Passion into Profit: How One Entrepreneur Saw a Need and Filled it

Pam Richardson committed herself to filling a void by creating Images of Culture; a school supply company with a focus on creating products with positive images of African-American children.  She shared with us her toughest obstacle and greatest reward in creating inspiring images to empower our next generation.

PM:   What was your deciding factor in choosing to create Images of Culture?

PR:  I wanted to create an inspirational product specifically for children of color.  Being a 15-year veteran of corporate America, I saw firsthand how this market is generalized and or ignored.

PM:  What has been your greatest obstacle as a business owner and how did you overcome it?

PR:  My greatest obstacle was answering two basic marketing questions – what is an unmet consumer need and how will I meet that need?  As easy as those questions may appear to be….I won’t lie….it took many years for me to uncover the answers!

Ultimately, I saw the need to provide inspirational products to children of color and I was going to meet that need through school supply products.  I came up with many ideas – some were too small and others just didn’t make any sense! It also took a few years for me to find partners that I felt comfortable working with.  But…I never gave up.   I developed a strong sense of patience and continued to enhance my knowledge in how to run a business.  This was my dream and I was going to see it through.

PM:  What type of products do you currently have?

PR:  My introductory, product line features a one-subject spiral notebook.  Each notebook has uplifting, positive graphics and messages for African-American school-aged youth.  They all are available for purchase on my website atwww.imagesofculture.com.

PM:  You found a niche and filled it with Images of Culture.  What type of feedback have you received from parents or children so far?

PR:   It has been an amazing reaction!  I expected that children would love my products because of the fun colors, the images, and how different they are from products they’ve seen before.  I didn’t expect the level of excitement from parents and teachers! When shopping for school supplies, parents have indicated that they rarely, if ever, see any positive images on school-related products featuring children of color.  Teachers have indicated that they rarely see any images of children of color in school textbooks.

Because of this level of excitement, I ask each purchaser to “Share Your Smiles!” by uploading a picture of their child (or child in their life) with the notebook purchased on our Facebook page.  The response has been great!  And, provided our Facebook family with some adorable photos to see!

PM:  It’s important for African American children to see positive images of themselves. Do you think more companies will catch on and put more products representing positive black images on the store shelves?

PR:  The African-American youth market has been around for many years; it’s not new.  And…how many products do we see featuring them?  If other companies “catch on”, it’ll be small-business owners, like myself, who are attempting to fulfill a need.  Large companies, don’t have people of color on staff to make high level (investment) decisions, much less have the ability or desire to “stick it out” when building a new brand or launching a product within the African-American community.

My company was created and built on authenticity.  I connect extremely well to the parents, teachers and children that I created my products for.  If companies decide to put more products on the shelf representing positive black images, they need to be real about it in all aspects.

PM:  Where do you see IOC in the next year?

PR:  I have BIG plans for Images of Culture over the next year!  The first priority will be to continue building my brand’s awareness, primarily through online marketing vehicles and participating in local events, such as music and art festivals.  In addition, I’m currently working on developing more new and exciting images for children of color to enjoy!

PM:  What have you learned about yourself through the process of creating IOC?

PR:  I have learned that my life’s experiences (personal and professional) have prepared me for where I am today.  For that reason, I don’t have any regrets.  I am equipped with everything that I need to be successful.  I’m doing my part and God will do the rest!

PM:   Where can your products be found?

PR:  My products can be found and purchased online at www.imagesofculture.com.

PM:  What are your Twitter and or Facebook screen names?

PR:  My twitter address is www.Twitter.com/ImagesofCulture and my Facebook address is www.Facebook.com/ImagesofCulture.

PM:  What motto or inspiring words to you live by?

PR:  The inspiring words that I live by have actually become part of the tagline created for Images of Culture.  It took me a long time to internalize it, but through my products and messaging, I hope that children of color embrace it sooner than I did:“See Yourself. Be Yourself.  Love Yourself.”

 

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