If I could aspire to inspire any movement it would be to provide free pads and tampons to young girls and women. Every woman deserves the right to have free feminine products as we cannot help that we get a menstruation every month. Approximately 21% of women had to make a decision in being able to buy food or feminine hygiene products this year which is completely sad. Menstrual hygiene is not a luxury and I would love to bring more awareness to this matter and one day form my own pad and tampon line to facilitate my own free items to women and young women all over.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dominique Penn. Dominique is a proud mother of three, an author and an entrepreneur. Penn, a Los Angeles native, operates a baby boutique by the name of Strollers & More, a charitable foundation and — as of a year ago — Discreepzips, a start-up company designed to help women privately discard their feminine products. Discreepzips is launching a global application this summer and intends to distribute scented, decorative bags as part of an organic feminine line.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Dominique! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in L.A/Inglewood with my mother and my grandfather with my grandma and family living walking distance from me. I didn’t grow up poor or super rich. I would say I was middle class. I had an amazing childhood. We had several bumps in the road, however, my family unit is so strong that a lot of stuff didn’t affect me. I am the only child from my mother, and I was spoiled rotten. She always made sure that I had everything. Every holiday in my household was fun. She would decorate the house for each holiday! From Valentine’s day to Christmas, my mom kept our home festive, and that has been the one thing that I have taken with me in my home! I love keeping my home festive and my children love it too. Not to mention cooking plays a really big part in my family. We can all throw down. My grandmother set the bar super high for us when it comes to the kitchen and we have been making her proud.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always wanted to do something in the feminine hygiene world. As I have gotten older and my babies are growing up, it’s been my goal to tap out of the baby industry and primarily focus on products for women. Once I finally had the time to actually put Discreezips into motion, I just went for it and dove straight in! Working on my app is something that I truly love doing and I have been developing for some years now. It has been a tough yet beautiful process.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I would have to say the most interesting thing that has happened to me since I began my career has been my divorce. I would’ve never thought that when I said I do, that I would be eventually living my life without that person. Life goes on though. You can’t cry over spilled milk. You just have to clean it up and keep it pushing. I am learning so many new things about myself that I didn’t know even existed. I love the woman that I am becoming especially on the business side of things.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake that I have made when starting my business was not having a team. I really thought that I would be able to do all of this by myself and save money. Yeah Right lol. Finding my team has been the hardest thing to do, however, with patience and persistence I have been able to finally nest in with my new team members.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My most excited project is absolutely my Discreezips app. This app will be a community that will host not only women but men as well. My app will allow my customers to bridge the cap in-between parents & their children, loved ones and surrogates. I have an ovulation mode for my future family planners. I also have a system that will help you track your significant other or surrogate moods, cravings, water intake etc. In addition, I have a Menopause mode for my more matured flowers (women) and a Garden report for my pre-teens to teens and so much more!! My app will allow parents to track their daughter’s periods as well. They will be able to set reminders to inform them on when to buy pads or tampons while browsing and engaging in our insight’s column. It is only a one-time fee of $3.99 and you will have unlimited access to the entire app as well as free upgrades. We will constantly provide free updates with cool new features free of charge. By downloading my app, it also gives my customers access to stroller raffles and free baby items! I am super excited about this.
I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
It is necessary to have diversity in the entertainment industry because it gives children confidence to aspire. Our world is not just one race. We are several races that make up the human race on this planet that we all live in. We all have a purpose. It is important to demonstrate that to children and give people hope. Providing relatable content is also very important. Things tend to get boring only seeing one race on television. The world is shifting. We have so much work to do but we are breaking barriers in the process with more people of many different backgrounds becoming directors and taking on more lead roles. I am so here for it!!
From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
Within the community & industry people can stop just being focused on the people that “made it”. Scout! There is so much talent in many communities all over the world that I know would be amazing on the screen. I feel that sometimes Hollywood replays the same people over and over again. There is nothing fresh and that is why often times they aren’t receiving the numbers that they are hoping for. The industry needs a “Scout Department” to constantly help bring in REAL talent not fake social media talent. Society needs to get off the wave of becoming a social media star and really focus on the talent that they possess. Use social media as a platform to get your actual talent out there.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone would’ve told me that I didn’t need to obtain an LLC right away to reserve a name. You can simply start a sole proprietorship that cost you nothing. When you establish an LLC or a Corporation, you automatically have to report sales etc. to prevent tax issues.
- Have a business plan. It is imperative that you have a business plan that includes checks and balances with a marketing strategy.
- Save money! Be sure to save money for your business separately from you own personal funds. Spending both sectors will not help your business survive.
- You do not need an office. Most people don’t even use office space anymore. Everything is done via skypes and emails. No one likes to sit in traffic anymore so that is also an area where you can cut cost. Although a HQ is nice, Is it necessary?
- You will lose a whole lot of sleep. My eyes sometimes get so tired where I have to take ice cream breaks just to get me through. I am sometimes up until 2:30 am working on my app then I have to wake up at 7am to take my children to school. It gets challenging but I tell myself, I will sleep when I can sleep on my dream yacht lol
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Do not get burnt out on trying to sell your product or services to social media. If your product or idea is lit, people will eventually know. Many people look at social media and think “What if I met this person or that person” it would help boost my business. People want to support the person. Sometimes they do not care about what your selling. They will buy it because it’s you.
As I always say, “Become the person that you would like to meet”. A hustle with some grace and a prayer can take you places. You just have to be willing to put the work in.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could aspire to inspire any movement it would to provide free pads and tampons to young girls and women. Every woman deserves the right to have free feminine products as we cannot help that we get a menstruation every month. Approximately 21% of women had to make a decision in being able to buy food or feminine hygiene products this year which is completely sad. Menstrual hygiene is not a luxury and I would love to bring more awareness to this matter and one day form my own pad and tampon line to facilitate my own free items to women and young women all over.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Honestly, it has been myself, my best friend Shaleena, my cousin Jessica and my sister Jahnee. They really help me keep my eye on the prize and totally gas me on my projects. I also have such a strong community of other business owners and women in my family and circle of friends who are also inspiring and motivational. They all really keep me uplifted and pour so much positivity into my soul.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Always go for self because sometimes all that you have is yourself”. I never knew why my grandpa use to tell me this. Every other day before I left for school, he would say that. I used to think it was so selfish for someone to only think about themselves. However, being an adult, I get it. I get why he says that still to this day, when everyone turns their back on you, when things fail, when people disappoint you, when life doesn’t add up… you have to remember who you are and your purpose in life. Always choose yourself. You will always get lost always choosing others.
Also — “I don’t give not one person that much power over my path that I’m walking. No one can make or break what I’m doing except me or God” ~NIP #TMC That quote is pretty self-explanatory. It’s my favorite.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would absolutely love to meet Mark Cuban & Tyler Perry. I have already met Barack & Michelle Obama amongst a few other people, so Mark & Tyler are the only ones left on my list. I would love to just pick their brains and discuss ideas and receive marketing tips for the projects that I am building. That would be a dream come true. Truly.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can follow me on Instagram @Dominiquepenn_ & twitter @DominiquePenn
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!