We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellen Cooper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellen, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
As the moms of two girls now both teenagers, I have always been passionate about pouring into them and through them have had the opportunity to also connect with other girls their age over the years at school, church & throughout the community. I knew I wanted to figure out a way to reach even more girls, share my life experiences, maybe some do’s and don’ts and most importantly help them grow in their relationship with Jesus but the way to do that just wasn’t clear…yet.
During quarantine in spring 2020 we needed a little fun in our lives so my daughter and I ordered one of the leading subscription boxes and we LOVED it! It was exciting when it came in the mail, opening it to see all the surprises inside was great and then we couldn’t wait for the next box to arrive. The only problem was the box was great for me but many of the items weren’t appropriate for my young middle schooler so it got me thinking. Could there be an opportunity to create a subscription box specifically for teen + tween girls that was not only filled with age-appropriate, positive, on-trend items but was also filled with faith-based encouragement and provided a way to share the Gospel with them? I did some research and couldn’t find exactly what I was envisioning so I decided to start it myself. That is how Simply Be Box, a faith-based subscription box for teen + tween girls filled with fun, positive, on-trend items and encouragement to Simply Be who God created her to be was started.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My path to get here has been anything but traditional. I spent 15 years in a corporate career in various sales and marketing roles. I learned so much from those opportunities. Once my daughters were headed into elementary school and James’ business was doing well, I decided to step away from my career to spend more time at home with my family. It was an incredible opportunity for me to reset, for all of us to get more involved within the community and most importantly at our church. As I grew in my faith, I felt God calling me to “learn more to do more” which led me to get a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary. A chapter in my story that I never expected but was possibly the most life transforming.
I’ve learned to put my faith in Christ and to also believe in myself. I think at one point or another we’ve all dealt with impostors’ syndrome. Feeling like we’re faking it, like we aren’t qualified to do what we’re doing and that one day someone’s going to find out! But the reality is, everything I’ve done has led me to this moment and the Lord has been preparing me every step of the way. I look back at my career, those times when things didn’t seem to be going my way or when I felt a bit lost, I realize that was building my character, knowledge, patience, stamina, resilience and so much more. If I hadn’t gone through the amazing times and the tough times, I wouldn’t be who I am today. There’s preparation and protection in each step. Starting Simply Be Box has been the perfect way for me to combine my corporate background and seminary degree together into something that uses my experience, knowledge, and passion in one place.
There are a lot of subscription boxes out there, but we think there’s something different about Simply Be Box. We know getting a box in the mail full of fun items is what will create excitement and get the girls’ attention but once we have it, we’ve got something bigger in mind! Our goal through our subscription box and community is to help teen + tween girls grow in their relationship with Jesus, know & love how they are uniquely created and encouragement them to live out their faith and be a light in this world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I grew up in the Atlanta Area and other than college at Ole Miss and a year in Birmingham I have called it home. So when we have friends and family come into town, there are really an unlimited amount of things to do. Here are some of our favorites. We love going to Downtown Roswell, it’s a short drive from our house and is full of cute shops, a quaint coffeehouse, amazing restaurants and great music so an evening there would definitely be on the itinerary. Can’t come into town now without going to a Braves Game at Truist Park! An outdoor concert at Chastain Park with a table full of snacks, drinks, great friends and of course a favorite band. For a fun family day, we would go Shoot the Hooch. There’s nothing better than lounging in tubes all connected together listening to tunes and floating leisurely down the Chattahoochee River. We did it growing up in the 80’s and try and go at least twice a season now with our girls, family and friends. I also don’t think you can come to Atlanta these days without checking out the breweries we have here like Sweetwater in Atlanta, Gate City in Rowswell, Reformation in Woodstock and Glover Park in Marietta just to name a few! Call me up, I’ll show you a good time!!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am blessed to have many people in my life who have influenced, loved, and supported me, experiences that have shaped me over the years and I’ve had the opportunity to be part of great businesses and organizations that have taught me a lot. But if I had to narrow it down to one shoutout here, it would have to be by husband James. I’m married to him and have been for 19 years, so obviously I love him and admire so many things about who he is, what he believes in and how he loves and cares for our family. But I would not have had the courage to start my business if it wasn’t for him. James is an entrepreneur; he started his business Cooper’s Pressure Washing & Gutter Cleaning back in 2008. It was not an ideal time to start a business, we were pregnant with our youngest daughter, had two mortgages at the time, coming off a draught and in the middle of a housing crisis. Makes me feel stressed just thinking about it…But he was ready to take charge of his career and jumped right in. My corporate background and comfort of a steady paycheck every two weeks and all the benefits of that made me a bit more hesitant of all the unknowns and uncertainty that came along with owning your own business. But I admired his courage and confidence to figure it out as he went, and he’s grown his business into what I see has a huge success while remaining true to who he is and to his values. When I came to James with my idea to start a subscription box business, he was ALL IN! Over the past year, he has cheered on every victory, guided me through some unknowns, lifted me up on the hard days, reminded me why I’m doing all this and has poured so much life, wisdom and love into me, my idea and made me believe it was all possible. He always believes in me, even when I’m not sure I believe in myself and to have a partner in life like that is a blessing that I’m grateful for everyday. Shoutout to James!