Beauty School Dropout Becomes Stylist to the Stars
Melissa Schleicher, one of Nashville’s most renowned celebrity hair and makeup artists, has built a multimillion-dollar beauty empire over the past 20 years.
In addition to Schleicher’s busy freelance schedule with clients such as Carrie Underwood, she owns several successful businesses. Secret revealed: Schleicher dropped out of high school when she was just 16 years old.
“I used to be embarrassed about the fact that I didn’t graduate from high school,” Schleicher said. “But then I realized my story could encourage other young women who are in the same boat as I once was. I knew what I wanted to do and I went for it. There’s nothing embarrassing about that.”
Schleicher opened her first of her four flourishing businesses in 2011. Parlour 3 is a full service salon and makeup boutique in Brentwood, Tennessee. It gained immediate acclaim thanks to her loyal celebrity clientele, its glamorous interior, and a talented team of stylists.
When Schleicher realized that Parlour 3 was attracting mostly women, she became determined to create a space to accommodate her male customers and make them feel comfortable. In 2015, she opened Barbour 3, a men’s grooming lounge located a few blocks away from Parlour 3. Barbour 3’s appeal comes from its rustic décor, diverse group of master barbers, and specialty services such as steam shaves and chair massages. The business gives back to the community by offering a 10 percent discount to any active duty military, paramedic, police, and fire personnel.
“It’s a total man cave,” Barbour 3 customer John Harwell said. “There’s nothing better than having a cold beer while getting a steam shave from Tex the Barber. It’s truly a one of a kind experience.”
Schleicher always knew she wanted to help young women pursue their dreams of becoming professional hair and makeup artists. This vision inspired her to create the Parlour 3 Beauty Agency in 2015. She trains hardworking young hair and makeup artists and teaches them tricks of the trade she has learned over the course of her career. The training not only includes lessons on hair and makeup, but also her expert advice on topics such as proper etiquette when working with celebrity clients.
“Melissa is always going, going, going. She is always helping out everyday clients when I see her at the salon and pushing me to do my best to grow my business,” Parlour 3 Agency employee Cali Jeffries said. “She is truly the most inspiring yet humble person I know. She’s the best boss I could ever dream of having.”
Despite all of her notable accomplishments, Schleicher takes the most pride in her latest project, Hair Me Downs. It is a nonprofit organization that provides high quality wigs for women who have lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
“With all the medical costs that come along with the terrible disease, the last thing a woman with cancer should think about is how they’re going to pay for a wig,” Schleicher said. “I want to help those women feel beautiful again.”
Schleicher hopes that her story will inspire young people to pursue their dreams even if the odds are against them.
“I don’t think people thought I would amount to anything,” Schleicher said. “I was just a young girl who quit high school and kept trying.”