During its 50 years of existence, hip-hop culture has helped to create a multitude of fashion trends. In particular, gold, platinum, and diamond grillz have been a staple in the culture as numerous artists such as Slick Rick, Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, and Quavo are known for sporting grillz. Even Beyoncé and Rhianna have worn removable grillz at some point.
Howard University graduate Dr. Melissa Jones and her daughter/business partner Ariel Jones are making history as the only mother/daughter duo who specializes in making luxury custom designed grills in the country.
The two recently spoke with ADW to share insight on their business venture.
How did you get into the business of custom grillz?
Melissa: We started this company four years ago. It was my retirement plan. But since then it’s taken on a brand new meaning. We are the only only mother-daughter, custom, luxury designers in the world. Not only am I a licensed dentist from Howard University, I held a private practice for 15 years. I’ve been in practice for almost 30 years.
Ariel: I have a history in music management. I’m from Atlanta and I love our culture. We are like, you know, the seasoning to America. There’s no flavor without us here. I was alway enticed by grillz. It’s a push back against societal norms. We should always be able to express ourselves.
Melissa: Grillz are another form of art. We do masterpieces, works of art for the mouth. How cool is it to go to any event and come with this fabulous designer customized grill. That just takes your look to another level. This has never been done by somebody like us. So we’re putting a whole new spin on the culture, because we’re part of the culture.
What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned in business since starting?
Ariel: I would say know your product. Value your product. And know your market. Really do your research. And then I would say for any woman in business, never leave yourself short. Even when you’re dealing with other women. They’ll expect you to give something for free. And I just don’t believe in that. In the entertainment industry, some want you to provide free services just because they are famous. Don’t give your product away for free, because the return on that is often going to be slim to none. We’re in the luxury market so we had to study stones, diamonds and precious metals. So we offer a unique experience.
Melissa: We’ve made so many mistakes. And even though I’ve been in private practice for 15 years, it’s a whole new level because I’ve mastered the dental game. But coming into a new market, we had to learn how to love ourselves. And we had to learn to know our work. Because when we started we were giving away items. Now, it’s an honor and a privilege to be with us. So I would agree with my daughter to know your product. Learn your value. And when nobody else believes in you believe in yourself and keep going.