We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Drayton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I believe we are living in a hustle culture environment. The message of “getting to the bag by any means necessary” is being encouraged and pushed constantly via music and social media. I definitely enjoy getting money. Who doesn’t? There has to be a healthy balance though to prevent burn out. I have incorporated the idea of creating multiple streams of income into my life which allows me to wear several different hats. I am School Counselor, Owner/Creator of XOC Escentials, Mental Health Therapist with Family Insight, LLC, and Home Study Provider with Nightlight Christian Adoptions. On top of all these roles I am a mother to three boys, Xavier, Omari, and Chance while being a wife to my husband Mario. My work life balance has not really changed over the years, but this is how I have managed to maintain a healthy balance.
For me, a healthy work life balance does not necessarily mean giving each facet of my life the same energy. Other than my relationship with God, being a wife and mother will always take precedence over everything else. While XOC Escentials is technically my business, my children and husband are a big part of the operation. XOC Escentials is named after my boys Xavier, Omari, Chance. They assist with labeling, packaging, organizing, vendor events, and my husband and mother are able to make Yummy Body Whip. XOC is definitely a family affair and I love it because I am able to spend time with them while being productive.
You must also know your limits when creating a healthy work life balance. Last year I was offered an opportunity to be a part-time instructor for a college class. A part of me thought “Yay more money” and the realistic side of my brain said “There is no way you have time for this”. So I ended up declining the offer. I inherited an entrepreneurial spirit which has led me to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. My job as a School Counselor does not allow for much flexibility being that I have to work specific days and at specific times. However, I have flexibility to decide my schedule and work from the comfort of my home when it comes to XOC and scheduling clients with Family Insight and Nightlight Christian Adoptions.
Because I am a mental health professional I am a huge advocate for self-care. Prayer, God’s grace, getting adequate rest, staying away from negativity, pampering myself, taking trips, and going to church regularly allows me to fulfill these roles and maintain balance in my life. I always say I will never lose myself or let myself go despite what is going on.
Healthy work life balance is not possible without organization and intention. It’s a blessing to be able to financially take care of yourself and your family. I always say two things I will always do is laugh and get me some money. My goal is to continue striving to be the best mother, wife, and businesswoman I can be while protecting my peace and keeping God first above all.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
XOC Escentials by Mel was birthed in February 2019. I named my business XOC Escentials after my three sons, Xavier, Omari, and Chance. I always knew I would be a business owner being that I inherited an entrepreneurial spirit. Several people in my family are successful business owners. Being that I love fashion, I saw myself owning a boutique. I never thought I would be a creator of natural skin care products. When I decided I was going to start my business I consulted with my husband, prayed about it, and just dove right in. My products include Yummy Lips, which is a lip oil or lip balm and Yummy Body Whip, which is whipped shea butter. I use the word yummy to describe something that tastes, looks, or smells good. I even use the word yummy to describe people. So I wanted to create an interesting name for my product and came up with Yummy Body Whip. Not only does Yummy Body Whip cause you to look, smell, and feel yummy all over, it also soothes the symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. I initially was going to buy the whipped body butter from a vendor and resell it, but it was expensive. So I did some research about shea butter and how to soften the texture by whipping and mixing it with oils and decided to make it myself adding my own personal touch. Even though it would require more work, it was the least expensive option. It is very therapeutic and satisfying making my products. I enjoy creating something and putting love and attention into it and going through the production process from start to finish. Yummy Body Whip can be made with various scents, colors, and shimmer. I like the fact that my products are customizable. My customers are able to mix scents and colors based on their personal preference. There was some trial and error in the beginning. I had a difficult time deciding on packaging/presentation and what vendor to purchase my shea butter from. Getting feedback from my “yummy customers” as I like to call them, is really what I have based my decisions on. I love when I get a review saying “I’ll never use lotion again”. To be honest, I haven’t faced many challenges except for consistently putting out content about my products. I feel blessed to have a consistent customer base that has grown so much over the years. My product speaks for itself and word of mouth is really how XOC has grown. I have learned that strangers will be your biggest supporters and customers. I do have family and friends who use my products, but majority of my customers are people I don’t know and that is absolutely fine with me. In talking with other small business owners this seems to be common. I truly feel my success comes from being consistent with my products and customer service. My customers know that each time they purchase Yummy Body Whip they are in for a luxurious, satisfying experience. A lot of people sell all natural skin care products, but I truly believe having excellent customer service sets you apart from your competition no matter what business you are in. Over the past 2 years of XOC’s existence I can truly say I am satisfied with where my brand and business is and I am excited about the direction it is going in. As I relocate to Atlanta, I feel that more opportunities will present itself to growing my business and brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am actually in the process of relocating from Valdosta to Atlanta. Being that I visit Atlanta quite a bit, I would take them to V Piedmont Park and/or Ponce City Market Roof. Catch a comedy show at Atlanta Comedy Club or catch a vibe at Oak Atlanta or Suite Food Lounge. Eat at my favorite breakfast/brunch spots Breakfast at Barney’s or Rosie’s Cafe and eat dinner at The Garden Room, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, or BQE.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First of all, I would like to thank Berinda Hollis Nwakamma for the Shoutout referral! I would also like to give a huge shoutout my husband, Mario, you’re the real MVP and my children Xavier, Omari, and Chance. None of this would be possible without your love and support. My parents, Darrell and Mignon Davis, for instilling the necessary life skills to be successful and for creating me!
Instagram: @xoc_escentials or @meldray1
Facebook: XOC Escentials or Mel Dray