Michaelee is a proud Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesáhsne and Northern Paiute from Nevada. Her passion for creating beautiful soaps and beauty products drove her to quit her day job as an engineer and start her company Sequoia.
Give us a window into your pursuit of happiness and success.
Make sure that what you want to do in life, is what you want to do, not what someone else wants you to do. When I told my dad that I was going to quit my Engineering job and start my soap/skincare company, his response was “maybe you should go back to school to be a lawyer”. I don’t even know if he remembers that, but I could definitely understand his response. I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering and had started a career in the Civil Engineering field. That was already 10 years of my life. It was a great job, and my parents were proud, but I wasn’t passionate about it every day.
In order to be happy, I felt that I needed to follow my dream of creating something of my very own, where the sky was the limit. Success will come when you are happy, especially if what you are doing, doesn’t feel like work at all. Today, my parents are my biggest fans.
What is your number one business goal to accomplish this year?
My goal this year is to get my products into a large retail chain. As an indigenous business, I feel that the world is ready to discover products from an indigenous business. I also feel like there has been a lot more awareness about indigenous people recently. We are still here, doing things, having businesses. I love to be a role model for young indigenous girls that an indigenous woman can do exactly what she puts her mind to. It has also been a dream of mine to empower other indigenous women to create along with me and be part of something big.
If you could give your past self some advice, what would you tell you?
Stop questioning yourself, just do it! Your instincts are right!
Too often, we can be the thing that slows us down. Recognizing this and getting out of your own way is something that you are totally in control of.
I believe if I had followed my instincts from the get-go, I would have saved so much time and accomplished what I have sooner.
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