It Girl | COURTNEY COATES
Ladies... I was sitting down to write this intro when I realized that Courtney is my first internet friend! We met on twitter AGES ago, and since then we have had so many fun experiences together! I am so grateful for her and her hustle as she builds this brand! Courtney started her own makeup line with the vision to create a line of products that offer a greater array of choices to those of deeper complexions. Each product is formulated from scratch and handmade to order. The name koyVoca was “derived” from the words coy and vocal. The name is based on the mission statement to provide products that are suitable for the “no makeup” look, to more bold, trendy looks. From decorous to daring, koyVoca provides cosmetics for the 9-5 and beyond!
Name: Courtney Coates
Job Title/Company: Founder and Owner of koyVoca
Education Background: University of Maryland - College Park, B.S. Mathematics/Statistics
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I am seriously addicted to learning, tasting new foods and trying new activities. Traveling and reading are my favorite pastimes. I am a spontaneous person who is always into something.
2. What sparked your interest in creating your our makeup line?
What pushed me to create koyVoca was the highlighting and contouring craze. I wanted to provide the deepest contour shades on the market.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
Everyone who is successful in their field! I know it’s a broad answer, but I tend to study entrepreneurs to see their come up story. Many of them took years to reach their goals, and it motivates me to keep going.
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
I was a freelance programmer. I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit within me.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
The day my company went viral! It sparked a conversation about how people of deeper skin tones love purchasing makeup despite the narrative that’s been out there.
6. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
When I first started, I focused solely on creating cosmetics. Now, I am studying how to develop skin care products that address the concerns of my customers.
7. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from being an entrepreneur?
It’s a piece of advice all of our elders have told us — be kind to everyone you meet.
8. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I will own several successful businesses and koyVoca will be available in Sephora.
9. What is a typical day like for you?
Depends on the day. Most days I am working on out-of-stock products and shipping orders. I typically reserve two days out of the week to do inventory or work on new products. My only off day is Sunday.
10. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
Sourcing packaging. It’s much easier to get unique packaging now as manufacturers see the long-term benefit of the relationship. This wasn’t the norm two years ago.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Don’t overwork yourself. Find professionals to do the tasks that can be outsourced. As your business grows, you will realize you simply cannot do it all.
12. When do you get your best ideas?
When I go to concerts or museums. I always leave feeling inspired to do something bigger and better for my brand.
13. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
My mom always told me “Prepare for war in the time of peace.” I never really got it until I went viral. To keep my products as fresh as possible, I only kept enough stock to last me an entire a month. Every order I placed with my suppliers at that time arrived with missing or wrong items. This led to extremely long wait times and dissatisfied customers. I’ve learned from my mistake, and I’ve switched my business model.
14. How do you unwind?
I usually watch a web series or read.
15. What would you tell someone else who is interested in starting their own business?
Just do it! You will learn more about how to operate a business while having one. I suggest reading Regina Anaejionu’s blog by Regina or Lisa Jacobs’ blog Marketing Creativity. They are two inspirational people, and I love that they are completely honest about their lives as small business owners. Their tips on how to grow a brand are amazing!
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
To stop thinking about their dreams and put in the work to make them come true!
And now, a little inspiration from Courtney, and guess what!? She is going to continue to share her experiences with us under our Inspiration umbrella!