We had the good fortune of connecting with Lorneshia Cooper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lorneshia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process when starting Rooted in Melanin, LLC and my thought process now is pretty much unchanged. From the beginning, I wanted to create something that was fun, authentic and most importantly, didn’t feel like work. My hobby only became a business because I wanted to create something to pass to my children. To possibly give them a boost in life that is not as common for many Black babies. Remaining true to those values is what keeps not only my merchandise authentic, but also the whole social media presence of Rooted in Melanin. Whenever you engage with me on social media or purchase an item from my store, you can rest assured that the experience and process is genuinely appreciated. Forming relationships is more valued than forming customers.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Rooted in Melanin, LLC is a black-owned and operated fashion line. All of our designs are unique, one-of-a-kind and designed to celebrate your Melanated Excellence! Lorneshia Cooper, the owner and creator, prides herself on creating designs that you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you desire to add our designs to a different apparel type, or if you would like to add customization we have you covered! I’d like to think that our original designs is what sets my line apart from other individuals who designs shirts. Every design on our website were created by me for melanated people. Others are more than welcomed to rock our designs, but the inspiration comes from Black Excellence. I am most proud when I make a sell to someone other than friends or family. I get really excited to ship out my merchandise to other parts of the U.S. I’d love to see Rooted apparel in all states! It’s amazing to see the growth from where I started to now. When I originally started, my designs were very flat and mostly just words. I also depended ENTIRELY on third-party print companies. Now, with more practice, I’d like to think that my designs have more depth and evokes emotion. I’ve also taught myself how to print the designs to my merchandise using vinyl and other elements. From there, I’ve invested more time and money to publish a website, increase my inventory and market my business. I can’t say that it was easy, but I also can’t say that it was hard. The most challenging part for me was remaining consistent with new designs and marketing tactics, and honestly, it’s still a challenge for me. My husband helps keep me on track with business-specific tasks, but as for the creating, it’s all therapeutic for me and I really enjoy it. Even if i only get 1 sell from a design. This may sound cliché, but the best lesson I’ve learned is to stay true to myself and my brand and remaining authentic and genuine. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and then trying to compare or match that energy. But that’s where the challenge comes in. How long can you match someone else’s energy? And then at that point, what makes you different from others? I used to beat myself up because I didn’t make fun posts throughout the day or even everyday, but I had to remind myself that’s not how I naturally operate, and it would be even harder to maintain that. So from then on, after my personal pep talk, I focused on creating QUALITY designs, merchandise and marketing materials and stopped focusing on QUANTITY. Rooted in Melanin is a lifestyle. It is a mindset. Rooted means to establish deeply and firmly. I’m established deeply and firmly in my melanin. I am unbothered in my Melanin. I am unmatched in my Melanin, I am unapologetic in my Melanin And I provide clothing and accessories to celebrate that!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ever since we’ve been on Quarantine, I feel like I don’t even know my city anymore! Hahaha! But if I were to create an itinerary for a trip to Atlanta I’d have to include the following places: Food: 1. Juicy Crab 2. Two Urban Licks ( bring ya paycheck!) 3. Pappadeaux (I love seafood) 4. Warren City Club (BRUNCH!!!) Drinks/NightOut 1. BQE Lounge 2. Boogalou 3. Dugans 4. Cru Hookah Lounge Visit: 1. Zoo (My husband and I want to visit all Zoo’s in the states) 2. Beltline 3. Atlantic Station 4. High Museum 5. MODA (Museum of Design Atlanta) But even with all of that, my most favorite location and activity is staying at home, having a kickback with friends…before the pandemic of course! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my husband, Michael Cooper, who was conveniently cropped out of my pictures!! 😂😂 Seriously though, I can’t count how many times I come to you with design ideas, looking for input and you come through EVERYTIME, no matter how many times or how late/early. Most importantly, I can FEEL how GENUINELY proud and impressed you are with me and that definitely deserves credit and recognition! So, thank you “Soupsnake”! I Love You!
Other: TikTok: @RootednMelanin Email: RootednMelanin@gmail.com
Personal Photo taken by Wooten Photography