Cuddoll, Zeynep Kocacal
We design and make Cuddolls which are hand-knitted, organic, one-of- a-kind children’s toys.
The inspiration for our cuddly enterprise was the birth of my daughter, Myra. I started to search for an heirloom doll that was safe, cuddly and could stay with her for the rest of her life -- just like my special doll from my childhood which I still have on my bed! I was unable to find anything that fit my criteria: unique, organic, and a durable sleep friend.
I was almost at the point of giving up when my mother came to the rescue! She knitted a doll which is look-alike of my very own childhood doll.
That day my mom and I decided to design and build a collection for providing these special moments and unique dolls to other moms and their little ones.
It was also important for me to make sure we would contribute to society and give something back. Once again, the answer came from my mom, who after a difficult divorce, spent a long time feeling lonely and isolated and was also keen to help other women in the same situation.
We started up by partnering up with an organization to create a working environment for women who needed both emotional and financial support to start over and live a healthy life. We provide workshop studios with this organization in Turkey to teach these women how to fish! We have an open-door policy welcoming all levels of experience to join our team to create, share, and heal! We are proud to provide a safe, healing and supportive environment for these amazing, passionate women to put their creativity to work making unique, handmade crafts. Today, my mother both helps manage our operation and is a handcrafter herself.
I was very overwhelmed when I applied to SCORE, I was trying to find a new manufacturer in Peru which I had worked with before. I was scared to make a big import. I was feeling very alone, and overwhelmed and searched for help on Google, where I found SCORE.
As an immigrant entrepreneur, my knowledge of business was not enough, I had to learn how to identify opportunities, find legal advice, and talk to others with similar experience to light my way.
My mentor, Michael Ziegler and co mentor Bob Messer, helped me a lot. They helped me keep calm and gave me advice about freight, manufacturing, billing -- literally everything.
Without them, I couldn’t have created our newest collection from another country.
Being a small business owner and entrepreneur is a lonely journey. Sometimes you have to persuade your family, friends, colleagues of your vision and most of time no one will share your pain or understand what motivates you. That’s why a small business owner should learn how to motivate herself, not give up and always keep moving forward even if it is only a baby step.
I can help you to develop a winning sales promotion strategy and enter new markets. My expertise...
I have had a broad and varied career in many industries where I started a number of small companies...