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Mom creates fashion exclusively for differently-abled children #innovation

(BUSINESS NEWS) Mindy Scherier developed Runway of Dreams in an effort to make fashion inclusive for all, reminding the world that any industry can be innovated!

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Day in and day out

There are many things in life that we may often take for granted. Especially the things we do in our day-to-day lives that we don’t even think twice about.

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One of those seemingly simplistic things is getting dressed in the morning. For most of the population, this is something that is done with ease.

Runway of Dreams

However, for mom of eight year-old Oliver, she noticed her son was struggling with this task. This caused her to inspire change.

Mindy Scheier founded Runway of Dreams, a clothing line created for children that are differently-abled. Due to certain disabilities or special needs, the children that this line was developed for sometimes struggle to button or zipper clothing items.

Research, develop, produce

The line has collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger in an effort to create fashionable options for everyone. Their vision is to “change the landscape of fashion to be inclusive for all.”

Runway of Dreams is a nonprofit organization that works in three steps to provide clothing options. This is all possible through research, development, and production.

With research, they seek out the voices of the differently-abled community to learn ways of overcoming clothing challenges involving function and fashion. With focus groups and surveys, modifications in mainstream fashion have been made to include wearable technology such as Patented MagnaReady® magnets. Finally, by working with other brands, the company is able to produce clothes for those requiring different options.

Never stop brainstorming

Not only is this a wonderful concept and a great help for children who may struggle to find fashionable pieces that they are comfortable wearing, but it also reminds us of an age-old concept: think outside the box.

The fashion industry is one that has been around forever and is one that will never go anywhere. Because of this, it is important to tap into different aspects of the industry to keep it fresh and changing.

As society evolves and adapts, our industries have to do the same. Mindy Scheier has reminded us that it is important not to rest on our laurels, but to think deeper into how to improve a lasting concept. What’s even better is if it can help people in the process.

#RunwayofDreams

Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Business Entrepreneur

How a newly funded coffee delivery startup is thriving during COVID

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Seattle’s Joe Coffee finds successful funding in hyper specific clientele and operations even mid-pandemic. But how did they do it?

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Joe Coffee delivery

Amidst a pandemic, you might not expect a small company with limited clientele to thrive. Yet, Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based delivery service, is doing just that.

Joe Coffee, an aptly named coffee runner, has received millions in funding, a large chunk of which was raised mid-pandemic. Their mission is simple: to bring coffee from smaller shops to local consumers, especially without endangering either party.

There’s a lot to be said about Joe Coffee’s valuation and mission, but what’s more intriguing is their unlikely success.

A food delivery service that focuses on coffee may not seem that niche, but when you look at Joe Coffee’s determination to stick to the Seattle area, coupled with its staunch resolve for frequenting smaller shops (e.g., not Starbucks), the service begins to look pretty specific–and, in an economy that honors sweeping solutions, this is a welcome change of pace.

The way their service works is fairly simple: Joe Coffee provides shops with signs and information on how to order through the Joe network, then consumers are able to download and order through a mobile app on all of the usual platforms. Joe Coffee takes a nine percent cut of the order total, credit card fees included.

In return, customers are able to order from their favorite, local, non-chain coffee shops, both supporting them and sustaining their caffeine addiction at a time where alertness is paramount and grouchiness is all too common.

What’s truly interesting about Joe Coffee’s example is that it demonstrates an availability for small services with extreme specificity in terms of operating capacity. By sticking to unique businesses in a relatively small metropolitan area (as opposed to, say, multiple cities), the service is more likely to be successful in execution and delivery, thereby solidifying its relevance to both consumers and businesses alike.

And, by playing into the need for curbside pickup or home delivery these days, Joe Coffee only furthers the perception that its service is necessary.

If the country begins to reopen–whenever that happens–it will be no surprise to see Joe Coffee maintain a relationship between consumers and smaller businesses in the Seattle area. For anyone offering a similarly niche service, this is a perfect example of a company to which you should pay attention.

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Business Entrepreneur

Pierre Laguerre makes history by being the first Black man to raise max crowdfunding amount in one week

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Pierre Laguerre, CEO of Fleeting, is the first Black man to raise $1.07 million SEC max from regulation crowd funding.

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Fleeting drivers

Pierre Laguerre is the first Black man to raise the $1.07 million Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) maximum from regulation crowd funding.

Let that sink in.

Laguerre’s company Fleeting is a network connecting motor carriers and shippers with qualified Commercial Drivers License (CDL) drivers on demand. Shippers can use Fleeting to book and manage reliable, vetted drivers 24/7. Fleeting reached its fundraising goal ahead of schedule on the online crowd funding platform Republic. The fundraising campaign officially ended July 10.

Laguerre moved from Haiti to Brooklyn when he was 15, with hopes of being a doctor. Life in Brooklyn was not what he expected, and he got his CDL to begin trucking. An inspirational conversation with a college professor ignited his entrepreneurial spirit. He soon became an owner-operator of his own truck before going on to build his own staffing agency.

Over time, he began to experience burn out, common for many truck drivers (and entrepreneurs.) The schedule is grueling and the constant movement keeps drivers away from their homes and families for long periods of time. Furthermore, according the American Trucking Association, the United States trucking industry is on track to be short 100,000 drivers by 2024. That’s in 4 years!

Then, Laguerre experienced a healthy dose of life that put things in perspective. His newborn son had two heart surgeries in the spring of 2018. During the second surgery, Laguerre was mugged while picking up food for his mother who was in town to visit his son. Being bedridden beside his child gave him the fire and energy to create the life he wanted for his son, himself, and so many other hard working, qualified drivers.

And thus, Fleeting was born. Two years later, Fleeting has prominent investors like Chamillionaire and E-40, won the Grand Prize at Harvard’s Black New Venture Competition, and gained nearly 5,000 investors on their Republic campaign.

Fleeting raised 100% of its goal just one week after the launch of the campaign in February. As soon as the coronavirus pandemic began to impact the United States profoundly in mid-March, Fleeting was working on across-the-board solutions to support impacted shippers, brokers, motor carriers, owner operators, and drivers. On April 5, they announced they would be waiving all booking fees for medical producers and suppliers working to transport essential supplies nationwide.

Thanks to Laguerre’s hard work and vision, Fleeting raised 400% of its goal by April 7 and reached the $1.07 million max by early July. Pierre Laguerre is paving the way for Black entrepreneurs. Furthermore, he is setting an important example for how to create tech solutions with a conscience that put hard working Americans and their families first. It is fortitudinous leadership like Laguerre’s that America should seek at all levels to transform the way business shapes society.

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Business Entrepreneur

PopCom designs smart vending machines to automate regulated products

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) PopCom raises $1.3 million in equity crowd funding to launch smart vending machines that will securely sell regulated products like cannabis and alcohol.

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vending machines

Dawn Dickson is upgrading the beloved vending machine to thrive in the era of COVID-19. Dickson is the Founder & CEO of PopCom, a black-owned retail technology company whose mission is to “equip entrepreneurs and brands with future-ready retail solutions that allow rapid retail expansion, incredible customer experiences, and powerful sales data.”

Dickson started her entrepreneurial career with Flat Out Heels, rollable flat shoes that fit in a purse. The business was an e-commerce hit, relying on online data analytics to drive sales and growth. She found there was a disconnect in leveraging that technology when she looked for traditional vending machines to sell her products in places with high foot traffic like airports. Like any good entrepreneur, she created her own solution to the problem.

PopCom vending machines use facial detection and machine learning to create an interactive and intelligent retail experience. In 2020, the Columbus, Ohio based company is rolling out secure pilots for automated vending of regulated products like alcohol and cannabis. The machines rely on biometric analysis to verify identity, and can even anonymously evaluate age, gender, and emotional sentiment while a customer is browsing to convert sales. Products can therefore be available on demand with minimal human interaction.

The growth of this technology is timely as COVID-19 continues to ravage retail in the United States. “Vending machines and convenience services are becoming more essential, and retailers are looking for more ways to deliver their products direct-to-customer with less human friction. We are excited about what is to come,” Dickson told BlackNews.com.

And what is to come is coming quickly. Dickson just completed a record-setting equity crowdfunding campaign on Start Engine, being the first female founder in history to raise $1.3 million in just 47 days! Previously, PopCom raised an initial $1.07 million from their first campaign. According to SEC regulations, companies can raise up to $1.07 million from regulation crowd funding sources in a 12-month period.

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