Cocoa Cutie - NC

It all started with a tutu. I don't know many people can say that, but yeah, it all started with a tutu! Years ago, I asked my niece what she wanted for her birthday, at the time she was turning four. Her response, a tutu. Well, me being the Awesome Auntie that I am, I went on a mission, FIND THE TUTU! At the time, her being so small, it was hard to find her one...so I learned how to make one tulle and all. Well, you can't just have the tutu, it needs to be an outfit...try as hard as I may, I could not find a black ballerina tee. I wanted her to have it because I wanted her to see herself as a dancer. Crazy part is, guess what, TODAY she is a dancer and is fact a leader of her dance troupe! PROUD AUNTIE MOMENT!!!
So anyways, I've always doodled and was kind of a crafter, so I created her tee with fabric paint. It got such a great response...I had an epiphany, I can't be the only one looking for this type of stuff! I had taken a hiatus from being a scientist (in college I spent time in both the art and science departments.) I then looked into what it took to get my artwork on products...this was in 2014, I put some of my earlier designs on a print-on-demand website, told a few people about it. I admit, I went back and forth, imposter syndrome. Then at the end of 2017 I decided to really take a leap of faith. I needed to get my brand out there, it is important. It is important to be able to see yourself in images that reflect you. I always like to say my brand is not only about representing black and brown children, but also celebrating their hobbies, interests, and imagination. So, whether it’s a sport, a career, or even the fantasy of being a mermaid, they can come to my brand and find what they need. To me words of affirmation for children are powerful, but images are even more powerful to a child's self-esteem. It still amazing to me when I see a child run up to my booth and spend their allowance on one of my products. My goal is to make having products like mine a norm and not an exception to the rule.
Adjusting to this current economy, of course with the pandemic, most of my sales came from my online store, but as we get back to normal more people are shopping in person. I do have my products in a few shops, my goal is to be in more locations this year. I am also looking into licensing partnerships and wholesale, particularly my sports line. I actually expanded it to be more inclusive because I noticed as a whole girls in sports do not have much representation. So, trade shows and PR are also goals this year.
Cocoa Cutie