For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.
At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Ciearra Powell, the owner of Play Care Nourish.
Play Care Nourish is a sophisticated, work-friendly café with a designated play area for kids. I imagined nourishing organic food and caring staff who would look after my daughter while I was on a conference call or editing an assignment. So Play, Care, Nourish was born.
Our CEO Mandi interviewed Ciearra about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How did it feel to launch a business during 2020 – a global pandemic?
Building out a play café was a dream of mine since my daughter was born. When I finally decided I was ready to take the leap into Entrepreneurship, I contacted Bisma Bhatti (my consultant) to get started. We created a realistic plan and were “full steam ahead” until the pandemic hit! We had to think quickly and pivot fast; so we decided to create an e-store until we could start scouting and building again.
2: What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and start your business?
I’ve had a career in retail management for a few years and I love training and developing brands. But I was in the unique position of also being a student, a young mom. I saw the need for myself – I wanted to grow and push myself – and I desperately wanted to help my community. These were all motivating factors to making the leap to entrepreneurship.
3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?
I love the empowerment that being an entrepreneur provides me. I’m in control of my schedule (for the most part!), I don’t have to answer to anyone, I’m the decision maker, and I’m able to make a difference in my family and community. Especially as a black female entrepreneur, I can be a role model for my daughter and other young girls, and create a legacy of black excellence. I want to empower her to take on challenges and and teach her everything I know so one day, she may want to take over the business.
4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?
The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is not being taken seriously as a woman in business, and my company not being taken as seriously. Sometimes being labelled as a “Mompreneur” is a huge disadvantage. People think that it’s not a “real” business, or that it’s less of a business. It’s not fair and it’s not right. There is no difference in the amount of work that it takes to start or maintain the business. In fact, being a mom who is also an entrepreneur is a million times more challenging because we work 60+ hours a week on our businesses, raise a family full time, manage our households, and try and maintain our friendships, our physical and mental health. I applaud ANY parent who is also an entrepreneur and I wish people would take us more seriously.
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
5: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?
Instagram – I love telling stories, being creative and creating beautiful content. With Instagram, I love that the connection is instant and I get feedback and support from my community. This helps me curate my products and drives my business decisions.
6: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
My consultant & COVID – in a digital age, social media is the norm. Your company, especially in my industry, will not survive without these channels. It’s the number one way we drive traffic to our site and is how people are able to shop and recognize us. The added value.
7: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?
Social media marketing has impacted my business in amazing ways. Social media is also the least (financially) expensive way to provide value and advertise my business, which saves me a ton of money in the long run! I’m able to donate more and really help communities in need, and enhance our programming and education. I also love creating beautiful images and content – it brings out my creative side!
Even though I cannot open my cafe and store right now, I have been able to share my story, apply to markets, collaborate with other pages, and learn about my customers. It’s really great to have a community behind me so when my Play Cafe does open, they will all be there supporting me!
8: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
Be yourself! Be authentic to you, your brand, and your messaging. My consultant Bisma Bhatti always says, “Content, Consistency, and Community.” These 3 things have allowed me to be true to myself, not fit into “social media bubbles”, and I’ve been able to grow my social media and create meaningful relationships. Bisma keeps reminding me that, “it’s not always about the sale and the products. If you remove all of the products from your page, what would the value be? That’s the value added.” I’ve learnt that it’s the support, the book reviews, and the resources I’m able to provide that truly make a difference to people and connect with them. These people will eventually be your customers. So be yourself, sell your product, create value – the customers will come!
A Little More About Ciearra
I am currently a full-time student, getting my diploma in Human Resources, with a two-year-old daughter named Sieanna. I wouldn’t say 2020 was the worst year because my partner and I got engaged and we have our first place together! One of my goals is to open a youth shelter because of my many mission trips and build out my Play Cafe. My dream was for parents to come and work, with nutritious meals and free childcare options. While we wait to build out again (post-COVID) I’m focusing on building my online store, and supporting women at Jessie’s Place, a safe-haven for young moms and moms-to-be.
Know Any Voss Babes?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today – we’d love to tell her story!