Meet Annika Cox. She is an entrepreneur who recently decided to take a lifelong passion and turn it into her new business, ANNIKADECOR.
Annika has had a successful career working in downtown Boston at the Fed. Along with her commitments to her work, faith, and community, she has steadily nurtured her various passions, including transforming spaces with her natural “eye” for décor. She has also developed her own line of aromatic sprays and wax melts for added home ambiance.
2020 proved to be the year that pushed her toward her dreams. A close friend challenged her to get serious about her passion, and she listened. She decided to build a website and begin selling her homemade household accents. Let’s find out more about what has inspired her here:
RCG: Hi Annika! It’s so great to see you and talk to you! I’ve missed you. You were always one of my favorite patients and people to see every year when I worked downtown at my practice!
Annika: Tricia!!! Or should I say, Dr. Rose! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate it. I can’t wait to catch up! You’ve missed so much since moving to the West Coast. Put on your seat belt, sister!
On the moment she knew – “I can do this!”
RCG: I want to start right away by diving into your new venture, ANNIKADECOR. I’ve looked at your website, and your items are unique and beautiful. Tell me more about your passion for starting this business.
Annika: First off, thank you so much for the compliment. If I look back to my childhood, I see so many clues that speak to this very moment in time. I’ve always loved working with my hands. Especially if it meant I could transform the mundane into something beautiful.
So over the years, I began developing my skillset from being a hairdresser to recycling flea market finds to conducting home improvement projects. I was also dabbling in real estate and a few entrepreneurial ventures while retaining a sense of security by maintaining a stable full-time job.
Although I’ve always wanted to be financially independent, the security of a stable job always kept me bound, so to speak. Then one day, I walked into a boutique and saw a candle and thought, “I could do that.” Who knew it would be easier said than done, but the desire to make candles turned into a love of all things aromatic.
Not only do I get to work with my hands, but I am also able to transform someone’s space by making it more beautiful, welcoming, and tranquil with fragrance. That’s a win/win/win, and yet I’m just getting started.
How sometimes we need a push from that friend who knows us.
RCG: Wow – so this has always been your hobby. It’s hard to make that leap. Sometimes I guess you have to do just that – take a leap of faith and go for it!
Annika: Exactly! I needed my friend to give me a push. We can go on and on talking about the importance of having solid friends in your corner. Those that can truly speak into you when you can’t seem to move beyond a certain point. Too often, we’re the ones pushing, encouraging, and holding up our friends and family.
Meanwhile, who’s doing the same for us? But I digress. So yes, he challenged me to get out of my own way and to just do it! For years I had been hampered by that little devil called perfectionism, but he reminded me that the very companies I admired didn’t start out having it all together.
If I wanted to have this one-stop-shop for all things décor that I dreamed about, I had to take the leap, or else I’d still be here next year planning to launch. So now that I’ve moved beyond talking about it to actually doing it, I can say that I’m relieved and proud of myself at the same time. The power of friendship is truly life-changing.
More on the beautiful and unique products that she makes:
RCG: Yes – it is! Tell me more about these gorgeous products.
Annika: Well, I started making candles back in 2018, but after getting stuck on which vessel to use, I decided to put the candles on pause and started making wax melts. I didn’t know at the time that wax melts were such a popular item. It makes sense when you think about it, though.
They are safer than candles due to the lack of a flame, and the various warmers I carry can add a bit of décor to every room just as a candle would. I release new scents regularly and just updated the site with Spring and Summer scents. My favorite at the moment is Lavender Vanilla.
From there, I delved into room sprays, or what I like to call Aromatic Sprays. I had to get a little fancy. Lol, I just thought about what feeling I wanted to experience when trying to decide on my inaugural scents. I’m an immaculate and tidy person, so I definitely wanted a scent that’s reminiscent of a clean house. I also wanted a scent that could be a bit more sensual, masculine even. In the end, I went with Lemongrass and Frankincense and Myrrh.
Given my first passion is hair, I had been making hair oil for years and decided to tweak the formula into a beard oil. It has been a great seller, and the two scents are delicious: Citrus and Teakwood and Berries and Cedarwood.
As for the candles, I finally decided to make my own vessels out of concrete. I began sourcing my molds, testing wax and wicks, et cetera. Let’s just say the R&D phase is ongoing as I truly want to give my customers a beautiful, well-made, yet safe product. So stay tuned!
RCG: What are your goals for the business? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Annika: Well, in five years, I plan to be a wife, mother, and full-time entrepreneur with ANNIKADECOR items in stores worldwide. My offerings will have expanded beyond aromatics to furniture, clothing, accessories, and consulting services. I want every household in America and beyond to have at least one ANNIKADECOR item in it.
RCG: That’s fantastic! We need role models like you who are willing to make big changes in their lives and turn toward the direction of their dreams. I feel like we often waste so much time settled in jobs, relationships, etc. when we always choose to make a change.
Honoring that change takes strength and courage; it’s all part of the journey.
Annika: Ohh, but the optimal word is change. Change can be tough, so it’s important to begin cultivating that muscle early in life. I can say that my decision to study abroad in college cemented my affinity for change. Once I survived that experience, I became a bit more fearless and changed locales, careers, passions, etc.
Yet, it took me decades to feel comfortable enough to choose to become a solo business owner. I’ve had business partners in the past. Still, ANNIKADECOR is my first solo venture and the one that will solidify my financial independence and build a legacy for generations to come.
On giving back by using her degree in finance to support others in developing a healthy relationship with their finances.
RCG: You also mentioned that you enjoy working with Black women in your community by helping them to understand their finances better. Can you tell me more about this work?
Annika: Sure. If you know me well, you know that I have a passion for helping others. Especially other Black women as it relates to pushing past a poverty mentality to building financial stability and legacy. Now, you may think that only poor people have a poverty mentality, but that could be farthest from the truth.
I’ve met plenty of successful people with this mindset. My undergrad degree is in Finance, and for years I volunteered as a tax preparer and financial counselor for low to moderate-income families. I also taught a financial literacy course at my former church. I really get excited about helping my clients identify their relationship with money, how that relationship has shaped their lives, and how to leave old ways of thinking to establish a new mindset.
It’s not easy work, but it’s wonderfully fulfilling when you see a client pay off a credit card that has been lingering for over a decade. The sense of joy is overwhelming.
RCG: There is such a need for more support. How can people ever really turn their finances around if they don’t get the personalized help they need?
Annika: Believe it or not, there are so many resources out there. It really comes down to are you willing to make a change? Since we’ve already established change is difficult, finding a support system to help facilitate and maintain that change is imperative. No one can be the best version of themselves by living on an island.
We are all connected. So commit to change, educate yourself, find your supporting cast, and take action. The future will thank the current you in spades!
RCG: Do you have plans to do more work in this area?
Annika: I do! This is certainly my life’s work. I want to build a system that will allow me to help people beyond my one-on-one sessions. I also have plans to write several financial stewardship books. It will all happen in time.
Her faith is what fuels her every day
RCG: One more thing, I want to take a moment to discuss your faith. I know how important this is to you. Can you share a meaningful passage? I would like to know more about what fuels you in your day-to-day life.
Annika: One of my favorite scriptures is Luke 4:18, where Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;” This is how I live out my life on a day-to-day basis. Expressing the love of Jesus to all that will have it.
RCG: Thank you so much for sharing your story! Check out her site, ANNIKADECOR.com. Browse and purchase items directly for shipment anywhere in the USA. Also, follow her journey on Instagram here, Annikadecor.
Annika: Thank you so much for having me!