Entrepreneur April Showers found a unique niche in the party planning industry: She built a fun Afro-conscious brand called Afro Unicorn. And her goal is to help other Black-owned businesses find their own path to success.
The party supply, party favors and apparel product line was founded with a mission to celebrate children of color. The company, with its creative bushy-haired unicorn designs, landed an exclusive brand deal with Walmart. Some of the brand’s products include bags and backpacks, mugs and stuffies.
Showers was inspired to build her brand when a friend pointed out the “uniqueness” they saw in her. Showers owns and operates an insurance company, is a licensed real estate broker and a single mother to two boys.
“I saw unicorns were mystical and unique, and I was like, I can identify with this; I am a unicorn,” Showers told Finurah. When she developed her brand, she found that the unicorns she saw in mainstream media and online didn’t actually look like her or the people in her community. So, in her design, she created a more melanated design with a kinkier mane.
She also uses her platform to promote other small businesses with extraordinary brands that usually come from female or kid-owned business owners.
Her connection with other brands is part of what helped her get on Walmart’s radar.
“I didn’t go after Walmart; they came after me,” she said. “One of the people we promoted made a video and where someone walked by and said, ‘I love your hair,’ and she said, ‘Thank you; it’s natural,’ and she was wearing an Afro Unicorn shirt.”
After the video went viral, it even got the attention of Viola Davis and Oprah Winfrey. Shortly afterward, Walmart reached out. In the future, Showers also has desires to work with Target, CVS and Kohls.
“We want to make Afro Unicorn a household name, and we’re trying to get it everywhere we can,” she said.
Showers credits part of her success to her consistency.
“As long as you stay persistent, you’ll see results,” she said. “The problem is people are quick to quit. I’ve been promoting between 50 to 100 different businesses every week for the last three years.”
For showers, it’s important for budding business owners to understand that “they’re not bankers,” she explained. “We don’t have bank hours. We’re not nine to five. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re on 24 hours. A lot of business owners don’t want to get up before the sun.”
She also has found that she’s gained from maintaining her engagement and strengthening her relationship with her base.
“All those people that we promoted throughout these years,” she said have proved to be “ones who showed up to buy our retail at Walmart. They’re the ones taking all these videos and photos.”
Staying strategic and consistent with her content also has been helpful.
“I post three times a day,” Showers said. “I’ve never run out of content, all organic.”
Through her social strategy on Instagram, she’s been able to build a community of women and children of color who identify with her movement.
“So I always tell people that you have to find who your audience is, and then you go get them,” she said. “I want to gain real followers and see what they’re actually going through.”