Mama Coo’s Boutique is a unique store located in Southwest Detroit that specializes in selling items by local artisans and also imported from Africa, Mexico, and Central America. The owner, Alana Rodriguez is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and has a degree in political science from the University of Michigan. So how did she transition to opening and operating a retail store?
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Once Alana Rodriguez, who goes by “Lana,” decided she wanted to open a retail brick and mortar store, she was very strategic in choosing her eventual location but also taking the time to learn how to go into business. She took advantage of the several groups and organizations in Detroit that help new entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, and then “tested the waters” by holding popups and attending business boot camps. When it was finally time to open her store, Lana deliberately chose a location in the neighborhood where she grew up, to help keep that area stable and vibrant and to work closely with other retailers in the area.
Lana described how she navigated through all of the bureaucratic challenges encountered when opening a retail location, but also why locating in Southwest Detroit was so important to her.
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She also elaborated on how her choice of items to sell in her store is a reflection of who she is as a person and an art history aficionado. She is very proud of the fact that she can immediately pay her artists instead of making them wait as they would if she sold items on consignment.
Lana said that what she is working on to continue her success is to learn how to be her own biggest cheerleader and get her own story out there. Other people’s success is not my failure, and I am responsible for my own happiness.
Find out more about what was discussed in this episode:
Mama Coo's Boutique: https://mamacoosboutique.com/
Green Garage Detroit: http://greengaragedetroit.com
Your Business Your Brand Creatively: http://yb2csystem.com
Detroit Ink Publishing: http://detroitinkpublishing.com
This podcast episode is also available on iTunes and Spotify.