Meet Sharie Renee, founder of Cosmic Bobbins
What is Cosmic Bobbins?
Cosmic Bobbins is a lifestyles brand fashioned at the crossroads of business and social good. Through a ground floor recycling initiative, Cosmic Bobbins upcycles materials that might otherwise be considered waste and turns them into one-of-a-kind accessories, while creating meaningful, fair-trade employment in underserved populations.
We are committed to creating a global community where sustainability, upcycling and social good become a lifestyle, where people are meaningfully employed and our core essence is a spirit of hope.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
Cosmic Bobbins was started with heart and a vision to make the world a better place through business. My grandfather, one of my best friends and first mentors in my life shared many intrinsic gifts with me through his chosen entrepreneurial path. Growing up in a funeral home gives one a unique perspective about life.
It wasn’t until I was older that I would reflect on this journey through life and the threads that we weave through it. How can one impact a greater whole before one’s final exit strategy? This isn’t only a great life strategy, but a great business strategy. This was the impetus for me to create a business that would touch lives, be sustainably minded, and encompass the beauty of life.
What resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I was fortunate to meet Bonnie Richley from Case Weatherhead School of Management
. She invited Cosmic Bobbins to work with her students as a sustainability project. Much of her coaching has provided a clearer business structure for business planning.
I have also worked with United Cerebral Palsy
in first developing a production strategy for sorting our magazine materials into colors. This initiative was temporarily able to provide jobs for 38 of their clients in their sheltered work environment. My work has also been supported by Mayfield Schools
, Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium
. That work led to development for a larger production support system with The Help Foundation
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company?
The amazing thing is that I have started this business and operated it with minimal cash. All of the money I have had for this business came from my own pocket, sales, credit cards or family assistance. If it weren’t for the support of my family, clients and dear friends who have invested their resources or time to support the vision of the business, I would have failed years ago.
Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
My first real big wholesale client came from Puerto Rico. A woman by the name of Ruby Dee Fontanez had a company called EcoGender
and she distributed recycled handbags in the Caribbean Islands, South America and Puerto Rico. She was the first to put my business on the map in terms of distribution.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
One of my favorite Cosmic Adventures was running out of money in Mexico. I had gone down to bring magazine materials to the natives I was working with and to create a production run to bring back stateside. When I was leaving, I paid all my workers and realized that I only had 100 pesos (less than $10) to get back home, which included two bus trips to get to Mexico City.
I paid 70 pesos for the first bus ticket, and had to take a taxi to the next terminal. The second cab driver was kind enough to give me a ride for my remaining 30 pesos. I find myself wondering down the dark desolate road dragging my suitcases behind me, looking for an ATM. When I return to the terminal and buy my ticket, the agent informed me that the next bus wasn’t leaving until 3 a.m. I sat on the bench in the terminal and wait.
Suddenly, a vicious thunderstorm rolled through. The lightening is hitting the tin roof of the bus terminal and running like electrical sparks off a wire. A security guard told me the terminal was closing and pushed me out the door.
Next thing I know, I have found myself huddled among a few dozen other Mexicans trying to seek shelter under the small overhang of the terminal. As I stood there, I heard a voice inside of me: “What the hell are you doing? Bringing magazines to help poor people? Are you kidding me? You’re poor!” And as quickly as the voice in my head spoke to me, a couple people from inside the terminal ran out into the rainstorm, grabbed my suitcases and directed me back into the terminal.
They put my bags into a cubby space and locked the door. They led me to the other side of the terminal, offered me food from the vending machines and asked me if there was anything I wanted to watch on the television. At 3 a.m. they escorted me to retrieve my suitcases and to the bus going to the Mexico City airport. Even though they didn’t know it, it was almost as if the Mexican people there helped me when I thought I was there to help them.
What inspires you?
Beauty, kindness, creativity, intuition and action.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
My grandfather, Emil Golub and his family who started The Golub Funeral Home
in Cleveland, is one of my biggest inspirations. In addition to always providing the most personal support for the families he served, he also supported many families from his homeland trying to find a new and better life here.
Another one of my favorite founders is John Paul DeJoria of John Paul Mitchell Systems
and Patron Spirits
. Paul Mitchell has a reputation for supporting many philanthropic and environmental endeavors.
What’s next for you and your company?
A trip to Aria, Las Vegas to celebrate the release of our licensed products and partnership with Paul Mitchell; Development of our partnership with The Help Foundation in creating production jobs for individuals with special needs; and development of Cosmic Bobbins e-commerce and online presence.