Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Nicole Rocero of The Roc Shop, a cheeky and irreverent partyware brand the empowers women to own their voice and celebrate their fierce.
Let's meet her, shall we?
1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I started my business as a means to entertain myself in the form of self-expression and a way for me to find a likeminded community.
After seven years of working in graphic design, mainly within the wedding industry, I felt I was losing my edge. Becoming complacent and becoming boring. I was far from living up to my potential and utilizing my skill set to push boundaries, represent my unique point of view, and my voice. Thus, the Roc Shop became a business that allowed me to become a bit closer to being the women I was capable of being, but quietly hid from. I was always too afraid of what other people would think of me. This new platform that I grew into, allowed me to take a stance on social issues, empower women in the cheekiest and most clever manner, and redefine what it means to be a women.
I knew I couldn't work for anyone else, because The Roc Shop became my platform for personal growth and self discovery. It allowed me to understand my wants and to finally put a voice to all that was bottled up inside; fears, goals, being completely ecstatic, and even being messy with my emotions and working out all the kinks, my weaknesses and strengths alike. I don't feel working for anyone else would give me such liberty or space to explore my being.
2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?
I simply check out. I tend to not allow myself to get distracted by what everyone else is doing. Sometimes it is tough with FOMO, but at the same time, I honor the fact that I am on a personal journey of growth, so what works for someone else or what they are doing, isn't the right choice for me. There's only one Nic Roc. :o)
3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?
Attending networking events and mastermind groups locally, are the key for my personal success. I've also had the luxury of attending several conferences where I have met a diverse group of female entrepreneurs who have kept me on my toes, motivated me, challenged me, pushed me, and have given me valuable information to help my business grow. In addition to my own local community, I have relied on Facebook groups such as Marie Forleo's B-School, Savvy Business Owners, Tuesday's Together, and subscriptions to small business newsletters such as Defining Good, Create & Cultivate, and my personal favorite, Shannan Scott. Listening to business podcasts, such as Raise your hand say Yes with Tiffany Han and The Gary Vee Experience, and of course, Cyndie Spiegel!
4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?
Staying on top of the growth and the message of my business. I created a space that women have loved to come to for bad ass products, inspiration and motivation, and for the community of badassery. The Roc Shop began to take things up a notch in 2017, creating its first small business mentorship program, with an at-risk teen, through a local non-profit, taking a political stance on women's rights through product development, 20% profit donation for a local non-profit and 100% profit donation on our cancer awareness products. My community has begun to view the brand as a pioneer for women. By becoming that leader for so many people, it's hard to keep up. It's often hard to know what the next move will be. Because once I make that move, I have to ask myself very important questions. Will the move still be aligned with my brand? Will my audience still be able to relate to the brand? But most importantly, will my brand grow? That is the bottom line.
I wish I could offer an abundance of tips and information on how to overcome this, but I think I am still learning what that looks like for my business. Perhaps this, in itself, is the proof of growth; knowing when to step back and let things work it's way out. Or just knowing that not everything has to be solved immediately nor do I have to have the answer for every problem that arises. That being said, I will say, in the past, many challenges have been overcome with me simply asking for help within my community.
5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.
"Sell the problem you solve. Not the product."
I wanted an outlet, for myself, that honored my voice. I am an irreverent woman. I love all things cheeky. I have redefined what classy means to me and I know for a fact, I am not alone.
Thus, a brand was born that helped women to celebrate all that they are, using the very words they use to define who they are. I never sold a product to one person. I never had a sales pitch. I just said, "I'm tired of not being heard. I'm tired of being a stigma. I'm tired of not being taken seriously. I'm tired of not honoring myself." And you know what? I think a whole lotta bad ass women felt the same.
I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...
I am not afraid to be who I am.
Before I sound too overly confident, let me give you a quick background story. For the first 34 years of my life, I taught myself how to be silent and not exist. I grew weary of my own voice and fire within. So much so, that I began to ignore the woman I was to please others. To be agreeable, rather than disagreeable and to be seen as nice and pleasant.
In 2016, I was diagnosed with a rare skin tissue cancer known as DermatoFibroSarcoma Protuberans. A tumor had grown from the left side of my neck, interrupting my life. Coincidentally, the most amazing and influential person of my life, my Aunt Maria, was losing her battle with cancer. As I watched my aunt slowly fade away, I believe I had gotten a glimpse of what a possible future could look like for me, and that shook me to my core.
I recall a long and restless night that I woke my husband in complete fear. I remember trying to hold back the tears, as my throat was becoming so tight, because I didn't want to wail. I said to him, "I'm not afraid of death. I'm not. I'm afraid that I will die without ever being heard. I'm afraid that my friends and family will never know how fierce of a woman I truly am."
After two scary surgeries and the death of my aunt, from that moment on, a fire was lit under my ass. A reckoning that I was not meant to hide nor to be silenced.
I believe we are all given the tools we need, it's just a matter of learning how to use them. I hope I am an example of what it looks like to honor that fierce and passion from within. If you don't know how to use those tools just yet, then join my community. Being fierce doesn't mean being angry or rude. It means knowing who you are, owning that shit, and celebrating it. After all, Life's a party. Don't be late.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nic Roc is the founder and designer of The Roc Shop, a cheeky and irreverent partyware brand the empowers women to own their voice and celebrate their fierce. After seven years of working as an entrepreneur in graphic design within the wedding industry, Nic decided she needed a more fun and creative outlet, which opened the doors to the creation of laser cut partyware. After having faced a battle with a rare skin tissue cancer, Nic found that The Roc Shop would become her platform to empower women, discuss women's rights issues, and most importantly find her people. Nic hopes to one day grow the Roc Shop into a non-profit focusing on education for young women in business.
Nic lives in San Diego with her Irish hubby and her Chiweenie Missy. She likes the finer things in life, such as scotch and dirty martinis. She is a lover of travel, gardening, hosting parties and gatherings, and enjoys listening to jazz and soul music. Nina Simone is her spirity animal. Ben & Jerrys' Phish Food is the fastest way to her heart.