Serial Entrepreneur Daybreak Dickson Launches PopShop Native
Serial entrepreneur and inventor Dawn Dickson recently launched PopShop Local, an innovative contactless retail experience that uses unused space in hotels, airports and convention centers. Dickson, a SnapChat finalist for the 2020 Rising PayTech Star Award with the 2020 OBWS Entrepreneur of the Year Award, continues on her journey to revolutionize the way we think about vending machines.
BLACK COMPANY had the opportunity to speak to Dawn Dickson about PopShop Local, black women in STEM, and raising capital.
What is PopShop Local?
PopShop Local is a program that enables small businesses to sell their products in hotels, airports and convention centers. PopShop, a smart vending machine that also displays ads and measures customer loyalty, will be positioned in the public areas of participating hotels in the United States. Local brands can apply for placement in one of these machines, which could allow them to have a physical retail store without the expense of maintaining a brick and mortar store. It’s a convenient way for customers to find highly curated local souvenirs and products. PopShop Local currently has pilots with AC Hotel, JW Marriott, and has won a pilot with Virgin Hotel.
How do you suggest small businesses raise capital?
In the last 20 years I have raised money in almost every way and live by the “whatever means necessary” way of thinking. From friends and family to bootstrapping and pitch competitions to scholarships and accelerator programs – you name it, I did it. What I learned is that you need to be flexible in your approach, but most importantly, understand who your potential investors are based on the stage your business is in. The further you wait for institutional capital to be raised, the better deals and conditions you will get on the money.
What happens is that entrepreneurs lose property and equity if they take money too early on terms that are not beneficial to them in the long run. It was my fault. Before taking any money, have a clear understanding of the terms of the money, what to give up, and what it means to you if you want to get out. Be very strategic about the money you are taking. A mentor of mine told me it’s not about the money you make, it’s about the money you can walk away from, that tells you where you are.
What advice do you give black women as they develop, grow, and scale their businesses?
- Understand your industry inside and out. Always be up to date with industry trends and forecasts.
- If you have a plan, write it down and revisit it every year. Have a deep understanding of your finances and forecasting. Know how to make money and grow. What do you need to be fully functional? This means how you pay yourself, what your marketing budget, your hiring budget, and your research and development costs are.
- Have an endgame. Don’t underestimate you Do you want a $ 100,000, $ 1, or $ 10 million deal? Knowing what you want and where you want to grow can help you come up with the right plan.