Not every child learns to count to 100 by taking stock of boxes of “chawkulits” in the reserve “factory” down the hall.
But that’s how Taylor, a first-grade student at Stamford, learns her arithmetic – and there can be much longer numbers to master long ago.
Born of the epidemic to disrupt her daughter’s routines – including Mom’s time through period trips to the Lux Nail & Spa in North Stamford and later indulgences at the Lorca Cafe – Handicchi Oakley launched Pink Chevrolet on Black Friday, selling nail polish that stays out. Toxic chemicals used as ingredients in many brands.
“Taylor would always choose pink nail polish and she would paint a little rabbit on her finger,” Oakley said. “I had a child who was at home, who had progressed so much in terms of her learning. … Now her routine has changed.”
When Oakley’s days were spent working remotely from home as a drug sales manager, Taylor’s TV and tablet time lengthened when he was not distance learning – classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck and Peanuts are her favorites – and Oakley committed. Come up with activity-based alternatives.
“We had to do something in the evenings that I and I would have – after school and after I lost my job – and would deprive her of screen time and keep her busy,” Oakley said. “We did baking, we started an indoor garden that we still have, we did all these things – and then came Pink Chocolate.”
“Why don’t we prepare ourselves, Mom?”
When she decided to try their hands at a spa manicure one morning, Taylor asked if Okay could paint one of those rabbits (“No, I can not” she jokingly recalls in her response). But it made her think about nail polishes, and at length, about the ingredients that went into them, and she said she was appalled by the descriptions of some chemicals and the damage they could cause.
“And Taylor just said, ‘Well, why don’t we make nail polish ourselves, Mom?'” Oakley said. “I said, ‘Let’s do this.’
“We saw a lot of videos and we were able to see how things are done – the colors, the shades,” she continued. “It was very exciting, just learning. … and we talked about starting our own business and what it means, and how we do it.”
Purchasing an Online Entrepreneurship Kit – they went with Taylor’s choice of an inexpensive kit from BossDivas – they dive, examine everything from business registration and trademark, through purchasing components and manufacturers in the US, to running a website and payment engine. They chose the alternative spelling after finding Because online domain names for “Pink Chocolate” were collected by a cyber magazine that charged thousands of dollars for the rights.
Those were big numbers and rough perceptions for a girl who had just cleared the garden, but Oakley said Taylor stuck to it. She said it was a different display of entrepreneurship from her upbringing in Wallingford and New Haven, with her father owning a Naugatuk insurance agency and her mother running an art gallery and a New Haven bookstore.
Now, in an age of distance learning, Taylor has earned a master’s degree in home business administration working on the shiny and glittering details of Pink Chocolaty alongside her mother. After identifying candidate manufacturers, it took only a few weeks to get their first samples and they were able to pick one and order their first volume shipment at the end of July.
The premiere stock arrived 10 weeks later. Meanwhile, Oakley posted her web design and budget requirements on Bark.com and received 20 job offers for Pink Chocolate. Oakley chose FireflyStudio from web designer Linda Norgord – she also offered photo services that were huge for Oakley – Pink Chocolate was on the doorstep of the live show, and Oakley is showing it off ahead of Black Friday launch. On Instagram and Facebook.
Summer work and beyond
She says she remembers that the first Shofifi “Bing” was buying in Florida, when Oakley and her daughter filled out the order themselves from what they call a “Pink Chocolate Factory” in a redesigned guest room.
“We launched the site on Black Friday – we call it the launch of ‘Pink Friday’ – and our first sale … was at 8:06 a.m.,” Oakley said. “We danced, we were so excited. … Taylor loved two of the five [polishes] They bought the ones she called – they were ‘bubbles’ and ‘delicious’. “
Pink Chawkulit currently offers a dozen tones, including “toy poodle” and “puppy kisses” referring to the family dogs Coco and Chanel, two names that were undoubtedly off the table.
Another ton of pink chocolate is “Piggy Bank” – and Oakley said she would take Pink Chocolate as long as it came. At the very least, she sees Taylor at the forefront of summer work in her teens – and who knows after that.
Oakley described the sales as sporadic in December, given intense online competition amid holiday promotions from major cosmetics brands, but he says Pink Chocolate is steadily building in the new year. Shopify lists Pink Chawkulit’s store traffic in 15% of the first companies to start using the e-commerce platform in the week following Black Friday.
“We’re only two months old,” she said. “I want it to be something my daughter and I can share in the growth. … I want it to be my daughter’s first experience to see that she can achieve and do everything.”
[email protected]; 203-842-2545; @casoulman