Mechal Renee Roe Left A Job She Began In Her Teens To Write The Book She Always Wanted To Read
At the age of 19, Mechal Renee Roe started was a temp at a children’s clothing company. She climbed the ladder and became the head children’s wear designer. After 10 years, in November 2013, she left her job.
Looking back Roe knows that being let go was the best thing that happened to her.
Now, Roe is the author of her newly released book Happy Hair, a book designed to start the conversation of hair and self-worth between mothers and daughters and normalize different textures and styles of multicultural and African- American hair in everyday life, specifically for little girls.
Roe when natural 15 years ago and sees the book as a way to fill a gap “from missing that growing up.”
MadameNoire: What inspired you to gear your book towards little girls?
Mechal Renee Roe: I was a children’s wear artist and designer for about 10 years. I often drew [and styled] little girls who didn’t look like me… girls with long flowy hair. I thought one day, “I would love to be able to draw little girls with little fros, and cute pom-pom puffs that represented what our community embraces. Fun, unique hair with your spin, and twist to it.” After I left the company, that’s the first thing I did. I started writing and drawing that.
Another big inspiration were my sisters. I have an older and younger sister. We all just had different hair textures and different shades [of hair]. And I felt that my sisters and I were a nice Petri dish.
MN: What made you leave your old job?
MRR: I started working there before I even graduated high school. It was a wealth of experience. I learned so much about the children’s wear industry. You know when there’s a calling, and a personal passion you have to accomplish within your life – it just hits you.
I just finished out the last tenth year there, feeling unfulfilled, and a bit stagnant, and knowing that I was capable of more than what I was doing. And when I asked for a change of positions, I wanted to move to the photography position, just to reignite the creative juices, they basically said no.
…I was devastated because I’ve always been able to take care of myself. I made a really good salary, I got to travel the world and I did a lot of things. God has other plans for you, and He was just calling me to do other things.
MN: What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
MRR: It was a multi-tier, to-do list with Happy Hair. It was my personal saving grace. It was the story I wanted to tell myself when I was younger. These were definitely the images I wanted to see growing up with natural hair. And with the book, I wanted to impact other young girls, and mothers and give them a tool when they’re having a discussion with their daughters about their hair. It’s such a hot topic. A whole political movement was based on the afro.
…With our hair, as African-American women, it makes so many people uncomfortable, even ourselves. As simple as our hair is and as simple as our skin is, it can determine so much of our lives.
MNB: How does one know when to call it quits?
MRR: I think when you’ve run out of excuses. When you stay up late at night. When you’re doing your Monday job, and that’s all you can think about is the other side of your dream, your passion. When it consumes you so much that you’re willing to clean up your desk right before you get fired because, you know its coming. It’s innate. It’s intuition.
MN: What is the footprint you hope to leave?
MRR: I want to become profitable, and definitely make my company a name and a legacy. And I also want to provide children with a product that they know is loved. They know someone really thought about them, and I want them to feel special. That someone really took time to make them feel special.