Small Business Owner Shines Bright in Detroit

Cultured Diapers founder Destiney Mohammed talks small business

Destiney Mohammed, an entrepreneur and small business founder of Cultured Diapers, told the team at Raddle, “I’ve gotten more done and experienced more momentum in 3 weeks of raddling than in 5 years of trying to build my business alone.” Here’s her small business story:

“Sometimes I feel guilty about my story, because I had a really hard time growing up. I’ve been mentally and physically abused. And then hard times as an adult. Now it’s like–really a success story. I’m the first high school graduate (and) college graduate (in my family). I’m really in love with myself. I go out to concerts by myself. I’ll get onto a dancefloor when nobody is on there and dance by myself. I find that a lot of people admire that and it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble. I feel like I have to dim myself in order to be around certain friends and family. If I were to describe it in a feeling: lonely.”

“I’ve always been ambitious. I’ve had a resumé since 3rd grade. Cultured Diapers started out as a baby shower gift for underserved moms in Detroit. I was in college and had become a community-based doula. I started volunteering for a maternal infant health program. The moms were all inviting me to their baby shower. I was like, “Sure!” but the problem was — I was broke. I was like, ‘Well, I’m creative. Let me figure out something to do.’ Part of it was trying to figure out, ‘How do I incorporate a way to help the moms AND add a personal touch to it?’ So the help was –the cloth diaper, because most of the moms, after they have the baby, they had issues with diaper rashes. And my major in college was Women’s Studies and African American Studies (with a) Cultural Studies & Arts concentration. So that’s the kente fabric.”

“I had one mom in particular — Cortisha. Me and her really bonded. She used to sell quilts. And she was like, ‘Why don’t you just sell em?’ That’s what pushed me to sell them. I want to one day have in-house manufacturing and bring her on board to work as a designer or seamstress. When I actually sold the first diaper, one of my best friends, Ashley, had a pop-up showcase. That night I made like 10 different diapers. I ended up selling (all) 10. It felt like, ‘OMG people will actually buy these?!’ That was huge. I sold more than anybody. That was the motivation to keep going. I knew that it had to become a business. I used to make them at home and before I could afford a sewing table I used to make them on my bed. I would place a white board on its back and use that as a table-like surface.”

“But I felt like one of those people who stops projects and starts them back up. I felt like, ‘Do I have a problem? ’Why can everybody do it and I can’t?’ I have the personality, the story, the product. I have all these things and I can’t do it. People who are mediocre can do it. There are a lot of folks I know who have thriving businesses. And I’m like–’How?! How do you thrive and I don’t? Am I just too complicated? What’s the problem?’ I can’t help myself alone.”

“My aunt Barbara always says this thing, even yesterday, she told me: ‘Stop dragging your feet.’ I always drag my feet. I have a bunch of ideas and then I leave it as an idea. My aunt will tell me, ‘You’re dragging your feet. Just go and do it.’ When I first got my products shipped I was living with her and I was all excited and talking about it. I just kinda left it in the basement. She was like, “Let me see the products that you got.” So I brought it up to her. It had been like maybe two weeks so I brought it upstairs to her. She was like, ‘Ok, so what’s next?” and I’m like, ‘Uhhh, I don’t know.’ That’s when she told me to stop dragging my feet. And literally right after, I got into what I needed to do.”

“Working with (Coach) Autumn and Raddle…it really ignited me to stop dragging my feet. Because once I do my Raddles–I’m like, ‘Ok, I got the idea, I kinda know the next step, and then when I do my coaching with her after the Raddle it’s like, ‘Ok. Here are the action items. This is what you need to get done.’ We get stuff done on the Raddle, and then it’s like—next steps. Here’s your homework. I actually get those next steps. Before I was left up to my own knowing what the next steps were. In my head I have all these things I know I need to do. But I didn’t know how to prioritize, ‘What’s the next step?’ I’m not the most simplistic person. I had to learn (to) simplify. It pushes me forward because I get stuck on the little things.”

“(After raddling 4 weeks in a row) honestly I felt like, ‘I can do this.’ But not just I CAN do this. I felt like, ‘I’m GONNA do it.’ I feel that same feeling I felt (after) the first photo I received of a baby in (my) diaper. It gives me that feeling back. I feel like: Year one. Week one. Day one. I feel that feeling again. Honestly, it’s that real momentum I felt from the beginning. It’s that initial spark.”

Do you enjoy bouncing ideas around and connecting with entrepreneurial people? Request an invite to our virtual brainstorm community for a chance to brainstorm with entrepreneurs and small business founders including Destiney. We’re FREE to join! Also–Raddle’s got a Collab Package with Business Coach Autumn Kyles of Proxie Detroit if you’re looking to Raddle and get coaching in between like Destiney did.

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