Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County Businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Ninoshka Lopez. Nino is the owner of My Little Coconuts, a Waukegan-based, online custom invitation and card service.
In this age of Pinterest and blogs (both of which I’m slightly addicted to), birthday parties and events are becoming more personal and unique. When I was a kid, my mom went to great lengths to make our birthday parties as special and one-of-a kind as we were. Now, as a mom myself, I hope to do that for my kids without overwhelming myself in the process. I found that Ninoshka Lopez, a local mom from Waukegan, has that same desire! Originally from San Jose, Toa Baja in Puerto Rico, she moved to the states when she was three years old. A single mom to two kids, ages ages 10 and 1-1/2, she created her own business so that she could spend more time at home with them.
Her website, My Little Coconuts, creates incredible, custom online party invitations and cards to take some of the hassle out of party planning. She tells us,
The catalyst to start my business was my daughter’s first birthday party, but the the talent and creativity was always there. As a single mother at 18, I would spend weekends taking pictures of my newborn son and composing music videos and editing his photos. Self taught!
This became a hobby and then a passion. I feel free when I create and teach myself something new. My daughter had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse-themed party and I searched for paper invitations that featured all the stars of the show but yet feminine enough for a girl. I couldn’t find any. I searched big-name retailers with no luck. I then began assisting a friend with a website and social media when it hit me: Why don’t I just make my own digital version with the colors and styles I wanted and make it easy to share…like a “website.”
With multiple families to reach, sending a group text or a link that will also catch R.S.V.P.s as they sign up was the easiest way to go, as most people are on their phones and tablets constantly already….and voila! My Little Coconuts was born. It wasn’t until a month later that I was approached by someone to do the same for their Spiderman-themed party. It was as simple as that! I will be going back to school for marketing in the spring to assist me in my new venture as I want to learn as much as I can. All feedback whether good or bad has helped me.
Instead of selecting a pre-made template from a website, your electronic invitation is designed for you, including adding your own photos, animated graphics, and the music of your choice. Because she works from home, Nino’s kids also get to have a hand in her business.
My son is 10 years old and my biggest critic. I usually show him the drafts for the invitations before I send the draft to the parents.
And since Nino is a parent herself, she runs her business with the mindset of a mom.
My business is ran with parents in mind. I understand the need to reach as many people as possible, especially when planning an event and dollars are being spent. This is the model we are built on….give the parents an online invite that gets the guests excited to come before they even arrive!
In addition to going back to school for marketing, this mompreneur has great big plans for My Little Coconuts.
My goals are to expand the business and partner with businesses, DJ’s and other local hotspots and clubs to create events for parents with younger children that will also benefit a local charity or cause. We all need to give back somehow. We are currently looking for venues and sponsors for our first event which will be held early next year! We have just partnered with another company who houses balloon parties for kids. We are very excited!
If you’re looking ahead, Nino has offered a discount to Little Lake County readers through the month of December. Stay tuned later in the month to see the ADORABLE invitations that My Little Coconuts made for my daughters’ ballet bash. Not only did they save me money and hassle, they represented my girls’ personalities and our guests loved them!
Check back next week as Nino steps in as guest editor!
My Little Coconuts
Disclosure: My Little Coconuts is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.