The story of Mellisa B Naturally includes a fondness for fitness, health & wellness, natural skin care, and even love. It began early in the life of our co-founder and namesake, Mellisa. Her family and upbringing was grounded in health; eating healthy and keeping active was expected. Fruits and vegetables and fresh foods were staples – in fact, Mellisa was a teenager before she tasted a soft drink.
Mellisa’s favorite activity was dancing. More specifically, she loved ballet. She began ballet when she was only four years old. She danced almost every day – and at the young age of thirteen began teaching her own classes at the renowned Marie Brach Studios. Around the age of 18, Mellisa was asked to run a dance studio at the Patchogue, L.I., N.Y. Music and Dance Studio. She became the studio director and taught 60 students for two years with the culmination of the teachings leading to her yearly dance recital – an event coordinated completely by Mellisa.
When not teaching dance, she also began to teach fitness classes at a local fitness center. After a while, this led to her working at a nearby Lucille Roberts – where she was quickly promoted to manager.
It was during her time at Lucille Roberts that she crossed paths with Raymond, our other co-founder – she just didn’t know it. He was a successful marketing executive at Pier 1 Imports, and had noticed her at Lucille Roberts while visiting the Pier 1 store next door. Ray was smitten. Day after day Ray found a reason to visit that one store, hoping to meet up with Mellisa. Finally, the two met in person. Call it kismet or love at first sight, but from that day they were nearly inseparable. Soon thereafter they were married.
But after a few years, Mellisa’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and in short order, she found herself owning and operating three New Horizons Exercise Studios in Long Island. Then Mellisa and Ray found themselves expecting. She worked during most of her pregnancy and returned shortly after giving birth with newborn in tow. She’d teach classes while her new son, Kortne, would sleep in his bassinet – or later as he looked on or slept in his playpen – always under the watchful eye of mom.
Then in 1986, Ray’s success with Pier 1 found him transferred to New Jersey. So the young couple sold the health clubs and moved southward. Mellisa jumped back into the fitness lifestyle, helping colleagues by managing multiple health clubs in South Jersey while their young son continued to grow up.
Mellisa loved motherhood and cherished her young family and so did Ray. So when Pier 1 insisted Ray had to relocate to Texas, they decided they preferred to stay put. Ray resigned and the two opened a health food store in Medford, NJ.
Unfortunately, while the store was wildly popular, a down economy worked against them and after a year the store closed. But the experience led to new opportunities. Many of the resellers had admired Ray’s marketing savvy and Mellisa’s enthusiasm. So after numerous requests for assistance Ray founded Natural Source Marketing, a natural & health food store sales rep network – and success soon followed.
A new career path materializes
In no time at all, their son was heading off to high school and Mellisa yearned to embark on a new career path. That’s when fate stepped in, and she answered a newspaper ad for a sales position at a fledgling skin care company. Little did Mellisa know that skin care would soon become her passion.
She started as a sales rep and taught herself the basics of skin care, studying each ingredient in each product so she could communicate confidently the benefits of each one. Soon she was the top sales person, then the regional rep, until after twenty years, she found herself as the vice president of sales at a New Jersey based skin care company.
As happy as Mellisa was at her position, she always nurtured her entrepreneurial spirit. She turned her hobby of collecting vintage clothing and accessories from the 1930s through the 1970s into a weekend business – selling her finds to buyers working for top designers such as Ralph Lauren, Betsy Johnson, and Calvin Klein.
Eventually, though, even this profitable “hobby” wasn’t enough. Ray and Mellisa had long discussed combining their passions and expertise to start their own skin care business so they could leave behind a legacy for their son – and finally, they decided it was time.
So naturally, Mellisa went to school at night to study skin care formulating so she would understand how great skin care is created – one ingredient at a time. She earned her accreditation as a skin care formulator and set about finding the right partners.
With decades in the skin care business, Mellisa and Ray relied on their connections to find the best chemists to help them finalize and manufacture the type of natural healthy skin care they imagined. Mellisa challenged the best and brightest chemists by insisting on unique and novel ingredients that she had researched. Sometimes she frustrated chemists by asking for unfamiliar or difficult formulations – but she had a vision.
After two years in development, and countless test versions and seemingly endless reformulating, Mellisa B Naturally’s first eight products were ready to debut. In 2016, Mellisa B Naturally introduced their line of anti-aging products that balance the potency of nature with modern cosmeceutical ingredients. Fruit and plant extracts work alongside peptides and antioxidants to create deep nurturing natural skin care.
The line of products has been evaluated by Madaline Barris, an NCEA certified Aesthetician and instructor at Jolie Health and Beauty Academy. Each product has been put through its paces by Madaline and her aesthetician colleagues and each has won glowing praise and endorsement. Moreover, each formulation has been independently evaluated by a third party lab to affirm its potency, purity, and efficacy. And of course, dozens and dozens of family, friends, and colleagues have been asked to test and evaluate each product – creating a mountain of empirical evidence.
More importantly though, both Ray and Mellisa have given their stamp of approval, imbuing their decades of experience in fitness, health & wellness, and skin care into each jar, bottle, and tube. So after years of development, and hundreds of tests, our founders are proud to put Mellisa’s name on every item – because they’re naturally confident, it’s skin care that works.