News Coverage

Melanie Downey has been featured, profiled, quoted, or mentioned in thousands of magazine, newspaper, TV and radio stories, in countless online stories, and a few books, too.  

Here's a sampling of media she's been featured, profiled, or quoted in:

Real-life Lessons in the Delicate Art of Setting Prices

Melanie Downey, the owner of Wilava, which manufactures and sells natural skin care products, also assumed that her customers were motivated primarily by price. Over time, she realized she had set prices too low to sustain the business. Yet she hesitated to raise them because she wanted her products to be affordable for those who needed them, and many of her customers have cancer or severe skin problems, including children with eczema. Concerned about maintaining trust, she decided not to act until after the company’s spring busy season.

The increase will range from 4 percent to 20 percent across Wilava’s line. Ms. Downey has been alerting customers in person and has gotten positive, even encouraging, feedback. In the next few weeks she will begin telling online customers. “I’m nervous about that,” she said, “since I won’t get immediate feedback.”

Still, looking back at the last year, she said, “I wish I had done this months ago.”

Then I'll Do It Myself: From to Organic Skin Products

The birth of a first child has a way of rearranging priorities, and that was certainly true for Melanie Hache Downey. The director of public relations and B2B marketing at, she was instrumental in the growth and success of the company, which is one of the largest online employment websites in the world...

All-Natural Success in Leominster: Former PR Exec Runs Business from her Dining Room

Wilava, a skin and body care business that is built around the sole principal of using the freshest and most effective ingredients available, was born of necessity nearly a decade ago when Downey began seeking ways to provide her eczema-riddled baby with something to ease her discomfort. The evolution from a hobby shared with friends to products marketed to a national audience took two years when Downey officially became a sole proprietorship and started putting her business plan into action in April 2009.

"It's a feel-good job without having to sacrifice what I consider to be a good, solid family life," she said, "and I am fulfilled because I feel like I am doing something important."

Principles in Action: Wilava

"You have flexibility, not only in terms of days and hours, but in the direction of the business and the rate of your growth."

"Have a written plan. Write things down! It will help guide you and make sure that you don't overlook important aspects of the business. At the same time, be flexible, and revise the plan as often as you need."

Baby's Health and an Obsession with Shea Butter Spawn Wilava

After Melanie Downey’s daughter, Ava, was born prematurely, she had several health problems, including food allergies and severe eczema. When her doctor suggested putting Ava on steroids to treat her skin, Downey frantically researched alternatives. “She had already been through so much, I didn’t want her to deal with side effects of steroids, too,” Downey said.

The Moments that Make Mompreneurs

Melanie Downey never worked less than an 80-hour work week. It was the internet heyday and Downey was Director of Public Relations and Marketing at “I was always really intense, and really identified my entire being, self-esteem and confidence with what I did for work,” says Downey. Even while pregnant, she attempted to keep up her old pace. 

I don’t think I can leave her. Downey’s daughter was born two months premature with a tricky mix of health complications: colitis, epilepsy, and a laundry list of food allergies. She nursed every 45 minutes and cried about twenty hours a day. The tiny, ailing baby couldn’t go to daycare, and Downey didn’t want to hire a nanny since “I was afraid that they might shake her or hurt her because she was crying constantly.” With a week left in her maternity leave, Downey had never yet been away from her daughter. She told her husband, “I just don’t think I can leave her,” and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. 

Downey began by selling skincare products at weekend fairs and online, managing the business while Ava, and her younger son, Will, slept. Within a few years though, she was back to working 80 hour weeks, just to keep up with the demands of her new business. She overheard her kids saying things like “Mommy used to play with us a lot before she started making soap.” For these reasons, Downey is shifting the focus of her company...

Kiwi Magazine

"Of course, we want to be the wave of the future, but we think we're doing pretty well in the present, too," she says.

The Indianapolis Star

Internet PR

"It's one of those things when you take a big risk and afterwards you give a big sigh of relief."

How to Create a PR Story that Grabs Attention

Public Relations specialist Melanie Downey reminds businesses that “larger media outlets often look to the smaller ones for story ideas.” Stories from local outlets often get picked up by ABC, MSNBC, Yahoo, and other bigger sources that have more clout when it comes to distributing viral content.

How to Build Your Brand as a Freelancer, Consultant, or Solopreneur

Downey argues that the desire to connect with a brand that has a unique personality is why customers and clients seek out small businesses in the first place.

“The businesses who really catapult themselves into the world are those who own their individuality and build their business around that,” she says.


Brand and Design: Defining Your Brand Touchpoints

“Make sure that every contact your customer has with your brand supports your brand vision and the points that came to light during your customer interviews,” says Downey. “This includes the look and feel of your studio, how they’re greeted at the front desk, the classes you offer, any ‘extras’ you offer, as well as any other contacts you have with them, like email newsletters, birthday cards, social media, ‘challenges’ and even music.”


Why the Time to Start a Business is Always Right
The time is always right to start a business, as long as you have a clear idea of what you do, who you serve, and how to get your ideas out to the world.

31 Press Release Distribution Tips from the Pros

"Everyone wants to be in the national news, but don’t discount your smaller, local, even weekly newspapers."

39 Book Marketing Ideas from the Pros

"Get creative in how you promote yourself to the press. This one takes a little bit of thinking, but it’s free. It can get your book in front of a whole new audience, and it works for both fiction and nonfiction writers.

Think about how you can tie in to ideas that the press is already going to be writing or talking about, that are related to a topic in your book. If you’re a sci-fi writer, you could talk about how to decorate your house to look like a scene in your book for Halloween.

If you have a business book on accounting, go beyond tax time, and pitch an idea like, “What you need to be doing in August to make tax prep easier in April” to business journals, magazines, and even talk radio."

"Meeting people and letting them try my products at shows has been the best way [for me] to attract new customers. If I can get someone to try my products, they usually become long-term, loyal customers."

Book: Driving Profitability at Craft Shows

Fair Game: How to Maximize Your Craft Fair Profit

Also, for products that have a "touch and feel" factor (natural skin care products or soaps, for example) offering samples is a great reason to do craft shows. "My products are really something that need to be tried and tested," said Melanie Downey, founder of Wilava.


20 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Traits of a Successful Leader

You’ve heard the phrase, ‘One step forward, Two steps back’? Well, a good leader is one who can keep people motivated when they’re taking those two steps back. Success is never a constant, steady increase; there are dips and valleys. In order to succeed, people need to be able to keep working through those dips, and get to the good parts. Great leaders understand this process, and know how to keep people motivated so they don’t give up when things get hard. The job of a leader is to make everyone else feel like a success.

Rescue a CEO