Creating, drawing and designing is in Jamesha Bazemore’s DNA. She learned how to draw as a child growing up in Detroit and was taught by her father who’s also a skilled artist. Her father learned from his father (her grandfather) who was an artist well-known for creating murals in Detroit in the 1950’s and 60’s. She took her talent with her to the Marines where she served for 4 years and to college where she obtained a Bachelor Degree in the Arts with a focus in CAD Engineering.
After being honorably discharged from the Marines she went on to work in her field as CAD Manager and Design Coordinator as well as open a hair care business. She attributes a lot of what she learned about designing to her experience in Detroit. She was on the team that designed and built Cass Technical High School and worked for a black-owned engineering in Detroit. She even served on the design teams for Ford Field and the River Walk. Her work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit and creativity is definitely So Detroit.
How Cocoa Twins Was Born
Jamesha wasn’t new to entrepreneurship when she started Cocoa Twins. She already tried her hand at entrepreneurship in the hair care industry. Things didn’t quite work out but that didn’t stop her. She simply moved on to something else. Cocoa Twins was actually created at the suggestion of her then 9 year old twin daughters. They were searching for school supplies with images that represented young black girls and couldn’t find anything. They were sad about not being able to find what they wanted and suggested to their mother that she create them. Jamesha followed their suggestion and Cocoa Twins was born. She uses her skills as a talented designer to create and draw each image from scratch on all Cocoa Twin products.
Positive Black Images are Underrepresented in the Arts & Crafts Industry
After noticing there were no images of black people on the types of products she wanted to buy for her daughters, she realized there was a void in the arts and crafts industry. She said she thought it about it this way– either I can complain to manufacturers about our images not being represented in the arts and crafts industry or I can do something about it. Jamesha chose to do something about it by starting her own company to represent the positive black images our people want (and need) to see. She says she “doesn’t believe other people should have to make things for us that we can make for ourselves.”
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Teaching Entrepreneurs in the Industry How to Design Their Own Products
Jamesha is not only serving her people by creating positive images of us for her Cocoa Twin products, she’s also teaching other people how to design their own products. Paying it forward is important as an entrepreneur. And Jamesha is doing that by offering classes to teach others how to design, protect their designs from copyright infringement and bring their products to market. You can go here to find her classes on Teachable.
Jamesha’s Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs – Never Get Too Comfortable
Take time to find balance, Jamesha suggests. She says that designing custom images, running the business, being a mom, and a wife is challenging. She encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to take time to simply “relax” or do a “hard shut down”. She also suggests that aspiring entrepreneurs she “never get too big to learn something new.” She says to keep learning and growing in your talent. Never get too comfortable with where you are, always take it to the next level. You have to stay abreast, hungry, relevant, and current on what’s happening in your industry.
Cocoa Twins May Be Headed to a Store Near You
Jamesha says she is taking baby steps to build her business and Cocoa Twins products are currently offered online via her website. However, she is considering selling the products in stores like Target or Walmart in the future. She also wants to open an Art Incubator wheres she trains artists and designers on how to get better at their craft, get access to the resources they need to grow and thrive and connect with others in the industry. To learn more about Cocoa Twins and the classes offered by Jamesha, you can visit the online store and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.