Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MeMe's Spotlight: Cotton Candy Playground

Cotton Candy Playground is blowing up faster than balloons right now and it’s all because of the mastermind behind the scenes, Nicole. I met Nicole via email through a very close friend of mine and I had the pleasure of learning more about her, her style and booming business! Check out the awesome chat we had below...

Nicole, I really enjoyed your website! My best friend gushed about you so I just had to go and check it out for myself. lol. Very cute and smart. I LOVE the name, Cotton Candy Playground(Cotton Candy Hair). How and when did it come about?

That has been my oldest daughter's nickname for her hair since she was 3. I can't take credit for that :). But it's also from a book I wrote and Illustrated two years ago called I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair! Recently I expanded my product line and decided to form an umbrella company called Cotton Candy Playground which houses my apparel line as well as an upcoming stationary line that I'm really excited about, but I kept the name of the website cause I love it so much.

Well I'm certainly in love with it:) I noticed that you also have a children's book that you not only wrote, but illustrated as well. That's incredible! What inspired you to do this and what is the book about? Are you planning on writing more books in the future?

I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair! was inspired by an incident a few years back when my, then 3yr old, daughter came home from a playdate crying and asking us to make her hair straight and yellow. It was heartbreaking! After months of looking for books not only about hair but about absolute self love and acceptance and not being able to find any for 3year olds, I decided to write one myself. I've written a few more stories and actually created a series in which each story focuses on the principles of absolute self love and acceptance. I haven't released the second story yet but my dream is for this project to continue to grow so hopefully you'll see more stories from me in the near future.  


I think this is incredible and much needed! It is very important for young girls to learn self love and worth at a young age. Keep 'em coming! Society today views long, straight hair as beautiful. Why do you think it is important for black women and women of color to embrace their natural hair? Why/When did you go natural?

It's just important for people period to know that they are perfect just the way they are, no matter what that way might be! And If I'm gonna love myself, and believe me I LOVE myself, then I have to love all of me. Who decided that beauty that looks like me isn't as good as beauty that looks like Heidi Klum? Who said kinky hair isn't beautiful?? It's me and that means it is! Period. It's funny listening to myself today though because even after my 3yr old came to me in tears begging for "straight, yellow hair" I was still relaxing mine. I didn't connect the dots until almost a year later. I was working on the illustrations for my book when it just hit me that I could tell my girls to love their "cotton candy hair" all I wanted, but the example that mommy sets by chemically straightening my own would speak louder. I had braids at the time and I immediately got up, went to the bathroom and cut my braids off at the new growth. It wasn't easy at first. I would look in the mirror and seriously not want to go outside, smh, but I had to get real about what those voices in my head were telling me... that to be better I had to be something other than myself... and that message pissed me off. I couldn't have my daughters believing that nonsense and I wasn't going to believe it either.

Wow, that must have been tough for you to witness but I think you handled the situation very well and I'm sure your daughter will really apprciate that! Now I am a HUGE fashion buff and I love that your t-shirts are not only cute, but they have a positive message. What are you hoping your customers gain by wearing one of your tees?

I just want people to feel good wearing my shirts. For me, Cotton Candy Playground is a celebration of diversity, of self love, of acceptance. And if someone puts on one of my shirts and feels a little more pride that day or walks a little taller, that would mean everything to me.

Absolutely:) What has the feedback been like since Cotton Candy Playground was born?

When I released "I LOVE my Cotton Candy Hair!" two years ago I was blown away by the feedback from parents saying how much the story has meant to them and their daughters. But when I launched Cotton Candy Playground a almost 2 months ago, I was floored at the amount of support I received. The secret is that I never intended to launch an apparel line, at least not now, I just liked graphic design. A few days before the Curly Nikki meetup in LA I decided to put a few of my designs on some tshirts. The feedback I received at that event was incredibly flattering, but it wasn't until Curly Nikki posted pictures on her facebook page a few days later that this thing exploded! I received so many emails from people saying how much they loved the shirts and asking when/ where they could purchase that I had to put everything on fast forward and launch the apparel line. This whole thing has been an incredible blessing and I am still just blown away and really so appreciative of all the love I'm receiving.

That is such a blessing! Instant success doesn't happen too often. Does Cotton Candy Playground keep you pretty busy? Do you have a team that's assisting you or is this a solo show?

Currently it's a solo show so YES I am extremely busy! I joke with my friends that I need a street team, like the Bad Boy street team that Diddy had back in the day that was just out, networking, making it happen!! That would be the bomb! Because right now I am finding it extremely difficult to manage my job as a mommy of 3 young children and also do the legwork in terms of marketing, promoting & social networking that I feel can really take Cotton Candy Playground to the next level.

You are definitely who I would call Super Woman! lol. While browsing the site I noticed that you will also be selling stationary! Thats great! What else can we expect from you and Cotton Candy Playground?

Aside from the stationary line, which I hope to launch by Thanksgiving, my immediate plans include introducing more fly tees, eventually releasing the second book in my children's book series, and introducing a custom order section where people can customize apparel, prints, and stationary. Yeah, a street team would be perfect right about now, lol.

Your plate is definitely full, which is great! What are you hoping to accomplish with Cotton Candy Playground?

Cotton Candy Playground is a place for everybody. I want those come check us out to know that they will not just be included, but celebrated and lifted up.

Now Nicole, it's only right that I ask about your personal style. Afterall, this is a fashion blog! What trends are you into these days?

If there is any question I wish I had a better answer for it is this one! Truth is lately my style has consisted of nothing more than tees, jeans and flats... and not even cute ones... it's so sad. I have a mean shoe game but it's been a while since they've seen the light of day. I am out of the loop on the latest trends (which I know is pure madness considering I'm being featured on a fashion blog!!) but I am going to take this opportunity to do something I have never done before and that is blame my kids!! Is that allowed?? You're probably not buying it but with this business, my household and three kids 6 & under to chase around, I barely have time to put lip gloss on before I head out the door. I do however, aspire to be one of those women who manages to do all the things I do and more, all while looking effortlessly fabulous. I think I can start by taking some pointers from you :)

You're too kind:) With a little time and the right fashion staples, you can be a Fashion Super Mom in no time! Thank you so much for taking time out of your oh so busy schedule to share your sweet Cotton Candy with me and my followers. I look forward to what's to come and I wish you MUCH continued success!

To shop or learn more about Cotton Candy Playground, visit

Yours in Fashion...MeMe

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