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West Orange Woman Turns Hobby Into Growing Business

Nicole Silva will sell her hand-made body products at four Whole Foods locations in New Jersey, including the store in West Orange.

West Orange Nicole Silva (Contributed photo)
West Orange Nicole Silva (Contributed photo)

A West Orange resident recently landed a contract to sell her hand-made body products in four Whole Foods locations in New Jersey.

Nicole Silva, a second-place winner of Rising Tide Capital’s 2013 Start Something Challenge, will sell hand-blended oils and scrubs, created with natural, organic ingredients at Whole Foods stores in West Orange, Madison, Paramus and Edgewater.

A year after winning the challenge, Silva's company, DollyMoo, has grown significantly. She used her $7,500 cash prize to design new labels and update her packaging to meet FDA standards.

“We are so excited about this opportunity," Silva said. "This is going to give us great credibility and the exposure we need to increase our customer base. Over the next few weeks we will be making appointments with other Whole Foods’ locations with hopes of being in more stores. We are ready to spread the love with DollyMoo."

Silva started DollyMoo in 2010, after creating hand-made body scrubs for herself, family and friends. When she received positive feedback and encouragement to start a business and increase production, she enlisted her sister Amy to help change her hobby into a business. 

Silva was inspired by her experience in the Start Something Challenge to enroll in RTC’s Community Business Academy where she learned business skills needed to expand and market her business.

“While participating in The Start Something Challenge, I gained so many valuable skills and established connections at Rising Tide Capital that inspired me to take the CBA. I spoke with CBA graduates who had raving reviews and were starting their businesses," Silva said. 

“I’d been searching for a business class for a while and taking the CBA seemed like a natural choice. Through the class, I became more confident in running my business, learned how to balance my finances and expanded my network.” 

Now in its third year, the Start Something Challenge business pitch competition was officially launched on May 19 with more than $30,000 in cash and prizes. More than just a pitch competition, participants also receive the opportunity to network, perfect an elevator pitch and gain visibility for their business venture.

The competition is free to enter and open to any New Jersey resident over 18 years old, who operates a business earning less than $250,000 annually, or has a strong business idea. For more information, click here.

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