Today, we would like to introduce you to Mother-Daughter duo – Zoe & Evana Oli
Zoe, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Evana (Mom): When Zoe was four, I wanted her to start wearing satin sleep caps to bed because of the benefits for her curls, but could not find any pretty options that were affordable. The choices were either plain colors and inferior fabric at the local beauty supply stores or expensive options online. This led me to get one made for her in a colorful print that she liked, with quality fabric and tailoring.
It also sparked an idea – to start producing pretty and colorful but functional sleep caps for other girls and to make them affordable.
Satin provides a barrier from moisture-absorbing fabric like cotton; It keeps curls from drying out, prevents breakage and is an absolute essential for curly girls to maintain healthy hair.
Also typical to ages 4-6 for young black girls is when they start to realize certain differences, especially when around children of other race. I started hearing my daughter ask questions like “Why is my hair not straight?” or “Why does my hair look so different?” and it was important for me to instill that sense of confidence and self-pride in her and her beautiful curls.
So this became about more than just a sleep solution… it was about evoking a sense of pride in her curls…a way to preserve and protect her beautiful hair and braided hairstyles, to do so looking super adorable and to celebrate who she was. The more I poured into her through words and actions, the more she started to blossom.
Zoe was six years old when we formally launched her business last year. We started off with the satin sleep caps but she had the idea for us to also launch a doll line. She thought it was important to make dolls that were relatable –beyond more than just skin tone. So as we started to explore and work with a manufacturer, she specifically asked for dolls that have braids and also afro-like hair – a reflection of her reality and that of other beautiful brown girls. Our Zuri Doll collection was born in December 2018.
When girls have dolls that look like them, research has shown that this builds self-confidence and character. And we have seen this to be true.
Zoe (CEO – 7 years old):
“As the CEO of Beautiful Curly Me, I am very involved in the business. I go fabric shopping with my mom and I pick all the prints for our sleep caps, I attend meetings with our suppliers and I pack orders. I love seeing my ideas come to life. For example, I hear from so many girls how much they love our Mini & Me Sleep cap sets because they get to wear them to bed with their favorite doll and it makes it fun!
I also like going to events where I get to meet customers and sell lots of sleep caps and dolls. I love having my own company and want to inspire other kids to do the same.
It’s not always easy being a Kidpreneur. I have to make sacrifices sometimes for my business. Like on weekends when I go to events or have to work on packing orders. But I like seeing pictures and videos on Instagram from girls who love wearing our sleep caps. I also enjoy meeting other Kidpreneurs and seeing what they do. I am learning everyday about profit and about marketing for my business. I always tell my mom we will have five warehouses soon. I know our business will continue to grow.”
What started as a simple sleep solution has evolved into an opportunity to inspire girls to self-love through curl care and play and we are just getting started.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With every growing business, there are definitely challenges. However, we take everything in stride knowing that success is not an overnight journey. As a seven year old second grader, Zoe’s first priority is school. She has a busy schedule with school, extracurricular activities and then working on the business. Making sure she is involved and signs off on every decision sometimes can slow things down, but it is important that she learns and takes ownership.
There have been challenges working with overseas manufacturers for our dolls – we have experienced shipping delays, defective products and lots of miscommunication. We are also learning the ins and outs of running an eCommerce business and the complexities involved. As a self-funded business, we are also navigating the world of social media marketing and generating awareness for our business with limited funds. We continue to identify collaboration opportunities and partnerships to enable us scale.
Overall, we have learned very valuable lessons through every negative experience. We have also met some amazing people along the way who support our vision. Zoe most of all is learning resilience, patience and the importance of using every disappointment or challenge as a stepping stone to something bigger.
Beautiful Curly Me – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Beautiful Curly Me produces premium satin sleep caps and beautiful black dolls with the purpose to inspire girls to self-love through curl care and play. It’s all in our name.
We are also a kid-owned business. Zoe our CEO is a fearless seven year old girl who is involved in every facet of the company. We make premium products that are not only pretty but functional as well. We concepted and developed the original Mini & Me sleep caps: matching girl and doll bonnets, to bring fun back to bedtime. We also offer Mommy, Mini & Me sets. Zoe handpicks all our prints and approves all our styles.
Our 18″ Zuri dolls are representative of black girls – with curly afro hair and braids and each comes with a beautiful handmade dress. Every girl should have a doll that looks like them that they can connect and identify with. It is important for growth and self-confidence.
We are passionate about the girl child – and donate 10% of all proceeds to various organizations that are focused on girl education and empowerment.
Our satin sleep caps are proudly made in Atlanta. We chose to keep our production local to support our community as well as ensure we deliver the best quality products.
Zoe and I have co-written a book that will be released later this year and will also be launching other curl care products.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is to put smiles on thousands of girls faces and build up their self-confidence by them playing with one of our dolls.
Success is to inspire curly girls everywhere to love and care for their curls.
Success is to inspire curly girls to celebrate their magic – everything that makes them unique and special.
Success is to positively impact the lives of thousands of girls through our charity partnerships in the area of girl education and empowerment.
Success is to inspire other girls to start their own businesses to meet a need and build wealth.
- Satin Sleep Caps ($20 – $25)
- 18″ Dolls ($40 – $60)
- Website: http://www.beautifulcurlyme.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @beautifulcurlyme
- Facebook: facebook.com/beautifulcurlyme
K911 Studios; Will Hunt Photography