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How being Misdiagnosed led to a Natural Skin Care Line and a Pandemic-Proof Business Model

Pooka.jpg
Dawn Fitch
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Dawn Fitch

Vice President Kamala Harris reported that one third of the small businesses in the United States have closed due to the pandemic. At this time there’s no way to officially confirm that number but, the impact COVID has had on entrepreneurs cannot be denied. I had the opportunity to speak with New Jersey native and founder of Pooka Pure and Simple Dawn Fitch about her pandemic proof approach to business.

"If you’re an entrepreneur you need to build a community. Because my community The Best Life tribe saved me during the pandemic. My people couldn’t come in and make stuff. Who’s ordering now? So I was like I’m just going to go into service mode. Went into the tribe I was talking about seamoss. They’re like “oh, do you sell seamoss?” I was like no I don’t sell it. I don’t want to but if you want me to make you a kit ,i’ll make you a kit. Send me your email. I got 69 emails that night. I opened up Pooka. I put the seamoss kit on Pooka. I had elderberry syrup kits. They went over there in droves. They bought seamoss and a body butter. Seamoss and a perfume. They told me what they wanted and I was able to implement into my business."

Pooka Pure and Simple was truly created out of necessity. Before Dawn was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she was misdiagnosed, told she was healthy and sent home for years. Thats when Dawn’s healing journey began and she took her health into her own hands.

"The information was so exciting to me I just wanted to share it. Hey guys guess what. With olive oil you can do this. Guess what, you can take sugar and do this. Guess what, honey, you can drink it and it’s great. It’s antibacterial. I was learning so much I was just all in. I wanted everybody else to be all in. So jus I made products. Somebody I was like, “I have this problem.” I’ll make you something. I’ll make you a balm for that. I was really against vasaline even though we grew up on it. But it’s petroleum! It’s what we put in our cars. It clogs your pores. It doesn’t do anything. Most of it winds up on the inside of your clothes. It has no nutritional value. So I made something called “elbow grease”. A natural alternative. Like I said, all this stuff was just for me but the graphic artist in me said put a label on this. My mom called us her “Pookalitas”. We have no idea where that came from. We still ask her. She don’t even know why. We’re like where did that come from. I couldn’t fit in on the label so I just Pooka on it."

Dawn’s business savviness is homegrown. Her father, Howard fitch, laid the foundation for what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

"He sat us all down on the couch and he gave us this little chart. “Guys we’re gonna start a family business”. We’re like ok. But when he put the money up there like “if we do this and work hard”… and he showed us the levels, “we”ll get to here. Here’s $10,000. Here’s $20,000.” Somewhere it jumped to $1 million and our eyes were like WOW. He also showed how gradually with work we’ll grow. He said we’re not going right to a million. “We gotta do the work. And if we all do our part and do the work then you will see.” I think it’s just that visual of seeing, do the work elevate. Do the work elevate."

Pooka Pure and Simple has been operating for 20 years. One of the secrets to Dawn’s success is teamwork.

"Building support and a team is just as important as having your business. But like I said it doesn’t have to be family. Make an effort to find some support. Whatever it looks like. Because that carries you on the days you’re like I’m done. I wanna give up. When you have that team that’s like, come on! No, you can do it. My joke is always, two more week. Cause I’m lie I’m done I’m finished. Then something will happen and I’m like I’m going to do this for two more weeks. I’ve been “two weeking” it for 21 years."

The road to a fulfilling life can be complicated and lonely. Some days you will have to be your own support system. Damn shares how she keeps herself motivated & inspired.

"If you’re driving in your car and you’re on your way to work, I just want you to know, 1st of all, your thoughts control everything. What you think in this moment will guide your entire day. Think good thoughts. Think positive thoughts. That has helped me through the whole entrepreneur journey. Shift your thinking. When I get up in the morning and it’s a beautiful day I try to keep that focus. If you’re in your car or anywhere else, remember the power of you. Say a wonderful I am statement. You are what? I am powerful. I am a motivational, inspirational uplifting educational entertaining entrepreneur speaker and leader to millions! Every morning I say it. Say your morning affirmations and get your day started. That is super important to me. And that will guide your whole day."

To learn more about Dawn Fitch visit http://pookapureandsimple.com

For the WBGO Journal, I am James Frazier, in Newark.

The interview feature is part of the Newark News & Story Collaborative made possible with funding support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Victoria Foundation. The Newark News and Story Collaborative trains community members in storytelling, media-making, and other creative art forms to share and amplify their experiences. It’s laying the groundwork for a collaborative network that will address longstanding information inequities in Newark, New Jersey. For more information and stories, visit newarkstories.com.