born to roam

Born to Roam: A Vision for Inclusive Headwear

Jennifer Sinigal-Cornelius is the founder of Born to Roam, a Los Angeles-based headwear brand that offers stylish and comfortable hats for women of color, catering to their diverse hair types.

In this interview, Jennifer discusses the inspiration behind the brand, the challenges of managing her business alongside a 9-to-5 job, her creative process, and her plans for Born to Roam.

born to roam
Jennifer Sinigal-Cornelius

What inspired you to start your business? 

Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey fueled by personal experience, I recognized a niche market need: hats that accommodate the unique styles and volumes of hair that are common among women of color like myself.

Frustrated by the lack of options for those of us with braids, twists, or weaves, I created a line of hats that are as stylish as they are comfortable. These hats are not just headwear; they are a celebration of diversity, offering a fashionable and comfortable solution that embraces our individuality and heritage.

How do you navigate the time commitment and energy required for both a 9-to-5 job and building your own business?

Balancing a 9-to-5 job in sales with my entrepreneurial venture, I leverage the discipline and skills honed over 20+ years in sales to manage my time and energy efficiently. By day, I’m committed to excelling in my sales role, focusing on achieving targets and delivering exceptional service.

Post-work, I channel my energy and passion into my business, applying my sales expertise to drive its success. This dual commitment demands strategic time management and a deep dedication to both roles, allowing me to thrive in both arenas.

born to roam

What thought process goes into sourcing and selecting new hat designs that fit Born to Roam’s vision and target market?

In the creative journey of bringing new hat designs to Born to Roam, my process is deeply personal and intricately connected to the brand’s ethos and our audience’s needs. At the heart of my design philosophy is a blend of practicality and personal passion. Each hat is crafted with a keen focus on protecting the hair and scalp while ensuring a fit that embraces all sizes, reflecting our commitment to inclusivity.

My affection for vintage aesthetics plays a pivotal role in shaping the designs. This love influences every decision, from selecting materials that stand out for their timeless appeal to integrating features that echo a bygone era’s charm. Whether it’s through unique patterns, unconventional silhouettes, or imaginative details, the essence of vintage is always present, serving as a bridge between past elegance and contemporary style.

Furthermore, staying attuned to current trends is crucial, so integrating the Pantone colors of the year into our designs ensures relevance and vibrancy. This thoughtful blend of functionality, vintage inspiration, and trend awareness is what shapes our selection process, ensuring that each hat not only fits Born to Roam’s vision but also resonates with our discerning target market.

If you could give some advice to your younger entrepreneurial self, what would it be? 

If I could sit down with my younger entrepreneurial self, I’d share heartfelt advice rooted in my own journey. First and foremost, I’d emphasize the importance of trusting your instincts, which, for me, is akin to a divine compass guiding my path. It’s crucial to absorb wisdom from others, but equally vital to believe in your own insights and choices, as they are reflections of your unique journey and inner truth.

I’d stress the significance of embracing every step of this unpredictable entrepreneurial voyage, with its highs and lows, knowing that each experience is a building block for your character and business acumen. Holding gratitude close to your heart is another key piece of advice I’d impart. A grateful mindset isn’t just about positivity; it’s a source of strength and perspective that can transform challenges into opportunities for growth.

Investing in yourself is another critical piece of advice. It’s not just about financial investments; it’s about enriching your knowledge, skills, and personal growth. This self-investment lays the foundation for success and fulfillment in both your personal and professional life.

And speaking of finances, I’d underscore the importance of being prudent and strategic with your money. Saving diligently and making wise investments are practices that safeguard your future, allowing you the freedom to pursue your dreams with confidence and security.

born to roam

What are your plans for your brand? 

Looking ahead, I have a clear vision for evolving Born To Roam into a brand that transcends its current offerings. My multi-faceted strategy focuses on broadening our reach, securing robust financial backing, and deepening our brand’s connection with our audience.

Firstly, expanding our retail footprint is paramount. I aim to forge partnerships with retailers who share our ethos, creating avenues to introduce our products to a broader audience both in the U.S. and overseas. These strategic alignments will be pivotal in making Born To Roam accessible to a wider demographic, enhancing our market presence.

Securing funding is another critical objective. I’m exploring various financing avenues, from engaging angel investors and tapping into venture capital to leveraging crowdfunding platforms. These financial strategies are crucial for scaling our operations and fueling our growth initiatives, ensuring we have the resources to realize our ambitions.

Lastly, my vision extends beyond hats; I envision Born To Roam as a lifestyle brand that resonates deeply with our audience’s values, aspirations, and experiences. This transition is about creating an ecosystem of products and experiences that reflect and enhance our customers’ lifestyles, cementing our brand’s position in their lives.

With a blend of passion, dedication, and strategic planning, I’m committed to steering Born To Roam toward a future where it stands as a beacon of inspiration and a testament to the power of dreaming big and acting boldly.

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