St. Anthony: The three-room business of the Minnesota entrepreneur is still growing

Melanie Richards could teach us all about courage – and the long hours it takes to build a business.

She has spent her career in the service, especially of women. She spent 14 years as a probation officer, 12 of them for Henpen County.

In 2010, she launched goGlow, a skincare company based on plant-based products and salons, with $ 5,000 on her credit card. She attends evenings at the Aveda Institute while working days in criminal justice.

For 10 years, the company has grown by 40% every year – profitably, she said.

At first he could not borrow.

“The bankers were hesitant,” Richards said. “They didn’t see goGlow as a business.”

GoGlow already has 35 employees and should exceed $ 2 million in revenue this year. Add to that 12,000 ardent followers on Instagram.

Richards, 47, was raised with a sister by their working single. Her mother, Terry Magaard, sometimes took the girls from the Esco home for about 25 miles until the evening at the University of Minnesota Duluth. They saw that Magaard was graduating and continuing to a successful career in accounting and small business management.

Richards’ late grandfather, a Minnesota state road patrol officer, is her surrogate father. And Magaard, now retired, was a staunch inspiration and supporter.

Richards, divorced and the mother herself, also made her way through UMD. She worked part-time and paid student loans for 15 years.

Richards worked briefly in California before joining Hennepin County as a probation officer in 1998. She is increasingly interested in family members who have sometimes been victims of criminal convictions. Two women and a grandfather were killed by two probation clients.

“We realized we needed to do more for the victims,” ​​said Nancy Halverson, a former Richards chief in Hennepin County.

Richards and Halverson were an integral part of the county, providing federal money to set up one of the first domestic violence centers nationwide, in the district attorney’s office.

“A victim can come in and talk to a lawyer,” Halverson recalled. “Melanie was the probation officer in that office. There was help, including a police officer, a prosecutor and security orders.”

Halverson called Richards smart, energetic, and compassionate.

“She also observed a small group of women convicted of domestic violence but also victims,” ​​Halvorsen said. “She made this position work. She doesn’t sit in an office waiting for her job to come. I’m not surprised she’s a successful entrepreneur.”

After 14 years as a probation officer, Richards was also on fire. She went to school dinners in 2010 and graduated from the Aveda Institute as an esthetician. Eventually, she developed non-alcoholic plant-based sprays and other skin products, including a gradual self-tanner moisturizer full of antioxidants and plant extracts as part of the secret sauce.

Richards started working remotely, from his car. She lacked the capital to rent commercial space.

Eventually, she was able to focus on her full-time business, leaving the $ 70,000-a-year job she loved in a daunting but inspiring move.

Richards was encouraged by the growing number of women who will pay $ 45 to $ 65 per session, plus buy products. She said she also enjoys the confidence they get from a moisturizing, healthy glow.

About 10% of customers are men.

GoGlow operates clinics and retail outlets in Edina, Maple Grove and Chicago. A location in upper Minneapolis was closed after the 2020 riots over a police shooting.

The next step: Richards recently filed lawsuits in Minnesota and other state trade regulators to sell franchises.

Its showrooms have an average operating profit of $ 154,000 on sales of $ 509,000 in 2021, according to franchise documents.

GoGlow employees earn $ 25-plus per hour, including commissions and tips.

“I pay more than I earned as a probation officer to support my family, but the profits have largely returned to the growth of the business,” Richards said.

Scott Larson, an independent financial adviser at Wayzata and also Richards’ son-in-law, said she has the will and perseverance.

“Every entrepreneur is run,” Larson said. “There is a fire inside [Richards] I’ve never experienced it. “

Richards’ sister, Stacy Larson, also an entrepreneur, is a veteran owner of a women’s clothing boutique called Covered in Uptown.

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