Sweet Notes Entrepreneur ProfileMay 29, 2019
Zakiah Pierre is the owner of Sweet Notes, a business invested in making motherhood more manageable by supporting new moms. About 85% of post-pregnancy moms will experience some level of post-partum mood disturbance.1 Sweet Notes aims to help decrease this number of incidents by engaging early and often with moms. Sweet Notes’ unique approach takes the guesswork out of new motherhood, empowering moms to approach each new day with increased confidence and comfort asking for help.
Sweet Notes is a deck of 14 cards curated for moms by moms who understand that motherhood can be quite the adventure. The cards are intended to guide a mom through the first 14 days post-partum. Each card provides 1) a word of encouragement, 2) research-based and doctor backed information pivotal to caring for a newborn, and 3) resources for a momma to access in an effort to prioritize her self-care. Sweet Notes also encourages moms’ communities of support (family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc.) to engage with cards and our website to familiarize themselves with resources to tap into to best support mom.
Zakiah is a people person, she claims that by design, she is a guardian. She was put on this earth to take care of/look out for others and she takes that job very seriously. She is currently working as a director in student affairs for a graduate business school. She spends her days advising and counseling students and not only does she love it, but she explains that she is, “pretty good at it”. When Zakiah was preparing to become a mother, she thought, “this can’t be much harder than what I already do”. She explains, “boy was I wrong, caring for a tiny human is no joke, that combined with the realization that all the people that were ever present during the pregnancy were now not there at gosh awful hours of the night while I was having breastfeeding issues and could have just used a pat on the back or permission to ugly cry. I vowed during what were some dark times that I would do my part to be there for others who follow me”.
A colleague of Zakiah’s was getting ready to have her first baby and Zakiah thought for weeks what about what would be a great gift for her (not the baby) and that is when Sweet Notes was born. Everything Zakiah could think of that she wishes someone had told her, she wrote on a card. Her hope is that with Sweet Notes she can inspire mothers to rise daily knowing that although this may be hard, it’s so worth it, she is more than capable, she is doing an amazing job and to keep asking for help (because people, unfortunately, don’t read minds).
Zakiah hopes that in a few years this little business, that birthed out of a need, here in Charlottesville, Virginia, will be supporting new moms all over the world move more confidently through the early days of motherhood. Her dream is that Sweet Notes becomes a must-have baby shower gift. She also looks to expand her offerings beyond just the first 14 days and the tactile cards. She’d like to provide an online platform moms can engage with, wherever they are in the world, to access trusted information and carefully curated resources. Considering we live in a tech-savvy world, making a version of Sweet Notes that can be accessed via text alerts right to a mobile device is also a goal.
Zakiah explains that “CIC has been instrumental in me getting my business to where it is today. I am pretty sure there were times they believed in me more than I did myself”. She entered the Entrepreneur Workshop with just an idea and through taking the workshop, which she feels was so thoughtfully laid out, her idea evolved into a business that has great potential. Zakiah feels that the workshop sessions were informative, the homework thought-provoking, and the people amazing. “From my workgroup leader, Laura Horn, whom I still call on today to help me get in gear, to the workgroup members I still seek counsel from, to the staff of CIC who are always poised and ready to offer their support, I could not be more grateful to have found CIC”. Zakiah claims that she is grateful for the network and resources that being a part of CIC affords you. She shares a huge thanks to CIC for serving in this community and helping to make dreams come true.
Zakiah feels her biggest takeaway from the Entrepreneur Workshop was that this group of people sees potential in your idea and whether it’s now or later, they will be here to support you in making it happen. She took the workshop in the Fall of 2017 and it was not until May 2019 that she launched a website for a product she is proud to call her own. She feels she needed that year and a half to get ready for launch. Many others who took the workshop with Zakiah were well on their way by the time the workshop ended. Zakiah is grateful that “CIC still continues to invite me to networking opportunities, offer up mentorship, allowed me to utilize resources, and so much more even before launching my business”. Little by little, Zakiah engaged in these offerings and landed where she is today.
Her advice to CIC entrepreneurs is that “CIC is an amazing resource, do not take that for granted, take them up on the offer to see lawyers, accountants, marketing professionals, mentors and so much more, free of charge, to get your business to the place you want it to be”. “If you have a question, ask them, visit the office when you are feeling disconnected, they will help you find your way, not to mention the energy in the office is very encouraging”. She also feels that if you have benefited from this awesome organization, consider giving back, it’s another way to ensure you stay connected. Zakiah is currently volunteering as Workgroup Leader in the Entrepreneur Workshop and she feels the reflection over her students’ homework has been amazing for how she is thinking about her own business.
1 Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders. Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Center for Women’s Mental Health. 2018 https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/postpartum-psychiatric-disorders/