Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jillian Apgar, Founder and CEO of Coco Beans, located in Columbus, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Coco Beans is a luxury textile brand that transforms bedtime into peaceful magic and mornings into a tangle-free zone. We source the world's softest, most luxurious fabrics to create 'icky-free' bedding and sleepwear. A favorite of pediatricians, dermatologists, and celebrities, our products are hypoallergenic, temperature regulating, breathable, machine-washable, moisture-wicking, and hydrating. Our best-selling 100% silk crib sheets have been featured in top publications, including US Weekly, Business Insider, and Scary Mommy, and our product assortment is growing to offer a full suite of luxury sleep essentials.
As a Latina and female/mother-owned company, we aim to fill a much-needed void in the children's, fashion, and home industries. We are the ONLY United States-based company focusing on providing silk bedding for babies and children! We believe that families can focus on creating memories with their little beans by creating products that eliminate some of the stress that comes with bedtime.
Tell us about yourself
Titled after my daughter's nickname, Coco Beans started solving a problem. My daughter Cora is biracial with beautiful, thick curly hair that kept greeting the morning with tangles I struggled to manage. As a transracial adoptive mom, teaching Cora to love and celebrate her natural hair was super important, and I needed to find a solution. Once Cora started sleeping on the first Coco Beans 100% silk crib sheet prototype, I knew we had something special. The results for her hair were near immediate. Mornings that were once combing battles were transformed into a stress-free zone as she began to wake up with fewer tangles. But the benefits exceeded beyond her hair. Her dry skin started to improve, and she even started sleeping better.
While motherly instinct led me to discover the magic of silk, it was my industry knowledge that brought Coco Beans to life. With over a decade of experience in merchandising at some of the world's most recognizable brands, I have become an expert at transforming a concept from an idea into a reality for companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Victoria's Secret, DSW, Limited Stores and more. Those experiences equipped me with the skills to not only envision Coco Beans but also make it a successful product that many families now rely on and love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is such a tough question. I am proud of the national recognition Coco Beans has received, but perhaps the most meaningful rewards are the messages I get from parents when they start using coco beans products. There are few things that make me feel better than when a parent tells me our sheets helped get a little one's eczema under control or that sleeping on our pillowcases improved the morning routine for a little one with curly hair! Those are the moments that motivate me to continue moving forward.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many challenges with business ownership. For me, the biggest challenge is managing the extreme rollercoaster of emotions. Within a 24-hour period, it's not uncommon to feel like you scored a game-changing victory in the morning only to be presented with a crushing setback in the afternoon. It's important to take it all in stride.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- JUST START. You are never going to feel fully prepared, but don't wait. The lessons learned once you dive in are critical in the long run.
- FIND A PEER NETWORK. Starting your own business can be lonely. I have a group of peers that started businesses around the same time, and we lean on each other to talk through new ideas, share insights, and sometimes just vent!
- ASK FOR HELP. It takes a village to build something that endures. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you don't know the answer. I promise you won't regret it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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