Passion Isn’t Everything: Ebony Cochran’s New Business Is Successful Even If It’s Not In Her Dream Industry
Ebony Cochran is only 28 and she’s already on her third business. An entrepreneur since middle school where she sold craft string to her schoolmates, Cochran transitioned to doing taxes at 20 and earned so much she says H&R Block is taking steps to acquire her business. Now putting her stake in the multi-billion-dollar black hair industry, Cochran is handling her business a little bit different. With Pure Strands, she’s not only selling extensions, with The Pure Network, she’s working toward building a support system for female entrepreneurs. For Cochran, whose passion doesn’t lie in string, taxes or hair per se, business is about empowering people to earn independence from working for someone else. We picked her brain for advice on how we can do it for ourselves too.
MadameNoire: So many people say you have to be passionate about the business you start, but you’re not necessarily passionate about the hair business. Why start Pure Strands?
Ebony Cochran: When I was doing taxes for over eight years, a lot of my family and a lot of my friends saw me make substantial income and they all wanted me to try to help them get in on a business so they could make a substantial income. But with the income tax business, it’s not like that. It’s not like you can just take somebody and they’ll make what you make.
So I started researching certain industries to try to figure out what industry… I [could] tap into where I could put those people in a position to make an income and the hair business just struck me. I mean, it’s a billion-dollar industry.
MN: How did you go about getting the idea off the ground?
EC: I started doing a lot of research. I started ordering from lots of vendors trying to see the quality because everybody claims to have the best hair… It took a lot of time, and a lot of money, and a lot of effort to even find a great vendor. …[N]ow I’m working on a distributorship program which will allow people to pay a small fee and the fee will just cover a website, 500 business cards, and it’ll get them started on making their own income, promoting their own brands.
…[W]e’ve got a great response just from marketing with the social media, doing the street marketing with flyers and sponsoring certain events. So I think it’ll be a good thing to help people start making their own income without having to pay all the money that I had to pay to get in because we carry the inventory for them. We do the shipping and everything for them.
MN: So, your passion, in a sense, is empowering other people to start businesses.
EC: Right. I love entrepreneurship. Like, I want everybody to be entrepreneurs. …[P]eople that have jobs—like, that’s a temp job because it’s like you’re building somebody else’s dream. You’re making somebody else their millions and their thousands of dollars, you know? I always want to empower people to step out and do [their] own thing; turn [their] passion into an income.