J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: Modest Fashion Expert, Melanie Elturk, founder of Haute Hijab @hautehijab

Name: Melanie Elturk Title: CEO of Haute Hijab Twitter: @hautehijab

Melanie Elturk is an industry expert in modest fashion and is the CEO of Haute Hijab (hautehijab.com). Melanie aims to instill self-confidence in hijab-wearing women worldwide, and in addition to her clothing and hijab line, she facilitates support for those struggling with hijab in addition to highlighting inspiring women who contribute to their communities in significant ways. She is a regular contributor on ELLE.com and has been featured in the New York Times, NBC Today, USA Today and others.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Melanie: It’s in my blood! At a very young age, my Dad always encouraged and supported my entrepreneurial side. When I was 6 and making my own illustrations, he told me to narrate it and create a storybook out of my drawings. In sixth grade when I started making beaded jewelry, he told me to make a few sample pieces, take them to school and sell them to my classmates. It was something instilled in me at a young age that I still carry with me today.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Melanie: Haute Hijab exists as a solution for Muslim women who are looking for modern, high quality and beautifully designed hijabs (headscarves) and clothing. Muslim women have very real needs when it comes to clothing that need to be addressed in the world of fashion.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Melanie: I wish someone would’ve told me how important it is to anchor yourself and to know and understand your personal values and beliefs while navigating the fashion space. It was a lesson I had to learn the hard way! It’s very easy to get caught up in the self-engrossing aspect of constantly putting yourself out there as the face of a brand — and without centering yourself and staying grounded in your personal beliefs, it’s easy to get distracted.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Melanie: When I see strangers on the street wearing my designs. I liken it to musicians hearing their songs on the radio. It’s such an amazing feeling and gives me so much validation to keep going. I have to stop myself from running up to them and gushing about how amazing it is to see them in my hijabs or clothing!

Me: Who are your heroes?

Melanie: My heroes are women like Tamara Gray and Dalia Mogahed; strong Muslim women who are intelligent, unapologetic, vocal and making a meaningful and lasting mark on the American Muslim landscape.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Melanie: Something I learned early on as a teenager is that people (especially women) want to be heard and validated. I carried this discovery onto my brand as I built it around a community of women who need a platform where they can share their voice. I also ensure I make myself as available as possible to my customers and community surrounding the brand. It’s so important they feel heard, acknowledged and validated. Luckily, I truly love connecting with people, so it’s a part of what I do that I wholeheartedly enjoy.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Melanie: Changing the World One Hijab at a Time

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Melanie: Not moving to NYC sooner! There are so many opportunities here; especially in my space of fashion and already in the short three months I’ve been here I’ve met so many amazing people and experienced incredible opportunities that I otherwise would not have.

Me: Anything else we should know about (product launch, crowdfunding or marketing campaign, recent interview, job openings..)?

Melanie: You can stay updated with us on our blog (http://www.hautehijab.com/blogs/hijab-fashion) Instagram & Snapchat @hautehijab and we also have great videos at YouTube.com/hautehijab! I love connecting with people, so please feel free to say ‘hello!’


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