The tale of a pretty cheerleader that dropped out of high school, got pregnant, married at 19, and had her first, and only child at 20 isn’t just an idea for a Country song. What makes this story unique is the success of entrepreneur and celebrity hairstylist Melissa Schleicher.
This petite and bubbly blonde with a personality larger than her hair is Nashville born and bred. She had a typical middle-income childhood growing up. As a child she would practice cutting and styling hair on her Barbie dolls.
"I knew at an early age what I wanted in life, so I decided to enroll in beauty school without my high school diploma, said Melissa. My parents didn’t even know I had quit attending school for a while.”
“For many years, I was embarrassed that I didn’t complete high school. It was my daughter Hunter, who provided the encouragement I needed to come clean,” said Melissa. “Mom, it’s your story, and you’re a huge success, so tell it,” was her daughter’s advice.
Like any young person beginning a career, Melissa took whatever work came her way, which tended to be more colors than cuts. “I hated coloring hair at first.” confessed Melissa. “But that was how you made good money.”
Her determination started paying dividends. “When I received my first full paycheck, the amount was more than my dad was making for the same period. My dream was taking shape.”
Cuts & Color Were Only The Beginning
Melissa’s initial success only motivated her to explore new opportunities. She met Melanie Shelley, an experienced hair and makeup artist for several Country Music stars such as Leigh Ann Womack, The Dixie Chicks, and Alan Jackson.
“Melanie got so busy with The Dixie Chicks that she sent me on jobs with Alan and Leigh Ann,” said Melissa. “She taught me how video and photography lighting worked and the proper techniques to apply makeup in all types of settings. That’s how I learned.”
The errors were few because Melissa’s celebrity roster quickly expanded. “What’s funny is I wasn’t interested in working with Country Music artists then because, heck, I was into rap music! Plus, I wasn’t star-struck at all, which is why I think they liked me. I just treat everyone the same. Alan Jackson was one of my first celebrity clients 21 years ago and he’s still a client today.”
Most hairstylists are entrepreneurs because they work for themselves, yet Melissa’s aspirations exceeded a single chair. With the encouragement of her husband, Don, they rolled the dice for her dreams. They mortgaged their home to open Parlour Three, which was initially designed as a make-up store.
The bet paid off. Today Melissa owns multiple businesses.
Parlour Three, where Melissa and her top stylists ply their expert skills has an elegant, upscale, “glam and pretty” feel.
Hunter Paige by Parlour Three is a salon where younger stylists can work and build a clientele. “It gives newer stylists the chance to develop their chops and make good money.”
Parlour 3 Collection is a spa that offers everything from skincare treatments, eye and eyelash services, aesthetics and body sculpting.
The Parlour Room is an event space for up to 80 people designed for showers, classes, dinners, or other events. “Last year alone, they handled over 200 wedding groups,” Melissa added.
And guys, don’t feel left out because Barbour 3 is a space designed for you.
“Men are taking better care of themselves in terms of hairstyles and their overall grooming,” Melissa explained. “Years ago, they wouldn’t think of coloring their hair, having body hair waxed, or receiving other treatments. The first thing my husband said was not to make the guy’s barbershop ‘too girly.’ I told him not to worry, I got this!”
Carrie Underwood is undoubtedly one of Melissa’s most prominent clients. “We’ve known each other for years and are close friends. In fact, Carrie and her husband Mike came over one night when we were scrambling to open the salon and helped put chairs together with Don and me. They are so down to earth and just wonderful people. Nashville is lucky to have them.”
Opportunities and Challenges Await
Melissa is most excited about the family’s newest edition that will arrive in June, her first grandchild by daughter Hunter and son-in-law, Cameron Premo. “I’ve already picked out my name, and it’s ‘Missy.’ No grandmother or similar name fits me.”
With all of Melissa’s success, one of her most painful decisions was to temporarily close her businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I gathered my employees and I cried. I hope by the time others read this article, we’re back together, making others feel good about themselves. That’s my real goal, to empower women and entrepreneurs to live their dreams like I have.”
No one that knows Melissa doubts this self-educated business woman will fail at anything. In fact, even the backdrop canvas paintings she produced for her shop were picked and marketed as prints by Kirkland’s, the home decor company.
Melissa Schleicher will survive and prosper in any environment, and she can’t wait to capture another day.
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