimate expression of myself come to life is extremely satisfying.

What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?

Right now, I think we need to work on kids in grades 7-12. I don't think they are as prepared for the real world as they need to be, and it's a disservice to them. I think their potential knows no bounds, but in a world of instant gratification and constantly measuring our value on social media, it's setting them up with unattainable expectations. Success comes from hard work. Period. This is not to say that teachers are doing a bad job, they are phenomenal. But there are so many outside influences taking over.

What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?

When I was starting my business I read #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. I liked that it was described as a ""Lean In" for Misfits". While I have an appreciation for the need of diplomacy and certain behaviour in the business world, I don't conform to many of the "proper" beliefs. I like that she had a true rags to riches story, and that she highlighted her problems along the way. Her more recent hardships (and the fact that she's bouncing back from them, too) only continue to inspire me. I also like "The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck". It's a funny read, but it helps you realize how empowering it is to follow your instincts and stop worrying about what other people think. I give it as a gift to people all the time.

Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?

Disruptive people inspire me. People who see a need for something and decide to take action, even if the masses won't like it, inspire me. Instead of complaining about a problem, they DO something about it.

In my old career I worked on a communications plan for a non-profit organization called Stella's Circle. It's an organization that provides shelter, work training, and support for people in need. It was founded in 1945 by Stella Burry, a pioneering social worker who "believed in a hand up, not a hand out". She chose community activism over getting married and having a family, because back in those days it was believed that you couldn't have both. Her sacrifice and commitment to service back in those days was rare, and the fact that she lived the life she wanted to live inspires me all the time.

What would you have done differently?

I tend to get very excited about certain things and I don't think it through. While I encourage going with your gut, you still have to sit back sometimes and weigh out the pros and cons. Sleep on it. I made a few rushed decisions in the early days of my business because I was impatient, and that's a mistake.

What are the principles you live by?

One of the principles I live by is that it's not always about the money. Yes, you need money to survive and having it is a good thing. But being able to do good and give back to your community through your business can be just as satisfying. As business owners, I believe we have a responsibility to give back, or else how can we expect support in return?

I am also a very values-driven type of person, so I try my best to partner and work with people who share my work ethic, my commitment to giving back, how I treat my staff, etc. On a few occasions, I've had to cut ties with someone who probably could have helped me grow financially, but if I don't feel aligned with them, I move on.


How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships?  What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences?

I'm very big on values, so if a relationship has been fractured due to a difference in them, I make the decision to politely cut ties. We're not a fit for each other and that's ok. Part of running a business means coming to terms with the fact that you aren’t going to be best buddies with everyone you meet. This (naturally) leads to some uncomfortable and awkard encounters. I've learned that, while it's a necessity, I hate having difficult conversations. I actually found that to be a bit of a shock and a blow to my ego, because I've always prided myself on my candour. But alas, I've needed some coaching in that area. I've also learned that I can be a bit naive.


Entrepreneur, Beauty Industry Addict, Disruptor, Mom, Mediocre Wife, Domestic Failure

Melanie Crocker