Bringing a Latin touch to the beauty world, AYRES Beauty was brought to fruition by…
Meet Melissa Ketch
After moving to New York City to pursue a career in fashion marketing and interning at luxury brands like Oscar de la Renta and Saint Laurent (YSL), Mélissa Ketchandji made her break into the beauty industry when given the opportunity to work at a major makeup brand. She quickly realized her passions lie outside of marketing and, with the help of an online personality test, found herself immersed in the world of coding as a web developer and UX designer. Learn more about Mélissa and how she is helping younger women get involved in the tech industry.
- My name is: Mélissa Ketchandji
- My social handles are: Instagram @melissaketch
- Find my website at: melissaketch.com
1. What inspired you to make the switch from beauty marketing to web development?
As much fun as it sounds and was, I felt empty and I knew something was missing. So, I put myself on a mission to find what it is that sets my soul on fire. That’s when I took an online personality test which revealed people like me may be interested in coding. I gave it a try and fell in LOVE! In just six months, I became a self-taught web developer. While at it, a co-worker exposed me to the world of UX design and I found that to be my sweet spot – a mix of user research, design, and code. Today, I absolutely love what I do.
2. Who has inspired and supported you in your career?
When I first found my passion, everything started to make sense around me. I felt more alive and aligned with my purpose. Coincidentally, I was reading The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, a book on the law of attraction. It fueled me to believe in myself more than ever before and go for what I believe in. The theory and practice of the law of attraction played a huge part in my journey and helped me focus on that one goal of kickstarting a career in tech. Other key people to thank are my family who supported me from the get-go and my mentors who guided me along the way to land that first job in tech.
3. What does a regular day look like for you?
After I wake up, I take a shower and make my way to work. The first thing I do is plan my tasks for the day and then check my emails to fill in the gaps. I made it a point not to check my emails first thing in the morning (or often). I only check them three times a day (when I get to work, in the afternoon, and before leaving work). If something is urgent, call me. I spend most of my free time on Instagram checking beauty content and on blogs, reading UX articles. I also try to leave work on time to do personal social activities such as meeting up with friends and attending events. I value my time more than I value money because, let’s be honest, time is irreplaceable.
4. How did you get involved with the WAVE Initiative by Built By Girls?
I wish I was exposed to coding and tech as a career when I was younger. I would have pursued a degree in Computer Science and Psychology instead of Marketing. When Built by Girls contacted me to become an advisor and spread the word on their WAVE program, I couldn’t be more excited. The program aims to expose young girls to careers in tech. As a mentor, I am able to share what I do with the girls and connect them with industry leaders.
5. What is a piece of advice you could give to women aspiring to make a name for themselves in the tech industry?
On that I would say:
- Be yourself, genuine, and authentic.
- Put yourself out there as much as you can (blog, use social media to share your voice – Instagram and Twitter are great. LinkedIn is amazing to share your professional accomplishment in the field, like presentations and industry blog posts.)
- Network as much as you can. Like in all industries, it’s all about who you know.
- Share your work as much as you can. People will never know what you can do unless you show them. Online portfolios are great for that. Another great way to share is through online communities where you can contribute to open source projects or simply answer technical questions.
- Don’t get caught up by the imposter syndrome. Always remember that all experts were once beginners.
- Share your dreams and aspirations with everyone you meet – friends, family, and strangers. People always feel inclined to help people who are passionate. I get many tech invites or introductions from people just because they know how much I like what I do.
- Find mentors. They will shortcut your way to success!
6. Okay, we have to ask… what’s in your beauty bag?
My red lipstick (Ruby Woo by MAC), lip balm (somehow always finds its way out of my beauty bag and can never find it), my makeup bag for those little touch up before after work events, a mirror, dental floss (I like to keep my teeth clean after a bowl of salad!) and hand sanitizer – because I live in New York.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Interested in learning more from professionals in the digital marketing and beauty industries? Check out the rest of our As Told By series.