We had the good fortune of connecting with Raven Barrett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raven, how do you think about risk?
Prior to becoming a business owner, taking risks were not my forte. I usually considered all possibilities that I could happen before I make a decision. I would think of the good, the bad, and before you know it I would work up my anxiety (i.e. why it also takes me forever to decide on a place to eat as well, but I digress) . My approach to taking risks now has done a complete 180. It’s not to say that I don’t still calculate some costs that may be associated with such said risks, but I am less apprehensive about making a decision.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The thing I am most proud of about Cocoiv is the way that it represents the spectrum of Black motherhood. Our products range from showcasing tees with Black mom lingo ( aka stay outta grown folk business) and raising confident Black children, to cards that represent that grandma that HID all her sewing supplies in the Royal Dansk cookie jar, and bodysuits that remind mothers that we can still be on our hot girl ish with a baby on our hip.
I’m honestly excited of the growth of Cocoiv thus far because when I initially began the business I had no direction. My color schemes were off. My tone of the company was everywhere. As Black as this company is, parts of me felt the need to be like other mom brands and appeal to the masses. I felt as though sometimes I had to tone down the Blackness of the brand to make sales and ultimately be as successful as other brands. Yes, there were weeks where I wouldn’t make one sale which perpetuated that thought. However, when I finally realized that our Blackness doesn’t come packaged in a generic version, it comes in bold, I realized I was doing myself and calling a disservice, along with the women who raised, and ultimately my customers. Those who understood Black motherhood isn’t monolithic, it’s multi-dimensionsional, would understand the brand.
And here I am, two years into business, testifying to my super Black thoughts, super Black products, and all of the super Black conversations that I have with my coco mamas (aka Instagram followers and subscribers), as Cocoiv is still standing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Such as good question as I am a fatty at heart! Being from Charlotte, NC, as soon as my bestie would get off of the plane we would have to go to the Diamond Restaurant in Noda. When I say they have the best burgers EVER, just know I truly mean that. After she would get settled in, we would have to appease our sweet tooth’s with a funnel cake from Funohcakes. All I can say is go to his Instagram for your life to be changed.
That evening, we would most likely go to Camp North End to relax outside and just vibe out to some good live music. The rest of her trip would most likely be us just eating, reiterating the fat girl in me ( my other favorites are Steam It Up Seafood Seafood, What The Fries, or Duck Donuts) or going for a hike at South Mountain State Park. 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 going to try to keep this list as short as possible but here we go: I would first and foremost like to thank God who is the head of my life. Without him (or her) blessing me with this vision, with this faith, or with my daughter, Cocoiv would have never manifested into what it is today. Secondly, I would like to thank my daughter. She is the essence of the brand, the “IV” to “Coco” and of my heart. Lastly, but not least, I would like to thank the other three ladies in my life that make up the four generations of cocoiv; my Mom, my Grandmother ( or Miss Petty Betty as my followers know her as), and my Auntie. These ladies are my right hand women regardless of the day, time, or situation. I would also like to thank my brother for volunteering to buy items here and there to ensure that business stayed afloat without me ever having to ask. Oh, and also Taylor, my god sister, for pushing me to move forward with this idea when I didn’t have the motivation to push myself.