Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Priscilla's daughters were the inspiration behind Cozy N Cute Kids. Her daughters were obsessed with fashion. They constantly change their outfits. However, media representations of the children modeling those clothes were mostly White with blond hair and blue eyes. Or if the children were Black, they were Bi-racial. Priscilla didn't see children that looked like her children in those media outlets.
She shared, "I have two brown daughters with kinky hair, and I want them to feel confident in their beauty and really identify their features as beautiful as opposed to what's on the television, and what they're constantly being reinforced with."
Because of this, she realized the importance of having a healthy sense of image. "I knew I wanted to do something with clothing and just really emphasize Black kids on my social media. They need to see themselves and feel beautiful and know that their skin, their hair, everything about them is beautiful."
As a mom, Priscilla also understood that kids quickly dirty clothes, so she wanted to create something cute and stylish while not having to be concerned about getting them dirty. Cozy N Cute Kids has all of those elements.
What are you most proud of when it comes to Cozy N Cute Kids?
Despite entrepreneurship being a new industry and way of life for her, she's incredibly proud of the growth of the business in such a short time. Priscilla has never managed an eCommerce business. Much of her revenue comes from word of mouth and social media. She hasn't had to use any paid advertising to gain customers.
Priscilla shared, "I don't come from this arena. And I'm kind of just learning as I go. So I'm just super proud of all of the progress, like the failures getting back up, going again." Starting a business during the height of the pandemic was risky, but she had time to reevaluate her life and ask herself if what she was doing was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
She said, "I feel at this point, it's like I have nothing to lose. I had a lot of time just to think, be in my thoughts, and figure out what I was doing. Is this really what where my heart's at? Like, is this what I want to do forever? No. But yeah, I think COVID allowed me the time just to think. Just gain some clarity and a vision and like more of a sense of purpose. 'Cause I'm working all over the place, I'm traveling all day, every day, you know, organizing other people's chaos for them. It's like you kinda lose sight of yourself and what your purpose is."
What were some of your biggest fears along your journey?
Navigating the newness of things has been scary for her. However, Priscilla doesn't fear failure even though everything has been scary along the way. She has faith that she'll figure out a way to fix things with every loss that happens and keep trying until she does. She said, "I'm not afraid of failing because whatever if I fail, I'm just gonna try again. I'm just gonna figure it out."
Tell us about any significant setbacks that you had in your business and how you recovered?
Priscilla hasn't had any significant setbacks. However, the world of wholesaling and dropshipping was a huge learning curve. She's learned to navigate how to work with various suppliers from all over the world. Because of this reliance on the suppliers, everything has been out of her control. For example, how fast they process orders or mistakes in the shipping times. As a formal social worker, Priscilla understands how to work with people who might be unhappy or have difficult personalities.
She said, "I don't know, just navigating everything—it's like, I don't really have much guidance. I use a lot of the internet. I'm coming across different networks, like Black Girl Ventures—and in the summer, I did the Start cohort with Digital Undivided. I'm just figuring it out, and I'm just going to keep trying to figure it out because it has to work. There's no going back."
Describe what it was like preparing for the pitch competition?
Priscilla recalls how helpful it was to be a part of Digital Undivided. It taught her how to articulate her business, how to pitch, and what a pitch was. For her, learning the language and understanding more of her business model became her advantage. She shared, "The hardest thing about pitching is, you know, in your head, what you're doing, what you're thinking, but being able to communicate it to other people so that they can understand, that's hard."
The pitch experience helped her refine her 60-second elevator pitch and dissect the most important message to share with people in three minutes. Priscilla practiced a lot with her family and friends to ensure that other people understood her messaging. What also helped was receiving strategic feedback. She shared, "During the Black Girl Ventures pitch practice, we had the PayPal people on, so it was really good getting just a bunch of different feedback from all these different people."
Learning more about how to crowdfund became an essential component of her experience. She said, "Well, Black Girl Ventures really makes sure you get crowdfunding down. There's a lot of good tools on the internet for crowdfunding. And don't be afraid to ask people to help and to support you." As an introvert, crowdfunding was difficult for her, but it boiled down to numbers. Priscilla said, "I sent the same message to probably like 800 people, and you'll be shocked at who supports you and who ignores the messages."
Her advice to those looking to pitch is to go for it. If your pitch isn't great the first time, be open to receiving the feedback you need to refine your pitch. Listen to other people's pitches because this helps. You'll understand where people are in various parts of the entrepreneurship journey and their different business models.
Priscilla said, "Always be a student. Just because it's like, it's so much information. Even the two-hour pitch practices, was so much information, just like listening to feedback from your own pitch and other people's pitches—it's just so much. But it's really helpful in fine-tuning your business model and your vision for what you want to do and what people are looking for."
Priscilla used her pitch funds to outsource her marketing and purchase her products wholesale to increase her profit margins. Lastly, she hired a lawyer to help with the legal side of her business.
Support isn't always given to Black and Brown women in business; when has this shown and hurt or disappointed you the most?
Priscilla shared her experiences with family members who don't believe she has a legitimate business. "I feel like family members don't really think you have a business. Like, oh, are you still doing that little thing or that little side? No, it's not a little thing. That little thing made like $2,000 last week.
So it's not that little of a thing, you know, it's just like comments like that. 'Cause people don't get it. And I think it's hard for most people that haven't ever worked for themselves. Or haven't been an entrepreneur to conceptualize entrepreneurship or working for yourself or doing your own thing, because they're so used to—they're conditioned to be workers."
Being an entrepreneur can feel isolating when people don't understand what you do, how you do it, or how you get things done. People don't always understand the tradeoff you make between what appears to be a stable income versus income that fluctuates.
Priscilla said, "I think that's the hardest thing is not to analyze or take people's comments to heart. It's just they don't know what you're doing. They can say whatever they want. They can think whatever they want. You know what you're doing. You know what your purpose is, and you know you're doing it, and you're going to keep doing it."
What is the most critical lesson that you've learned in business so far?
The biggest lesson that Priscilla continues to walk away with is that you are going to make mistakes. The sooner you can accept failure as part of the journey, the further you will be. She said, "You're going to screw up. I think that's the biggest thing to accept failure. But it's learning every time you fail; anytime you screw something up, you're just gonna learn from it. So just accept the fact that you're not going to be perfect." When you hold on to your mistakes for far too long, it holds you back. The beautiful aspect of entrepreneurship is that you can always pivot from mistakes and change things on the fly, especially when you're a solo founder without board members to answer to.
How do you measure success?
Priscilla uses milestones and has goals for her business. However, she never falls into complacency because the goals shift, and they grow once achieved. That's not how she measures success.
Priscilla said, "I think just going. If I'm going to keep going, that's success to me. Like the fact that I'm not quitting is success and that I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep learning, and I'm going to keep figuring out—maneuvering how to make this work. That's success."
What's the biggest risk that you've taken so far?
Quitting her job has been the most significant risk. Priscilla was in a leadership position that paid well, so walking away from a steady paycheck was scary.
What's the most exciting part of your business?
Every part of Priscilla's business journey has been exciting. From finding new products to building relationships with vendors and experiencing opportunities with Black Girl Ventures—it all has been exhilarating. She never thought when she started her business that she would in a few months enter a pitch competition. Priscilla said, "That's absolutely crazy. It's all been exciting. There are so many opportunities that have just come to me now. I don't know like my eyes are open to all these different things. I applied for this. I applied for that. But it's just crazy how the doors are just opening up, and it's all amazing."
What do you think is an important skill or asset that you need to have to succeed in business?
Priscilla said, "I would say to accept failure and to be open, to learn. I feel like some people. They don't want to learn. Like they think they're the expert at what they're doing. You can be an expert but still, learn new things. Just really being open to learning and feedback. And feedback doesn't mean that you change everything you're doing based on what one person says, but just be open to seeing other people's perspectives and how you can incorporate or change things within your business."
If you and I were meeting three years from now, looking back, what would it take for you to feel over the moon about your progress?
Priscilla hopes to still be in her business. She's had exponential growth, and she's excited to see where Cozy N Cute Kids will be in the future. She said, "Just seeing the growth that I've had and just all of the different things that I'm learning. All the different opportunities, networks, people that I'm building relationships with— if I'm doing it still, which I know I will be. That is success. That's going to be the best thing because I just know with time, it's just gonna come more knowledge, more opportunities. And just more areas for growth."
What do you think the future holds for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs and small business owners?
Priscilla shared, "The future is in our hands. You know, Black women, we're strong. We persevere, and we're resilient. We can do anything we want to do. And I think we have to do more for ourselves. We do a lot for other people. And I think we just have to focus more on doing things for ourselves and literally like the world is in our hands. We can do whatever it is that we want to do. So I think it's bright for Black women entrepreneurs. I think the future is bright, and there's no better time than now."
Running a business while balancing a personal life can be demanding and taxing. How do you take care of yourself?
Priscilla loves to cook. It's therapeutic for her. Because she has small children, she'll usually go to bed later and wake up earlier to have some quiet time. To focus on the direction of her life, Priscilla will write her goals on paper.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
I can make a lemon meringue pie out of a lemon.
What books and podcasts would you recommend?
Priscilla reads lectures by Marcus Garvey, Amos Wilson and recommends The Miseducation of the Negro.
What's your favorite business hack or app that you can't live without?
Hootsuite and anything that automates social media posts.
Name one food item that you have a hard time saying no to.
Pies. She makes everything from scratch.
What's next for Cozy N Cute Kids?
Priscilla plans to hire a marketing agency to help with brand exposure and growth. She will have more branded customized packages for her customers.