WESST Pop-Up Shop Vendor Spotlight: Kokopelli Design Studio
By Lorena Schott | September 21, 2022
After a two-year hiatus, WESST is excited to host the 5th annual pop-up shop (Oct. 14th 11a-4p, 609 Broadway Blvd NE) where you can shop locally and find unique Made in New Mexico products and gifts. Over the next few weeks, we would like to introduce you to a few of our vendors to give everyone a preview of their products and the opportunity to learn about their entrepreneurial journey. We hope you enjoy!
Introducing Corrina Hughes – Kokopelli Design Studio
Where did the “big idea” for your business come from?
I have systemic Lupus and other autoimmune issues. I have a lot of serious reactions to metals and other materials that people can wear without issue. I had to find a way to create jewelry that was safe for people (like me) to wear. Everything I made seemed to be received well……and here we are, years later.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I needed to create a business that was flexible with my chronic lifelong illnesses. Sometimes flare-ups can take me down without any warning. I’ve always been an independent person, so building a business from the ground up looked like my best option, especially at my age. It is important that I can work at my own pace while setting and achieving my own personal goals. I am highly driven and very motivated to succeed.
What obstacles did you face while creating your business and how did you overcome them?
Learning how to ask for help (when I really needed it) was a huge issue. I am the typical type A personality that HAS to control every single aspect of my business. There is nothing wrong with asking others for help. There is no shame in learning and growth. We all start somewhere. Make time to take care of yourself. I’ve gotten so much better about drawing boundaries and maintaining those boundaries.
How do you market your business? Which tactics have been most successful?
I am a live sale person – I love having conversations about the inspiration for product lines or materials. I have gone out of my way to create a relaxing, no-pressure shopping experience for my customers starting with my booth designs and table/product layouts. Shopping should always be something that is enjoyable and occasionally thought-provoking. Never aggressive. While I do maintain a website and I do have a specific online presence through various social media, nothing beats the back and forth of forging new customer relationships and maintaining relationships with repeat customers. You want each and every customer to walk away truly happy with the purchases they have made and the time they have chosen to invest into you and your brand.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
To put it bluntly…..I’m unorthodox in my methods and the many applications of said methods. I hover on the edge of traditional and quirky. It works for me. I also focus on affordability, great quality and creating exclusive collections. My intention going into this business was never to be everywhere for everyone. Collections should be special. Just like my customers.
Would you do anything differently if you could start your business over again? If so, what?
Recordkeeping !!!! Also……it is very easy to let your work life bleed into your personal life. You do not have to be friends with everyone, but it’s good to maintain a professional relationship. The business world is (and always will be) incredibly cutthroat, insecure and competitive. Make sure to surround yourself with people that you truly trust and people that are truly rooting for you. The wrong people can drag you down to such a low point. Set up personal boundaries and then maintain them. DO NOT ever set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own business?
Make sure that your goals and intentions are clear. What is your mission ? What are your goals ? Take care of all the formalities like your business licenses/permits and your taxes right away. I feel like Albuquerque is lacking in the support services/info department for small business owners. We can always do better. Also, stay true to who you really are. Do not be afraid to re-prioritize or to hone in on what you really want.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love cooking, music, traveling, photography, sports, reading, spending precious time with my family and I’m always happy to do nothing for an entire day.
To view the list of vendors who will be showcasing their items, or to get more information, please visit the WESST Event Page.
About the Author
Lorena Schott is a native New Mexican that brings a wealth of experience to the WESST team. Before joining WESST in 2009, she worked for Intel where she was acknowledged for her establishment of Intel’s centralized on-line system, rewarding and recognizing employees worldwide.