- Tell us about yourself?
I am a self-taught traditional and digital graphic artist and illustrator. I have been drawing since Kindergarten. I specialize in water color painting and vector art. I am mostly an illustrator, but at my former day job I did graphic design. And I’m the happy grandma of three grandchildren.
- What inspired you to create Good Hair Cards?
I’m a big fan of Bella Pillar and Inslee fashion greeting cards. So when I retired from the investment banking world, I decided to create a greeting card line celebrating the creative hairstyles of Black women.
- How long have you been in business?
I used to create illustrations for Black hair stylists in the 80s and 90s. I created Good Hair Cards in 2013.
- Do you have a storefront?
My webstore is goodhaircards.com, and my cards will be in retail stores nationwide this fall.
- What advice do you have for someone who wants to open their own business?
First, create your own unique product.
Consider your own particular talents and skills and how you can market them to the public. Do your own market research and don’t fall for the “you can be rich” schemes one finds on the internet. It still takes lots of time and work hard to create a profitable business.
Second, you need a business plan.
A business plan is a road map that will tell you whether or not your product is marketable. You will waste a lot of money assuming a product will sell when in fact it won’t.
I knew my illustrations had market potential because Black hairstylists and their customers loved my images.
So when I created Good Hair Cards, I went to vending events around the country to test my idea. I know a lot of Black vendors who were selling Afro-centric t-shirts and earrings, but they weren’t earning enough to make living much less scale up their businesses. I wanted to create a business that could go International, but I had to test the market. I was pleasantly surprised at the great reception the Good Hair Cards received.
Third, research your idea and don’t be a copycat.
I was selling my 2016 calendar at the Harlem Book Fair. I had about fifteen women surrounding my table buying the calendar. A woman said, “Now I know I can do the same thing.”
I laughed. While this woman may be talented, this woman obviously did not know how much work or money went into creating the crowd who was buying my calendars. I didn’t get these customers overnight and there were plenty of days when I didn’t have any customers at my table. Ha!
Don’t create a business simply because someone else is doing it. Even if you do the exact same thing, why would customers buy from you and not the more established business? You must do the hard work of researching your product before you do the hard work of producing it. Don’t waste time and money imitating someone.
Fourth, businesses like babies grow over time.
Growing a business is much like raising a child. I know three people who created greeting card lines only to give up after a year or so because a fledging greeting card line is not a big money maker. I preserved because I knew the business and my mentors told me that I would sell more cards in retail stores than online or at fairs. When I created my greeting cards, getting them into the retail market was the end goal.
Lastly, the power of broke works.
There is a lot of free information online about creating a business. Please check it out. Read inspirational stories, but please avoid get rich internet hustlers who claim they can show you how to make six figures if you take their expensive seminars. Get the best information possible for FREE. Find mentors and fellowship with those with a positive mindset. You can do it. Cheers.