Welcome back to the Small Business Spotlight! Today, Entrepreneur Resources is highlighting CocoaBabies, an online retailer who sells clothes and accessories geared toward children of color. If you would like your business to be featured, contact us today.
Name: Nia McAdoo
Type of Business: online clothing retailer
Years in Business: 5
Contact Information: www.CocoaBabies.com
What does your company do? We create clothing and accessories geared towards children of color, all of our products feature messages and designs that reinforce positive messages.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur? Growing up my Father and Aunt were both entrepreneurs. I grew up assisting them on the weekends and over holiday breaks and they instilled in me the importance of owning your own business whether it was as a full time or part time entrepreneur.
Why did you choose your business?
I had the idea to start Cocoa Babies after seeing so many young children in tee’s that were either sexually explicit or totally inappropriate. I then started to look at the major retailers to see what they offered consumers and saw that there were few designs that had positive messages and none marketed specifically to children/teens of color. I started to develop designs that I felt were positive and age appropriate and it grew from there.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship?
Knowing that I had a product that people liked and were willing to actually purchase prepared me and made that initial idea stage easier. I had the ability to create my websites and marketing materials which kept my expenses low and ensured that everything would be complete based on my timelines and not someone else’s.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I recently resigned from my position as an Associate Director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to run Cocoa Babies full-time. I was featured in an article that was in Pride magazine which is an African American business magazine based out of Charlotte, NC. It was nice to see my company recognized in that way.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The most rewarding aspect is knowing that I have complete control over my business and its future growth. I have marketing interns who work with the company and providing learning opportunities for students has been great. I truly believe that anyone who is interested in beginning their own business should surround themselves with a solid network and by working with interns I have the ability to act as a mentor.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
I think that most entrepreneurs face obstacles and hurdles when they begin a business, I was so focused on the end product that I missed little steps along the way. Now that I am working full-time as a small business owner it truly is about getting past the people who think that I made a crazy or a bad choice. It’s difficult for people to see your business as a business and not just a hobby.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
I wish that I would have networked with other new business owners sooner. I have learned so many things within the past 1.5 years that I wish I would have known in the beginning. I wish that I would have asked questions and done more research, there are so many things that I would have done differently. I am blessed that I haven’t had any major issues or mistakes and that I can laugh about all of the situations now.
How can others get started in this business?
By determining who your market is and by testing your products, every good idea is not necessarily a business and it can be hard to accept that. If you are interested in starting a clothing and accessories line determine your price point and begin to find suppliers who can offer quality products.
You also want to make sure that your website is appealing and easy to navigate, people will judge your product by the marketing materials you send out so you want to make sure that its high quality.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?
I would say that anyone interested in starting a business should do their research and determine whether or not they can provide a quality product or service and make a profit while doing so. I think that a lot of people have great ideas but lack the skill set to really implement them. It’s hard when you’re excited about an idea. That’s still a challenge, sometimes you get so wrapped up in a good idea that you want to rush it and that’s not necessarily the best thing to do.
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