Denise Woodard – CREDIT: COURTESY OF PARTAKE FOOD
They say when you invest in our communities, they grow. Jay-Z put those words to life by investing $1 million in Partake, a Black owned, allergy friendly, snack company. By doing so, this woman, Denise Woodard, along side her life and business partner Jeremy Woodard, saw their business rise by “3000% and website traffic increased 150%,” according to a recent Forbes article written by contributor Maryann Reid.
In the article, Denise was asked questions that touched on the trials and tribulations but also successes of being a minority owned company. She also discussed what it was like before leaving her cushy executive position with Coca-Cola. One thing that popped out was her understanding just how many “No’s” it would take before she got the break (investment) Partake needed to scale the business. She even put all 86 ‘No / Not right now’ into a spreadsheet to serve as a harsh but necessary reminder on how tough it can be.
Below is a quote from the article on possible reasons an investor turned her down:
“[I]nvestors thinking we were too early, not understanding our brand proposition and the competitiveness of the industry.”
But check this out: when she didn’t get the capital she needed, she didn’t tuck tail and run. Nope. She drew down her entire 401k and put it all on BLACK. She did the quintessential thing most business owners will have or should to do: Bet on yourself! If you don’t have the confidence in your own product or brand, no one else will.
She also zeroed in on minority and women-led business owners, offering insight that large corporations like Wal-Mart, Target, and Kroger are seeking more minority and women-led brands. She went on to say during the interview that you should “use that to your advantage, in terms of special programming and events.” Before moving on from that thought, Denise made it known that “networking” was also a tool which should be utilized.
Partake was created in 2016. Denise stressed that being a business owner is nothing short of hard work and sleepless nights but fulfilling.
“I created the LLC for Partake in June 2016, and for the first year, I worked full-time at Coca-Cola while waking up early and staying up late every single day to develop Partake.”