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Side Hustle MUMMA - Representation matters: Black Books and Toys Specialist

Ladies we are back with a bang and you are going to explode into action hearing from these beautiful Black women who are using their talents to fill themselves with joy whilst sprinkling that joy on others. These are determined women who on top of their full time role whether that be as a mum or CEO, are pulling out all the stops to manage a side hustle . This flexible second job brings in extra money, but typically is a passion of theirs, a passion that they don't get to pursue in your main job.

OY would like to Introduce you to our second side hustle mumma. This beauty has had an interesting path to success that we are sure many Black women starting a business have come across, felt and had to move past to succeed in their own right! Driven by childhood memories of adults discussing the lack of diversity and availability of Black toys, she knew one day she would impact and bring about that change. Instigating a process fraught with knock backs, closed doors and dead ends, her story is about a desire to fill a much needed gap in the market of the representation of Black children. We step back and let her introduce herself:

Who am I?

Name: Dorraine

Life and Love: Born and bred in South London and I have a degree in Youth and Community Studies. I've worked with young people in the community and secondary schools in various roles for over 12 years. I am a daughter, sister and friend who loves family and want all Black children to see themselves and their families represented in books and toys everywhere.

Why a side hustle?

As a child I heard older people talking about books and toys not being available or accessible to us because they were expensive, the dolls didn't look like us, or were ugly. So when I got older I thought why don't I start to make these things that are in everyones homes and everyone wants so they are available and accessible to Black people to Black children. My prompt to start my side hustle was hearing the complaints of Black people about something that they wanted for their children, I heard it enough and knew I could fix that!

What is my side hustle?

I am the CEO of Like Me For Me! We provide children's books and toys because I believe it's extremely important for children to see themselves being represented in all aspects of life and in all areas of their lives. They should see themselves in the workplace, TV and social media so they are proud of who they are, their heritage and how they are being represented. This is the reason why I chose children's books and toys, I believe when you start young and put out those positive images and reinforce them over and over again in a child, young person or even in a baby's head it only helps to build their confidence.

How I got started!

Well in 2016 I was just playing around with ideas of businesses and thought why not start the children's toys and books. I started playing around with names and tested them on family. I reached out to friends for their support to create a logo and then my good friend also a new start up business owner

Amberlee of Lime and Honey said it's time to get some products. I checked out Amazon, signed up to publishing houses to buy at wholesale prices and reached out to authors on socials and then things just grew from there.

Who are my customers?

During lockdown and the Black Lives Matter movement I joined lots of Facebook groups and started posting in them. I started to get crazy interest, followers, views to my website and sales. I was still working the day job but most evenings was going to the post office to send off purchases, my new customers had made.

I also found my customers at Pop up markets and community markets. I was also featured in The Voice Black Business Guide that helped with further exposure.

What keeps my side hustle going, when it would be so easy to stop?

I am motivated by Pop up markets, the kids are dragging their parents to my stall, they want to see the books and toys, they see themselves through the pages and then there's 'the little Caucasian girl, wanting the Black doll, seeing this and wanting this to happen more often' keeps me going.

The Pop up markets also allow new connections with other side hustlers and business owners, those wanting to compliment, buy or collaborate in some way this is powerful. There is a lot of positive reinforcement through these conversations and it's encouraging to know I am doing well and impacting others. These are my biggest drivers.

What would I say to you beautiful ladies who want to start a side hustle?

My first question is 'What do you like to do?' Do THAT!

Your close family and friends will say they are proud of you and they may be but they won't be your main supporters not as much as a stranger will, dont let that deter you. Keep going, attend the pop up markets they are everywhere, get yourself out there. The tables are reasonable and so you will make your money back. The more pop up markets you attend you'll start to notice and value the support you will receive, it will be bigger than what you will receive from your family and friends.

Where can you find me, buy, follow, like and share?

I will be doing more Pop up markets and family events. But my biggest accomplishment to date is that I have just written my very first children's book which will be published by Conscious Dreams Publishers, another Black female that is doing her thing! By the end of the year i will be a published author. The book is about the adventures my grandad and I experienced growing up. Our relationship was so loving and fun and I learned so much and I wanted to share this special relationship with others. Families are so much more than just mum and dad they are extended family grandparents, aunties and uncles this is the richness of my experiences and portrayed throughout the book. Get it #Grandadandme!

************** IT'S HERE***************

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