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Marx and Amber Succès of Côtier Brand: “Trust your guts”

On a broader sense if diverse executive teams were the norm then we’d witness higher self-esteem within ethnic groups, more widespread empathy, more understanding and more appreciation for differences in our culture. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewingMarx and Amber Succès. Marx Succès’ passion for entrepreneurship began during his college years at Purdue University, where […]

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On a broader sense if diverse executive teams were the norm then we’d witness higher self-esteem within ethnic groups, more widespread empathy, more understanding and more appreciation for differences in our culture.


I had the distinct pleasure of interviewingMarx and Amber Succès.

Marx Succès’ passion for entrepreneurship began during his college years at Purdue University, where he earned his degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Building successful businesses, like engineering at its core, is a matter of strategic and imaginative problem-solving. This problem-solving mindset helped create the vision to start Côtier Brand, along with his wife, Amber. Before launching their brand, Amber served as an FBO Manager in the private aviation sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Purdue University and a Commercial Pilot License.

Together as founders of Côtier Brand, Amber and Marx help people celebrate life’s special moments by building a highly successful line of home-entertaining and party products that complement any gathering. They enabled the everyday hostess with the ability to create unforgettable events through the power of human connection. Côtier Brand has become synonymous with authentic, imaginative fun for events of any occasion to truly make them a big hit by offering innovative products designed to create meaningful and inspiring interactions. Reaching customers worldwide through their website, Amazon.com, and Target.com, Côtier Brand has become a rising star in the event planning space. It continues to innovate and develop new products for hosts and hostesses everywhere.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Marx and Amber — After our first child’s birth, Amber left corporate America and sought ways to utilize her experience and expertise to continue working from home. We set our sights on innovating in the baby shower game space and decided to launch our product through Amazon because it presented the best opportunity to reach the most potential customers. We put a unique twist on baby shower lottery scratch-off cards that made them more modern and an all-around conversation piece. From there, we expanded our product line to more party and home-entertaining products that inspire connection and relationship-building. Some of our biggest highlights of running this company have been securing an online retail partnership with Target, being featured in Popsugar and Black Enterprise, and most importantly, receiving pictures and videos of customers using our products at events.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

(Amber) The most exciting story I have since starting this new career was when I hopped on a paid 1-hour workshop for eCommerce Sellers. Before the online event began, we all went around and introduced our brand and products. The workshop host nearly screamed with excitement during my turn because she was already familiar with our brand and products. Interestingly enough, she was currently in the process of planning her sister’s baby shower. This moment was surreal to both of us because she knew our product before she even knew us. The world felt so small at that moment.

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?

(Marx) When we first set out to transform baby showers, we initially created a kit, which was pretty much a box full of games that the hostess could use for her baby shower. Our original Did Baby Poopie? game was included and featured within the kit. Still, I grossly miscalculated how many needed to be printed to accompany the kits we were making, and it was funny because of how much time we spent deciding to pursue this. We were only making five kits to start, and there was no reason for the excess. I am an engineer, and my math was just off that day. As a result, we had hundreds of extra game cards! This led to a decision to package the game independently to sell off the remaining units, and the rest is history — I guess it is hard to call this one a mistake.

Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important for a business to have a diverse executive team?

Diversity on the executive level is so critical to long-term business success because it inherently creates 3 sustainable sources of competitive advantage. Any company can differentiate their products and innovate but eventually other competitors will catch up with them. As a result you have to find sustainable sources of competitive advantage that give you the opportunity to capitalize on something others can’t do or aren’t willing to. The first source of sustainable competitive advantage would be the ability to empathize with your customers more than your competition which is difficult to organically achieve if the backgrounds and experiences of your team aren’t culturally diverse. The second source of sustainable competitive advantage builds on the first which would be the ability to learn faster than your competitors by being able to understand and empathize with your customer base because your team shares the experiences of that base. And last but not least the third source of sustainable competitive advantage would be the ability to communicate more effectively to the marketplace which builds on the first two. When all are put together it creates an invisible moat around a company or brand that’s difficult to penetrate.

More broadly can you describe how this can have an effect on our culture?

On a broader sense if diverse executive teams were the norm then we’d witness higher self-esteem within ethnic groups, more widespread empathy, more understanding and more appreciation for differences in our culture.

Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in executive leadership?

One of the first or main things that can be done is to have a better sense of self-awareness for the current “diversity” status of the organization. Secondly, conducting an honest internal assessment as to why your company has created a homogenous environment which may have stemmed from both invisible and visible biases. Thirdly, educating all levels within an organization as to why diversity is not only good for society, but more profitable for the organization which can be very motivating for companies.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

We define leadership as the ability to grow and cultivate the talent beneath you to their highest potential. For example, a true leader doesn’t merely make sure the day to day and quarterly objectives are met but that they model and challenge their team to pursue excellence in everything they do. The greatest marking of a strong leader is their ability to create and cultivate leaders beneath them so that they’re ready ascend within the organization or elsewhere.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

The 5 things I wish someone would of told me when I first started all center around self-awareness and intuition. The first thing would be to come to terms that most people need structured accountability in place so that important tasks get executed within your business. Secondly, everything doesn’t matter in business which translates to the fact that generally 80% of the results you experience are a result of 20% of your actions, so find that 20%. Thirdly, bad health habits promote weak business performance because you can only go so long off of poor nutrition and no sleep before it negatively impacts your concentration, creativity, and stamina in the marketplace. Fourthly, be obsessed with your customer and if possible become your customer so you can better understand them and therefore market to them more effectively. Lastly, trust you gut when it comes to brand partnerships and product development because going the wrong direction can cost you in the areas of finances, reputation and speed of success.

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. 🙂

(Marx) I believe that, as a whole, social media has added more unnecessary stress to our lives. People are so caught up in pretending instead of living their lives. If I were to start a movement, it would be centered around “intentionality” and filling your life with more experiences that you crave, people you love, movements that inspire you, and food that makes you smile.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

(Marx and Amber) “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…” James 1:19

We have learned that in business, the best thing you can do is listen. The feedback from our customers guides our product decisions as brand owners. Many entrepreneurs make too many assumptions about their customers instead of working on listening to them.

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. 🙂

(Marx) I would love to have time with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. His work thoroughly inspires me with the Whole Planet Foundation, and I would 100% utilize time with him to understand how he built such an impactful organization. My father is from Haiti, and with him, we operate a non-profit (Good Success Foundation) dedicated to enriching Haiti and various other locations with sustainable economic solutions. His views in Conscious Capitalism resonate with me.

(Amber) What Ayesha Curry is building with Sweet July is precisely aligned with our vision for our products. I would love to collaborate with her one day as I feel we have so much in common, but she just doesn’t know it yet.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram @cotierbrand

https://www.facebook.com/cotierbrandofficial/
https://www.pinterest.com/cotierbrand/

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!


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