Nobody clap backs as quick and clever as a black mom. For all our years, we’ve been both embarrassed and impressed by the comebacks from our moms and other black moms. We owe them for keeping us in-line and entertained.
But as Tupac said, “And there’s no way I can pay you back but my plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated.”
Raven Barrett, owner of Cocoiv has made it her business to “pay homage to every black mom one tee at a time”.
Keeping reading to find out more about the brand that those parenting while black will love.
Who is Raven Barrett?
I am a soon to be 29 year old Cancer that loves J Cole, Jesus, and my tiger stripes.
When did you start Cocoiv and where did the idea of the name originate from?
On paper, I began my business on February 28th of this year, but the idea came about last summer. As far as where Cocoiv originated from, the “coco” represents the beautiful shades of black women, and the “iv” represents my daughter. I know a lot of people get confused with the pronunciation but it is pronounced “ko·ko i·vy” but the “iv” means four.
I’m into numerology and the number four is a life-affirming number and a lesson you must learn in order to move forward in life. My daughter is the fourth generation, born in April, (the fourth month) at 8:22 (8-2-2=4) and she’s my hustle behind what I do.
What inspired you to create a brand dedicated to paying homage to black moms?
Good ol’ life happened. I was laid off literally the day after I found out the sex of my child.
At that time, I was beyond stressed about my future, my abilities to be a good mother, and how I was going to financially provide for an offspring.
Having always had a passion for fashion and helping mothers, I wanted a brand that reflected the very women who raised me, the ones who encouraged me throughout my pregnancy, and a brand that reflected my next stage in life; motherhood as a black woman.
How do you balance motherhood and running your own business?
As someone put it to me before, you don’t ever really figure out a balance to motherhood and running a business, you figure out a harmony between the two.
Do you ever feel that being a mom causes you to drop the ball in your business or vice versa?
Absolutely! Some day’s mom guilt kicks in from being sleep deprived from working late the night before and I don’t have the energy to dance around to baby shark. Other days, the little one and I will be at the park or visiting Grandma and I’ll ignore my alarm to answer a pending email. All I can say is that I am still learning what works best for us.
How important is it to stay loyal to your concept and not stray away to follow trends?
That’s extremely important to me. I know what my brand is about and I would be doing my audience and myself and injustice to steer away from the message I want to bring to them. I’ve also come to the realization that not everyone will understand or even agree with Cocoiv, and that’s okay. I won’t conform to make others comfortable.
What steps did you take to market your brand?
Social media has definitely been my number one marketing contributor. I have joined numerous relevant communities (shameless plug- The Tee Class and BBOC) that have offered me great insight and have allowed me to build relationships and collaborate with other brands.
What were some of the challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
The main challenged that I faced was just starting my business. It took a good six months after the idea had been lingering in my head daily to finally just start. I was too wrapped up on wanting everything to be perfect, the “what ifs”, and people’s opinion of me not going the traditional 9-5 route with a new born. After God sent me every single sign that I could have prayed for, I finally just took the leap, and here I am.
What are the top five important lessons that you learned throughout your journey to entrepreneurship?
1. You NEED a monthly marketing budget
2. Jesus had the disciples, Beyoncé had Destiny’s Child. We all need a team.
3. Network, network, network.
4. The sacrifice isn’t for the faint of heart
5. Consistency is key
What advice would you give to someone looking to introduce their own line of t-shirts?
I would say to stay true to what’s important to you and don’t get scared by the big fish. I promise your audience is still out there.
What can we expect from your brand? What’s next for Cocoiv?
I definitely have some things in store for next year, but you have to keep following to find out! I believe in speaking things into existence so you all can catch the team and I vending at Essence festival 2021.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?