Priscilla Wesson — entrepreneur, self confessed online shopaholic, full-time mother of two lovely daughters and wife — is the brilliant mind behind children’s online clothing store Cozy N Cute Boutique. Where the coronavirus pandemic has sent so many into a tailspin and left a lot of businesses floundering, Wesson launched her business despite COVID-19 placing a halt on most business ventures. Here she speaks on the inspiration behind her business, how she has been able to balance her different roles and the importance of buying Black.
What inspired you to start Cozy N Cute Boutique? Was an online business a long-term goal of yours?
My daughters Jade and Iris, have a love for clothing. Jade makes several wardrobe changes per day! I knew that I wanted to start some type of business and when I came across different ideas that can be done with e-commerce, I knew children’s clothing would be a perfect fit.
Why did you choose online shopping?
Let’s face it, with the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew people would be shifting to online shopping, and with how things are going, I think people will be permanently changing some of their shopping needs to online to avoid crowds. I have been a big online shopper since having children. It’s quick, simple and a lot less hectic than trying to navigate crowded retail stores with strollers and toddlers that like to grab things.
Has running your business been made harder or easier by the Coronavirus pandemic?
It’s definitely easier! The pandemic has given me a chance to slow down, focus, and start executing things that I’ve been thinking about for years. I feel that it was the perfect time to launch and with retail stores being closed, business has been great.
Do you have business education in your background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a masters degree in human services leadership and management. Not quite business at all! I really spend a lot of time doing online courses and watching YouTube videos trying to learn the ins and outs of e-commerce and running a business.
How has it been balancing entrepreneurship and your parental duties?
I wake up before the children get up and I stay up until sometimes 2 a.m. working on my business. It’s definitely challenging at times, but I stay focused by keeping the big picture in mind. I know this is going to benefit them. Modeling entrepreneurship for them is going to open up their world in ways I wish I had growing up.
With the current social uprising and conscious effort for the Black community to buy from and support Black businesses, have you seen an increase in sales?
Yes, I’m listed on several Black business directories including Shades of Long Island! I get several sales each week from those business directories. I’ve been receiving emails from customers excited to be supporting Black business.
What implications do you think this has on the Black community moving forward?
I hope this becomes a lifestyle for the Black community and not a trend that fades away. The Black community has such large buying power and yet we don’t circulate that money within our communities. Everything we use on a daily basis can be bought at Black-owned businesses (toiletries, clothing, food, cosmetics, etc.).
The Black community making a conscious effort to buy Black is going to bring about amazing opportunities for the entire community. When you support Black business, you support Black families and you’re supporting Black children.
As a Black woman, you are part of a growing demographic of entrepreneurs. What is some advice you would give to young Black women pursuing the entrepreneurial route?
I think living in a world where we are conditioned to believe that we are not the image of success, sometimes we doubt our capabilities or let others portray their negative thoughts onto us. Don’t let your self talk or the thoughts that others have for you stop you from achieving your goals. Set your goals, take the steps and shoot for the stars! Be your biggest cheerleader. Be your biggest believer.