Shun Melson – Wanna Be Made Over

For those of us who watched Season 1 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, noticed that Nene Leakes wore low cut tops and ill-fitting dresses. I constantly wondered, “What was she thinking?” I have always thought that if you had true friends then they would be truthful and let you know that you were leaving the house not looking your best. Well I guess my prayers were answered this season because I am noticing that Nene has definitely stepped up her game. She has revamped her look with a new hairstyle, less make-up, and clothes that fit properly. BE-Style wanted to know who was responsible for this miracle, and was guided to the talents of Shun Melson.

Shun is the founder and C.E.O. of Creative Solutionz, LLC and a premier stylist and personal fashion concierge in Atlanta, GA. From her beginnings in the retail business, working at5 Wild Pair Shoes, she has been able to meet the needs of her clients by offering the most fashion forward items that complimented their personal style. She has lent her talents to the likes of Monica, Jennifer Hudson, and Shawty Lo, busy mothers, professional athletes, and now to the cast of the Atlanta phenomenon. Although, the behavior of these supposed millionaire “Housewives” are not that of professionals and women of a certain social status. At least they are spending their money to look the part. We contacted Shun Melson to get a better understanding of her influence to the women’s wardrobes.

BE-Style: How did you get started as a stylist for Nene?

SM: Actually Derek Blanks, a well-known photographer here in Atlanta called me to ask me to style on a photo shoot with Nene. He knows that I am pretty picky with whom I do photo shoots with. I only work with persons that I feel could use a makeover and an improvement in their overall image or if I really like their work. So when he approached me to do the shoot with Nene, I immediately said yes. Other “Housewives” had asked me but I chose not to work with those persons. On the day of the shoot, Nene loved everything I brought with me. She then stated that she would call me after the shoot, and she did.

BE-Style: Last season, I noticed Nene wore low cut tops, and her breasts were just everywhere. This season, she seems to be dressing more tastefully. Did you play a role in that?

SM: Actually, when the season first started, she still hadn’t called me. She contacted me about a month to a month and a half before they finished taping. So all of the styles that you may see are not my work but the photos shoots and the BRAVO commercials are when I started.

BE-Style: What tips do you have for women of size in choosing wardrobe pieces?

SM: I always try to get something with at least a 2% stretch with my plus size clients, or any clients that are sizes 8-12.  Try not to do so many open tops and try to accessorize well. I do believe they should also have the perfect pair of jeans, and keep a good tailor to do alternations. Don’t try to do tops with ruffles because you don’t want to add volume if you are already top heavy. I do believe that alterations are a must for a proper fit. I always have to make sure Nene is in Rock & Republic or Hudson denim. Those brands come with a longer inseam, which is perfect for women with long legs. 

BE-Style: What’s your take on the relationship between Nene and her husband?

SM: Well they have a great relationship, and he really does love Nene. I think they have a lot of fun together. They are a very cool couple.

BE-Style: Does Greg budget Nene’s spending?

SM: No, Nene is in control. Greg is normally there when I show up for a fitting and he doesn’t have a problem as long as the heels are high, and the dresses are tight and short. He loves everything that I bring in for her as long as I have some sexy pumps with something tight or short.

BE-Style: Do you have to ever deal with Diva attitudes or clients that are just hard to work with?

SM: Fortunately, I don’t ever have to deal with those types of clients. I have a strong base of clients where I can turn down those that I feel have that type of attitude. I’m not in the position where I have to take it just because. As I stated before, Derek knows that, and I have turned down many of opportunities.

BE-Style: Are your services contracted on daily or hourly rates?

SM: I do have day rates for photo and video shoots or for the times that I need to travel with clients. If I’m just going shopping for them here in the city, then, bringing items over, and she’s not here so I just lay them out in the closet. Then she will say – yes or no.

BE-Style: Do you ever have to travel with your clients or you mostly ge
t them ready before they leave town?

SM: I do both, actually. It depends on what’s in the budget.

BE-Style: Tell me about your career choices that led you to Jeffrey and BEyond?

SM: Well I always loved shoes. I started at Wild Pair in South Dekalb Mall, then Marni Shoes in Lenox Mall. I decided at that time that I wanted to deal with a different type of merchandise and clientele, so I applied and was hired over at Jeffrey. You know the average shoes cost about $500-$600, and this introduced me to a new client base. I really enjoyed working with the higher end clients. This is when I met Monica, and basically became her personal shopper. A few other clients would ask me to go with them to Saks, to match outfits to go with the shoes that I’d just sold them. So eventually, I got the idea to leave, try it on my own, and if it didn’t work I would go back. Thankfully I haven’t looked back. However, I do go back to shop for myself or for some of my clients.

BE-Style: Personal shoppers and aspiring stylist are emerging everyday. How do you stay relevant in the business?

SM: To me, I am different from a lot of other stylist and people in the industry. I have very close relationships with my clients. I know all members of the family from the husband to the children and pets. My working for them, is not just a job.  I am passionate about what I do, and I genuinely care about my clients. Like I’m six months pregnant now, and a lot of people asked, “Are you worried about your clients leaving and going to someone else?” I’m not worried at all. And if they do work with someone else, it will only be temporary. See, I am confident in my work, and love what I do so I am not threatened.


BE-Style: Have you styled for Reality TV personalities before, or was Nene your first?

SM: Nene was the first one that I dealt with on a show. I actually met Kandi through Monica. She knew that I dressed Monica off and on. We would chat whenever we saw each other out. So when she got called for “Real Housewives”, she gave me a call. I’ve always been a fan of Xscape’s music, loved Kandi’s style and personality, so I agreed to work with her also. Those are the only two that I have worked with on Reality TV.

BE-Style: Do you prefer working with women or men?

SM: I love working with women the most, even-though it’s more of a challenge. The men are just easy. They just see what I bring in and don’t put up any arguments or make any changes. In working with women, especially the music artist, you have a hundred different opinions coming at you from the labels to the managers to the artist herself, that may think she is being stylish.

BE-Style: Do shows like “Housewives” hire someone with your level of expertise work with them as a wardrobe consultant for the series?

SM: Well I don’t know about that, Nene contacted me. So, I try to make sure that I consult Nene about making sure she has me style her when she goes out to special events because her image is very important. And not only do I consult her with her clothes, but I try to help her with decisions on her hairstyles and make-up, also. I am pretty much that way with all my clients like, I feel that its a whole package not just an outfit.  It’s a full image that’s going to bring the outfit together. She will sometimes still go out of town or on television without my advise, and regret it later. But, I will like for people to know that a stylist is just not for rich people, it’s for people that really need to improve their images, and their image is important in whatever industry they’re in.

BE-Style: What is your personal opinion on the genre of Reality TV, and how it has become such a major part of pop-culture in recent years? Do you feel that some of them could use your help?

SM: I’m not a huge TV person because my schedule is so hectic. But, BRAVO is one of my favorite channels as well as, BET. I do watch as much as I can, to support my fellow “ATLians.” I try to watch Tiny & Toya. Monica is coming out with a show soon, so of course, I will be supporting her. And yes, there are a few that could use my help.

BE-Style: I noticed on your website, that you offer weekly and monthly closet maintenance. What exactly does that entail?

SM: Usually my closet maintenance is not for the wealthy or rich. It’s those moms that have 4 or 5 kids, a husband, full-time job, trying to run a business and just don’t have time.  She has lots of events to go to, so I go by and pick up the dry cleaning, and when they are ready I go pick them up and deliver to the client. I then get rid of all the {wire hangers}. Some of the clients need their outfits laid out for the week or for a certain event so, I do that. My women clients have shoe boxes of all sizes so, I will take their shoes and place them in clear containers with pictures. I just try to make it easy cause they have so many other things going on, I just want to make it easy for them.

BE-Style: Are you planning to branch out into other areas of fashion and styling? What are your future plans for “Creative Solutionz” to BEcome?

SM: Well, I am currently working on developing a Leather Line to be out next year, with a very close friend of mine. Melinda was one of my best clients at Jeffrey and we’ve just remained close. You know on my day to day shopping, I feel that there is a missing link of great leather pieces. So, she and I are collaborating to create a line for men and women. I currently have assistants that work with me at a client’s homes but, I am the only one to do the shopping. Hopefully, I will be able to train a few people within Creative Solutionz, and expand that way so that I don’t have to be a one-woman band. By the time this interview hits, I would have been followed as I run my daily business and recorded for another Reality Show. So stay tuned!


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