Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheenee Cotton.
Hi Sheenee, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m the owner of Cotton Creations LLC. Cotton Creations is a lifestyle brand focused on healthier ways to live through vegan food and natural hair care products.
When I reflect on how I got to where I am today, there are many things that come to mind, but something that stands out the most is my entrepreneurial spirit. I started my first business when I was in middle school. Growing up in a low-income single parent household it brought out the entrepreneur in me. Over this particular summer break, I told my mother that I wanted to sell snowballs. My goal was to earn enough money so that I could purchase my own back to school supplies, clothes and maybe even have enough to cover a few expenses for my various extracurricular activities. This way, I was no longer taking from my mother’s income that she had to spread over several bills, including my brother’s school expenses.
I took my $100 child support check for that month and used it as capital to purchase all the supplies and products for my summer snowball business. After a lot of hard work in the hot sun and determination, I did it! I reached my goal – I made enough money to cover my school supplies and clothes.
This tenacity and focus has continued to motivate me throughout life. And my entrepreneurial fire has never stopped burning.
I became vegan over four years ago in my quest to begin a healthier lifestyle. After adopting the vegan lifestyle, I quickly realized there were many misconceptions and false beliefs surrounding a vegan diet such as “a vegan diet doesn’t have much protein,” “it’s hard to get full on a vegan diet” or “healthier food lacks flavor and doesn’t taste good.” This realization caused me to want to share and educate those around me about the benefits of a vegan diet and lifestyle as well as prove to them that these beliefs are just not true. I’ve always been savvy in the kitchen, so I first started sharing my vegan recipes on my Cotton Creations YouTube channel. After about two years, I decided I wanted to make a bigger impact so I created an in person experience known as the Cotton Creations Vegan Dining Experience which is a traveling plant-based dinner party. Due to covid restrictions and guidelines, I had to cancel most of the 2020 dates and decided to move forward with the mission and develop Cotton Creations vegan packaged products. The first is the Cotton Creations Vegan Honey Pecan Cornbread mix. It has the perfect balance of buttery and sweet and moist like cake. The kit includes everything you need, customers simply add two ingredients – plant-based butter and milk.
In addition to helping others live a more healthier lifestyle, I also enjoy helping others protect their natural hair from damaging products. I invented a hair accessory called the Ponytail Sleeve which is used to create extended ponytails without putting glue on your hair.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It would be great to say everything went smoothly, but that’s just not how life works. I believe there are many lessons to be learned and skills developed through challenges. I have experienced both internal and external challenges.
External challenges include unsuccessful attempts to secure capital funding, identifying reliable manufacturers to produce the products, and building credibility with customers and retailers. I was able to overcome most of these obstacles through perseverance, a lot of patience, and steadfast determination. I believed in myself and in my business. I knew it was only a matter of time before others did as well. I am still working to secure capital and funding to continue to grow the brand, but I know it’s only a matter of time.
With respect to internal challenges, there were times when I was discouraged and had to overcome feelings of self-doubt. I had self-doubt for a variety of reasons, mostly stemming from an adverse impact of the external challenges noted above. Sometimes it was from my inability to locate a manufacturer in the early stages of product development. Sometimes it was from the obstacles associated with securing a patent and trademark for my business. Sometimes it was from hurdles as a result of packaging and shipping concerns. But I am proud to say that no matter how tough things became or how many times I was told “no”, I never gave up.
We’ve been impressed with Cotton Creations LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Cotton Creations LLC is a lifestyle brand focused on healthier ways to live through vegan food and natural hair care products. Cotton Creations is known for creating innovative simple to use products. Cotton Creations has seen some great milestones within a relatively short amount of time. Getting Cotton Creations’ products into retail stores within the first year of bringing these products to market is certainly a milestone I am very proud of.
The Vegan Honey Pecan Cornbread mix is available through our direct website www.CottonCreationsllc.com as well as www.Walmart.com. It can also be purchased at both Uplift Us Marketplace locations in Granada Hills, CA and the Westfield Mall in Culver City, CA.
The Ponytail Sleeve is available through our direct website www.PonytailSleeve.com as well as nine Beauty Supply Stores including all KC-Kaysi Beauty Stores throughout Maryland, Halo Beauty Supply in Lynwood, IL, and The Girl Cave LA in Anaheim, CA.
Our customers love Cotton Creations’ products and they want more. We look forward to bringing the Cotton Creations Pancake & Waffle mix to market in 2022. We will be expanding the 2022 Vegan Dining Experience tour to 10 cities including Washington DC, Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, & more. Tour dates and tickets will be available February 2022.
We are in the final developmental stage for the next version of the Ponytail Sleeve and plan to bring it to market Q4 2021.
We are very excited about where Cotton Creations is headed!
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
1. Remember your purpose and your “why” because that is what’s going to get you through the tough times. There will for sure be tough times and growing pains in your business.
2. It’s okay to seek help. This is something that I personally had to tackle. You don’t have to feel guilty about it or ashamed or feel bad for it. A lot of times, when you’re first starting out, your help is going to be your family, friends, and old co-workers. And that is perfectly ok – that is your network. You just have to remember that you have a dream and your dream and vision is SO big that it’s going to require more than just you. It’s also going to require more than the skillset that you bring to the table to make it a reality. So it’s fine to seek help because having a supportive team in place is only going to make your business better and stronger.
3. Don’t give up! The only shots you are guaranteed to miss are the ones you never take, so keep going!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.CottonCreationsllc.com
- Instagram: @CottonCreationsIG
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/cottoncreations
- Youtube: www.YouTube.com/c/cottoncreations
Reza Nosrati, Pixel One Photography, Tre’ Colbert