Q & A with Claudine Page
Founder of Miellee Hair Company
What are you inspired by?
I try to take inspiration from my surroundings, whether it’s a plane in the sky, a beautiful garden, a neon sign. My taste is extremely eclectic, I think, because of the way I grew up. You know, having lived in so many different countries by the time I was 18, you learn to appreciate what’s around you while you can.
Where did you grow up? And do you speak other languages?
I was born in the Kasai region of Congo (the Democratic Republic of Congo). I moved at an early age to Belgium, then back to Africa where we moved between Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Guinea. We finally settled in Washington D.C. which I’ve been blessed to call home ever since. And yes, I grew up speaking French as well as English!
Did you go to school to study business?
I graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Linguistics. And I attended Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School to study hair design. I’ve never studied business in any formal setting... although launching Miellee was definitely a crash course!
How did hair extensions become your thing?
I’ve been wearing hair extensions for more than 16 years and it’s one of the things I’ve never rotated out of my hair routine. I started making myself hair pieces and coloring my own extensions, and I would get stopped in the street and asked about my hair stylist. Little did people know, I hadn't been to a hair salon in the recent past, I was just wearing one of my DIY hair pieces and most of the time, I'd spent very little time actually styling or doing anything to my hair besides adding that piece.
When was the moment you decided to start Miellee?
I was working for an international organization, traveling overseas several times a year. Friends and associates in those countries would ask me to bring them hair pieces like the ones I wore because they didn’t have access to custom colored real human hair extensions where they were. This was really the catalyst - it sparked the idea for me that custom hair extensions are a niche market I could really get involved in and make an impact for women around the world.
What is the most rewarding part of being a business owner?
Getting to design hair extensions I love and then seeing people wearing them - it’s a total rush! I especially love working on special requests because I color and customize these items myself in my home studio.
Which item(s) in your hair wardrobe do you cherish most?
Probably my halo! [pictured above] This is my go-to piece for everyday use. I literally can throw on a halo in 20 seconds flat and look semi presentable even if I’ve done nothing else to get ready.
Besides your hair, you never leave the house without?
Ummm my phone. But that’s an obvious answer, isn’t it? It’s true though. People in my life know too well that I can go hours without looking my phone, but I like knowing it’s within reach. It’s bad, but I feel physically incapable of being out in the world without it.
Guilty pleasure you never feel guilty about?
Watching netflix in bed with my husband.
If you could live in any decade, it would be… why?
For me, there’s definitely something about the 1970’s. I love the energy coming from the civil rights era, the fight for social equality. Maybe it’s a romanticized view of it, but it just seems that people in the 70’s lived with purpose but also knew how to enjoy life. Plus, as a bonus, I really enjoy the hair, the makeup, the clothes from the 70’s.
Soo.. what’s next after hair?
I can’t even think about that because there’s so much left to explore within the realm of hair! I want my company to stay true to its values, and definitely environmentally sustainable, but I have tons of plans for additional products to launch… including hair pieces for men! When people think of customizable hair solutions, I want them to think of Miellee, so for the time being that’s what I’m focused on.