The most successful entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Sisters Nikki Mace and Michele Porter founded their educational apparel startup, Eduwear, because they needed to ensure the children in their lives were well-prepared for their first day of school.
The duo is part of JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland Impact program, an intensive business assistance program designed to support the development and growth of businesses located within the city of Cleveland.
We recently sat down with Nikki to learn more about the inspiration for Eduwear, the challenges she has faced in growing the business and her thoughts on the Core City experience so far.
So Nikki, what inspired you to create Eduwear? Where did the idea come from?
I wanted to develop a fun and creative way to prepare my own son for kindergarten. The initial concept was a teddy bear outfitted with a t-shirts featuring custom educational designs. I eventually added a line of actual t-shirts that I called Emotionwear, which was created to help my son express his emotions.
What market niche does Eduwear fill? What problem does it solve?
I call this market niche educational apparel. There are many educational tools in the marketplace that address the needs of preschoolers, such as the Reader Rabbits line and other e-tools. What makes Eduwear unique is that it promotes more engagement between adults and children throughout the day and provides an outlet for children to easily express their emotions.
What are your future plans for Eduwear?
We would like to have a line of books, bedding and bath products. We also plan to offer Eduwear in multiple languages and market the product globally.
How did you connect with JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland program and what do you think so far?
We were referred to the program, by Cecil Lipscomb, Executive Director of the United Black Fund.
I love this program! It is great to connect with other entrepreneurs and to be able to have access to tools which will enhance our ability to be successful. This is not your typical training course. It’s fun, exciting and there is never a dull moment!
We ask all the entrepreneurs we speak with to give us examples of failure or setbacks they experienced. Anything come to mind for you?
Our greatest challenges so far have been in developing more brand awareness and market penetration. Our solution was to seek help, which is how we found JumpStart. Here we are getting business assistance, mentoring, marketing help, expert advice and a great set of business tools.
Watch Nikki’s elevator pitch for Eduwear below. To learn more about the Core City: Cleveland program, click here.