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9 mins read

This Black Owned Coloring Book Series Was Created To Inspire and Relieve Stress

Today is National Coloring Book day! This is the perfect day to support a Black owned coloring book business that celebrates Black women and girls!

Entrepreneurs Color Too creates adult coloring books to help creatives and entrepreneurs practice self care. Each book is filled with 24 inspiring illustrations that celebrate the beauty of black women and they are the perfect way to de-stress, relax, and get motivated.

We caught up with founder, Latoya Nicole to find out more about her and her business.

black owned coloring book
Latoya Nicole

What inspired you to start your business?

I was at work a while back and it was a really busy season and we were all frustrated and overwhelmed with the workload. Some of the managers wanted to try and make things better so they were doing “stress relieving” things like providing free coffee, massages and they also brought each of us coloring books to help “take the load off.”

black owned coloring book

To be honest, when I first saw the coloring book I was thinking “What am I gonna do with this?” because I hadn’t used a coloring book since I was a child. But one day I had become frustrated to the max and jokingly said to the guy beside me, “Pass me one of those colored pencils!” Once I started coloring, I noticed that I started feeling calmer!

But, I thought nothing else of it until years later and I was browsing the internet trying to figure out great ideas to put in place so that I could create passive income. I was browsing the internet and asking God what my next move should be when I heard “24 Shades of Business.”

When I hear certain things, especially after I ask, I don’t take them lightly because I’m a believer that I have always been given “witty inventions.” I quickly jotted down the title that I had heard and put it in my journal.

Later, I started putting pieces together and remembered how the coloring book from my job had really helped. I also remembered that the coloring book only had trees, mandalas, and birds for me to color but nothing that I could relate to. I started doing more research and found lots of coloring books but very few that looked like me on the cover.

So, I knew that I had to fill the diversity void and create books celebrating Black women. Now, my company Entrepreneurs Color Too has grown into a series of 5 coloring books aimed to help women relieve stress, practice self care, and release their creativity.

How do you decide what images to use in your coloring books?

I like to create a story with my coloring books. Each book tells a different story. For example, my HBCU coloring book tells the story of an HBCU experience including memories from the culture on the yard to the experiences in the classroom.

black owned coloring book

So, when I‘m creating a new book I start by brainstorming ideas to include everything I already know about the specific topic or niche. Then, I plan out all of the images and types of settings I will want to include.

Next, I take time to research and gather inspiration from little things including people that I see every day along with any trends that I may see that I want to incorporate into my vision.

After I finish jotting down sketches and/or creating all the types of images that I want to add in a particular book, I send my illustrator the list using stick figures, ink pen & pencil drawings as well as pictures that inspired me so that she can make the images come alive and look professional.

What differentiates your products from other coloring books out there?

My coloring books, largely for adults, are focused on black women, black concerns, and my creative vision as a black author who wanted to self-publish images that celebrate, uplift and inspire women and young girls like me, because representation matters.

I will never get tired of hearing words like “I’m 40 years old and this is the first time I have ever seen a coloring book with women that have my features and hairstyles”. It’s good to know that people feel included.

And, it’s so important not only for women but for children to understand the importance of diversity. That’s why I was intentional with the release of my most recent mommy and me coloring book because I wanted to be sure that young girls could also see positive reflections of themselves too.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

My vision is to continue to expand. I have a lot more books to publish and plan to add other unique and creative things to the brand as well, including a line of journals.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Even during this time, I’ve heard so many success stories, particularly from authors, about how their sales are growing because so many people are looking to support Black Owned Businesses now more than ever. The key is that they were not afraid to start and also not afraid to take calculated risks.

Remember that you are going to need a plan and some traffic in order to sell anything. To start, you should focus on creating something that solves a problem. Then, focus on ways that you will bring traffic to your website to sell that product. This could be from creating an email list to marketing with ads. Ultimately, you need more people to learn about what you do and to become a customer.

Look at what’s working for others. If you follow someone on social media that you like or admire, look at what they’re doing. Of course, do not copy their success, but follow the clues of their success. Whatever they’re doing is working for them and could also work for you.

After you have done your own research, which is extremely important, don’t be afraid to reach out to others who have been successful and done what you want to do. It’s ok to “slide in those DM’s” or email people for advice or even set up a consultation with them. I even offer consultation services and courses at iamlatoyanicole.com teaching others how to start and market their online businesses.

 

-Tony O. Lawson


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5 mins read

Black Owned Greeting Card Company Wants us to Stay Connected During a Pandemic and After

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected with the ones we care about. Culture Greetings, a Black Owned greeting card company is offering a catalog of over 1,500 greeting cards, with imagery featuring Black people.

Founded in 2018 by Atlanta based business psychologist and tech entrepreneur, Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, the platform allows its users to choose a greeting card, write a personal note using handwriting fonts that mirror real penmanship, and click “send,” which cues the state-of-the-art printing press.

black owned greeting card compnay
Dr.Dionne Mahaffey, Founder of Culture Greetings

The company then prints and mails the greeting card directly to the recipient the following business day, saving customers a trip to the store!

The website offers a tutorial of the entire process. In addition to greeting cards, the company offers gift cards from Amazon, Home Depot, iTunes, and several other brands that can be included in the mailing.

Black Owned Greeting Card

 

What inspired you to create Culture Greetings?

It has always been a natural gesture for me to send a greeting card to someone for almost any occasion. Perhaps a colleague hit a milestone mark in business, or a friend experienced a loss, or perhaps it’s just Tuesday and I want to show someone dear to me that I’m thinking of them by sending a greeting card in the mail.

Black Owned Greeting Card

I mail hundreds per year and decided in 2018 to leverage my software development acumen to create Culture Greetings as a way for customers to still use the classic touch of traditional mail with innovative technology to simply the process. And of course, to address the dearth of Black greeting cards in stores.

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected your business?

I’ve actually seen a spike in business because greeting cards are an important utility used to send encouragement when we feel prompted.

A lot of people are reflecting on what’s important right now and feel inspired to go beyond a social media post or text message by sending a real greeting card in the mail. Our African American greeting cards can bridge the gap created by social distancing

How has it affected your lifestyle?

I am in constant prayer about the health and well-being of my family, friends and our community in general. I’m keeping busy and am laser focused on scaling and growing my business, while also finding ways to be of service to others during these uncertain times.


What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?

I recently partnered with Walgreens and will be integrating their photo printing technology with my platform. This will give customers the option of picking up the greeting card from a Walgreens or Duane Reade store, of which there are 8000 locations across the country.

This feature is perfect for those occasions when you want to have the greeting card in hand to give to the recipient in person. I will also be launching both iOS and Android mobile apps in the near future. Flower delivery is also on my product development roadmap.

If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?

I’d like to encourage everyone to reach out to their loved ones by sending them a greeting card. Not only should we connect with those we love, we can also send cards to elders in senior citizens homes, youth in group homes, children hospitalized due to chronic conditions and healthcare workers, first responders and delivery staff.

While, this pandemic has stopped us from being social in person, the Postal Service is still hard at work, and our staff is taking every safety precaution to get your cards in the mail.

 

1 min read

Black Owned Stationery Businesses You Should Know

Although it seems that nowadays, most communication is done via technology, there’s still a large number of people that have a preference for dope stationery that can be used for work, school, and special events.

Check out these Black owned stationery businesses if you’re tryna get that paper.

Black Owned Stationery Businesses

Entrepreneurs Color Too

Prnt’d

Bliss & Faith

Coco’s Vision

 

JD& Brooklyn

Keynote Stationery

Maker’s Ave

Mariposa Studios

MJ & Hope

Naomi Love Designs

Oh So Paper Co.

Page Eleven Paper Goods

Pristine Paperie

QT Planner Co.

Scrapcraftastic

Black Owned Stationery Businesses

Shays Budget Shop

Simply Me Kish

Tawana Simone

The DynaSmiles by DNT

The Jewel Box

CRWND Illustrations

Goldmine & Coco (feature image)

Black Owned Stationery Businesses

 

-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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