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Venture Update with Terri-Nichelle Bradley of Brown Toy Box

“I feel like I carry them on my shoulders. And I want to be successful, because that’s what I want for myself. But because I also want people to look at people like me and say, we can take a chance on these folks.”

— Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Brown Toy Box

In this episode

Catch up with Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Founder of SheEO Venture Brown Toy Box in this quick update episode. She talks about the challenges of launching during the supply chain crisis, new partnerships for the company, and how success can help to uplift communities everywhere.

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Podcast Transcript:

The podcast is being transcribed by Otter.ai. (there may be errors, run-on sentences and misspellings).

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 0:00
Hi, I’m Terri-Nichelle Bradley, I am the founder and CEO of Brown Toy Box. And I just want to say hello to the SheEO community. And thank you. We launched during this supply chain crisis, right. So we only know hard. I mean, people who are in the toy industry, they’re like, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is all we know. So once it gets a little bit easier, we’re gonna be like, What is this? Right?

Vicki Saunders 0:29
This is so simple.

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 0:31
This is so simple. Right. So yeah, again, from $2,000, a container to $20,000 a container. So it really did kind of erode profits that we had anticipated. But we we broke even, which — during a supply chain crisis during all this other, right. And so we ended the year right at 870. Which the year before, we did 220. Right.

Vicki Saunders 0:54
Yeah. I mean, that’s huge.

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 0:56
Right, right. And we’ve got, you know, inventory now. So as we’re talking to different school districts, or different suppliers, they’re like, hey, if we put an order, can you fill it, we can say yes. And we don’t even have a delay. Because it’s here in Georgia in our warehouse. So we’ve got that. We just started a partnership with Donors Choose. So we’ve got that going on, we’re starting a partnership with Microsoft. And so they’re going to help us with our digital footprint. But you know, it’s a win-win, right? Because they need to have more inclusive offerings when they go into these schools. So for the school side of our business, that is just kind of flourishing. The retail we got picked up again, for Target.

Vicki Saunders 1:41

Unknown Speaker 1:41
Yeah, so we were really nervous about that when we got picked up. So we already have what we’re doing for the fall. And we are in product development right now. So we’ve got the extension of the toy line that we have. And then we’re launching the second toy line, which, we’re gonna get a preview in May. So, all really, really good things are happening. And I am just like, sometimes I just get overwhelmed with, you know, looking back at this time last year, and how stressed out I was, how I was crying every day, how I was calling you and texting you all the time. Like, I don’t think it’s gonna happen, right? I was so close.

Vicki Saunders 2:22
Can I just stop you — you never said that, you never said that it wasn’t gonna happen. That’s what is so amazing about you. Every time like, try this — closed door. Try this — closed door. Another closed door. We made all those calls. And still you’re like, this is happening. I am not giving up. You never said that.

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 2:38
And you know, it was like, I can’t quit, right? I cannot quit. I cannot quit on this. Because I also realize it’s not just about me. It’s about all these other people who have this idea who have this passion, who have done all the things, they’ve done the incubators, accelerators, they’ve done, you know, make sure you got the credit score, making sure you got this, they’ve done all the things. And then now what? Right? And so for me, it was: one, the mission of our business. So that fuels me. Two, I’m looking at all these other friends, and women, and folks that are watching me or sending me notes saying, I’m rooting for you. And it meant the world to me. Because, some of them didn’t get funded. And so they’re like, well, they talk about what happens to a dream deferred, right. And their dream has been deferred, because no one would bet on them. And it makes me sad. And so I feel very — I feel like I carry them on my shoulders. And I want to be successful, because that’s just what I want for myself. But because I also want people to look at people like me and say, we can take a chance on these folks, we can take a chance on these women, we could take a chance — like, somebody’s got to be bold and brave. Right. And I just feel like, I just it makes me sad. It makes me sad, right? Like there’s so many people with such good ideas, and they just didn’t get a chance. So, you know, it makes me sad, pisses me off. But then I also feel very grateful for the folks that took a chance on me.

Vicki Saunders 2:58
Yeah, huge. I mean, just like telling that story. For those people that passed.

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 4:31
Yeah. For all those that passed.

Vicki Saunders 4:33
Yeah. Well and also, I mean, just thinking about getting sort of crushed in the middle of all this. You had those 1800 Target stores. You had your order sitting there and it was like getting the PO financing was still hard despite — like the mountain you needed to climb to get that and then getting all of the stuff over in time. Yeah, when it was a delay getting that money on an airplane instead of a ship like oh, so many things.

Terri-Nichelle Bradley 4:55
Yeah. And that was I mean, that in itself was a challenge. The whole logistics piece. We, you know, there’s so many people, there’s so many organizations and companies that are predatory towards small businesses. And so you know, we got caught in that. So some of the stuff we had to airfreight, but then other things we put on a ship. And we spent a great deal of money on just getting the stuff here. But what happened because it took so long for us to be able to get the funding is, we were slow to be able to — I couldn’t focus on marketing the products, because I didn’t know if we were going to get them here. And so thankfully, our customer is very understanding and patient and they worked with us. So we just were really, really fortunate. But we worked our asses off too. So it wasn’t like, it wasn’t just luck. We really worked hard and I’m just really proud of what’s happening in the business now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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