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Garage Entrepreneurs: Couple Uses Social Media To Reach Customers

Charlie Hall Sun Journal, New Bern, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) At "Cooper Designz" the motto is we'll "Customize Anything!" Brian and Rashanda Cooper will put most any lettering, designs or personal photos on products ranging from T-shirts and pillows to mugs and shower curtains. 

New Bern

Brian and Rashanda Cooper are a poster couple for hard-working, self-driven millennials — full-time jobs and an aspiring home business based in their garage.

The New Bern couple has plenty of inspiration — an already large family of four children — ages 6-months to 12-years.

They have plenty of internal drive, all linked to their family.

"What makes me so driven is my childhood — poor, not having stuff I wanted, or having to wait or get hand-me-downs from my sisters," she said. "That drove me to be successful for my children."

"Four kids," he said. "From day one, with my first child, I've always adopted the mindset that I have to provide, at all costs."

Their motto is Cooper Designz will "Customize Anything!"

They will put most any lettering, designs or personal photos on products ranging from T-shirts and pillows to mugs and shower curtains. They also customize jewelry, shoes and household items.

The business has had success using social media to reach customers from Ohio to Georgia. They have a stylish Cooper Designz Facebook page and also use Instagram. But they will consider it a struggling business until they have their own building. They are ambitious, with long-range expansion plans that include hiring workers and providing local jobs. She is in her 20s and he just turned 31. Both are New Bern natives and they launched Cooper Designz in 2018. It coincided with the pending arrival of their fourth child. "We needed something to supplement our income," Brian said. "I knew some people that were doing it (home business) already. I asked some questions, got answers, brought the idea home and she said 'Let's do it.'" A low initial investment, under $1,000, was also attractive. With many brick-and-mortar businesses closed last year during the height of the pandemic, they enjoyed their highest sales to date. Sales have slowed with traditional businesses reopening, although they enjoyed a brisk graduation season. Birthdays remain a source of sales year-round. Rashanda has worked in the lab at Craven County Health Department since 2019 and Brian works at International Paper. Amid the already packed schedule of work, raising a family and the home business, both also attend community college. She got her current job training through Craven Community College and has returned, looking to move into social work. He attends Pitt Community College and has taken courses to further his business skills. He's now pursuing a two-year degree in entrepreneurship. "Being that I was taking general business administration, I have a lot of the courses already," he said. Although they have a Facebook page, he wants more specific courses dealing with social media marketing and how to get small-business funding. "Social media marketing is huge," he said. Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585, or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Charlie Hall. ___ (c)2021 the Sun Journal (New Bern, N.C.) Visit the Sun Journal (New Bern, N.C.) at http://www.newbernsj.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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