A significant part of Black Moms Blog is to highlight African American women who are homemakers, homeschoolers, entrepreneurs, and hard workers. It seems that we can be looked over in the media world. When the concept of my blog came into play, I googled different phrases like, Top 50 Mom Blogs To Follow (oh yes, I clicked through all 50 on the list) or Best Blogs Of 2015and you know what I found?
There were not any Black mothers or people on those blog lists.
So when I decided to launch Black Moms Blog, I dedicated a portion of this blog to uplifting Black women being amazing mothers while taking care of business.
One of the first moms I came across was Shantae Pelt, creator of Coco’Pie Clothing and I fell in love with her story and her clothing line. I stayed on her website for hours looking at her apparel and when I finally decided to reach out to her, I was so delighted when she agreed to be my first interview for Black Moms Blog: Meet Our Moms section.
Shantae Pelt, Coco’Pie Clothing
Black Moms Blog: Hi Shantae! I just want to start by saying thank for being my first interview for Black Moms Blog. Can you tell us about Coco’Pie Clothing and what inspired your apparel line?
Shantae Pelt: I would like to first say thank you for reaching out to me, I genuinely appreciate the opportunity. Coco’Pie Clothing is a vibrant new t-shirt line I started that features culture rich design, slogans and imagery reflective of the beauty within ethnicity. My two brilliant brown girls, (my Coco’Pies) were indeed the inspiration behind it. It all started with my oldest daughter. She was about 3 at the time. We visited a store and she spotted a t-shirt with a brown girl on it and was absolutely convinced that it was her. So of course I purchased it. She wore this shirt to no end. I went back to see if they had more and was told it was “seasonal” and most likely would not be back. I searched high and low and realized how underrepresented our girls were in apparel. So I decided I would create something myself, for my baby girl, and all little brown girls alike.
BMB: I am sure you were excited about the idea of starting your own business. Who were some of the first people you told and what was their reaction?
SP: The first person I told was actually my mother. I told her exactly what I wanted to do, and why I felt I needed to do it. She was very amazed and proud . I mentioned it to very few friends almost a year later. Seems odd right ? I I knew it was a wonderful idea and just did not want to be discouraged.
So I guarded my joy in a sense and worked on it privately until I knew exactly the direction I would go in.
I’m grateful that I did so, because it kept me focused and motivated. The idea was also met with great reception by friends afterwards although I do not think many believed it would actually come to fruition.
BMB: Did you find adversity from those who did not understand why you would start a company for such a niche market?
SP: I honestly have yet to experience to much adversity. Although I do notice the curious stares and unwavering glances from others when we wear our t-shirts in public. If I am honest, I absolutely love it, haha. I will say that there seems to be a small discomfort for some around my characters’ skin tone. I did not specifically set out to make the girls a specific skin tone. They are designed in my girls image and my girls are Coco’Pies.
Yet colorism still plagues many communities so I anticipated a bit of that.
My goal is also to help combat that with my t-shirts.
BMB: Your daughters are absolutely beautiful by the way! What are their thoughts on their mother being such an inspiration?
SP: Thanks so much ! I appreciate that. My daughters just think it is cool. The shirts are both named after my girls, Mikayla and Kennedy. They absolutely love that little girls all over are wearing shirts i initially created for them. Sometimes my little one, Kennedy, gets jealous and asks me to stop sending Coco to everyone lol. My oldest, Mikayla, is quite the little celebrity at school. I think she enjoys being asked so many questions about Coco’Pie. Yet they often tell me “Good Job Mommy” which is the best feeling in the world. Kennedy recently swapped out her beloved Ninja Turtle shirt for her Kennedy Coco’Pie Tee. So i’m indeed feeling awesome.
BMB: What is the biggest lesson that you want to pass to your daughters in creating Coco’Pie Clothing?
SP: Hmmm let’s see. There are so many things. Yet I suppose if i had to say what immediately comes to mind it would be not to wait on anyone to celebrate you. To take matters into your own hands.
To realize that as a black woman, yet currently little black girls, they are born equipped with all the resilience they will ever need. I often tell my girls God gave them a divine essence that only they can embody. Yet, that it is their duty to be great and find what it is God has placed in them to do. To go out into the world and create what you want to see, to interrupt and dismantle whatever does not reflect that essence.
Lastly to do that unapologetically. I just want them to be their true authentic selves and help others do so proudly.
BMB: What advice would you give the Black mom reading this who is considering starting her own business?
SP: To just do it ! Start exactly where you are . Regardless of where you are. There are so many resources available now to assist us in starting a business. The internet has such a wealth of information and the best part is its all free. No matter how much money or education you have you can start. Remember, you are already equipped with all the resilience you need. There is nothing you can not do. To also not be so hard on yourself. We are constantly evolving. I work full time, run my business and my daughters also have a business. I have had my share of difficult days. I do not always get everything done, yet I keep going.
Surround yourself with like minded women who will support you both personally and professionally. Learn what you can, yet develop a plan of action and stick to it.
Start by writing down your goals, and post them somehwhere you can see them every single day. You can do it ! I believe in you ! Slow progress is always better than no progress. Start today, not tomorrow…but today.
BMB: Tell everyone where they can find you and pick up some lovely Coco’Pie Clothing.
SP: We are Coco’Pie Clothing on all social media platforms. That’s consistent everywhere. Coco’Pie Clothing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Tumblr and of course our website www.cocopieclothing.com