Can you imagine having a choking incident, and instead of reacting properly, your attempt to save the life of someone who's choking results in actually causing their death? It sounds a lot like the plotline of House (the television show). While that might be an extreme case, it does bring up an interesting point—that if we don't have proper training, we are unprepared in an emergency.
In 2002, Felicia Jackson's son was sitting in the car's back seat when he started to choke on an object. As a trained medical professional, Felicia had all the training needed to perform CPR; however, she froze. Thankfully, her husband was there and was able to administer CPR. Felicia thought if an experienced medical professional such as herself can freeze in an emergency like that, what about non-medically trained individuals?
The CPR Wrap
This was the reason behind the invention of The CPR Wrap. The CPR Wrap is a passion project that turned into a life-saving product. It's disposable, latex-free, and it's created from medical-grade plastic. This is more than an adult CPR mask. It provides visual prompts to guide the rescuer through the four AHA-recommended steps of CPR. The plastic chest overlay includes a mouth-to-mouth, one-way breathing barrier, and face shield to ensure sanitary protection.
In what ways has the Black Lives Matter movement helped your business?
Being a Black woman founder has its limitations. Felicia expressed how difficult it was to receive funding for her business. If you don't have the network, you don't have anyone to call to help scale your business. Felicia struggled to get her business the traction it needed, and at the time, Felicia had already quit her job to invest in the business full-time, but she felt like her luck was running out. "You have to be invited, a lot of times, to talk to people that could help you scale your business."
Then COVID hit, and the world isn't thinking about CPR Wrap. Felicia had to reevaluate her content and focus on re-educating people on the importance of saving a life. "I was getting ready to stop. I was getting ready to give in. Many people didn't know that," shared Felicia. Then Black Lives Matter happened. People became more intentional about purchasing from Black-owned companies. As a result of the community's support, Felicia's sales increased by 500% in one day.
"Don't be afraid of failure because failure alone doesn't teach. You gotta get up. You gotta keep moving forward. You have to learn from that failure." Felicia learned a lot on her journey as a Black female founder. Along her journey, she admitted that she had her blinders because she was incredibly focused on her journey. "Nobody is going to knock me off of my journey of where I'm supposed to go. But you have to have the right people around you––I love that we're all coming together now. I love it. It's all about being intentional. When you do things together, nobody can really stop you," said Felicia.
Was Felicia prepared for this exponential growth? "You gotta stay ready," she said. Felicia is a team of one, sometimes two. Her why keeps her going, and she ensures that she fulfills every order that comes through. As a founder, she believes that you have to have thick skin and grow, and you strengthen your resilience with each step of the way.
What would you like corporations to know about Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs?
"I would tell the companies who are reluctant to invest in Black women founders or minority founders in general to try something different, they don't want to take risks, but they're not really taking a risk. We had to make do with very little for so long and grow. There are some amazing stories out here, especially Black women businesses...we're out here, and we're successful. Look at the numbers; look at the statistics. You have to take risks. Entrepreneurship is me. Entrepreneurship is you. It's not one-sided. There has to be a change, and the change has to come right now, not later," shared an emotionally charged Felicia.
What's next for The CPR Wrap?
"People laugh when I say this, but world domination. I see The CPR Wrap everywhere, not just in the U.S. but globally," laughed Felicia. She is currently focused on a school safety initiative, where she wants to see a CPR Wrap in every classroom. Even if schools continue to be virtual, she's ready to pivot at any given moment. Felicia's goal is to have The CPR Wrap in every home where everyone is equipped to save lives.
Felicia hopes that women founders focus on their health as the Black Lives Matter movement is stressful. And regardless of your company's KPIs, it's also crucial to look at the KPI of your health. "Your business can't run without you being healthy," said Felicia.
During the Black Lives Matter movement, many businesses saw an uptick in their sales as more and more people focused on supporting Black-owned businesses. We hope that you continue to support founders like Felicia, who are social change agents in their communities.