BIPOC Kids Everywhere See Themselves Represented In Denise Butler’s Melanin-Inspired Apparel, Cocoa Cuties

Denise Butler of Cocoa Cuties is empowering youth and families globally with her brand. She is providing melanin-inspired apparel, home decor, and more for infants and children. BIPOC kids everywhere are able to see themselves represented in her product line. We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Denise.

What do you think is the importance of melanin representation for kids? 

Melanin representation is important for kids because ultimately while words have power, Visuals are Powerful! Unfortunately, we as a people are oftentimes limited by what and who we see in the mainstream. However, we are a diverse people, not only by who we see in the mirror but also by our interests as well. That’s why it is important for me that my brand shows kids visually that they can do, aspire to be, and even imagine themselves doing the things they enjoy and can relate to. Melanin representation for kids is about opening up their minds and building their self-esteem so as they grow up, they know they have endless possibilities.

Please provide us with some home decor and apparel tips parents should consider for kids?

For home décor for kids, instead of painting walls to add color, do it with pillows, bedding, and wall décor so that as they get older or their interests change, it will be easier to redecorate. For instance, this year, I’ll be adding wall décor pieces like canvas and tapestries that can be personalized and be used to create that focal point in their rooms.

For apparel tips- It’s important for kids’ clothing to be not only cute but comfortable as well. For Cocoa Cutie, it was important for me to create beautiful designs but also to make sure the clothing was comfortable and durable for kids to play and have fun.

How has your journey been so far maintaining a Black-Owned, Woman-Owned brand?

My journey as a black-owned, women-owned business has been a ride. I started Cocoa Cutie years ago and basically had to learn everything on my own. It has been hard at times, but it has always been important to me that I keep going because what I’m doing has an important purpose.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

I get the most enjoyment from drawing and creating products for kids. When I’m out at the gift shop where my items are in or at an event selling, it gets me every time when I see a little girl or little boy run-up to my products and their eyes are just beaming with happiness! I did a few events in Charlotte this summer and at one of the first events I did I remember these two little girls, maybe 7 or 8 coming up to my table, they were just looking but didn’t buy anything. Well, I did an event a couple of weeks ago and these same little girls are there also and this time they come up to my table again, but now they are picking the purses they wanted and then reaching into their wallets and handing me their payment! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every sale that I receive for my brand, but it just hits differently when it comes from a child.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m adding a pajama line to Cocoa Cutie, the first run will be here just in time for Christmas! I’m also adding wall décor pieces this year.

What is a super fun fact you think most people don’t know about you?

I’m a self-taught artist and I was inspired to create Cocoa Cutie because of a tutu.

What else can we be on the lookout for from you?

I have a few things in the works. I always get asked if I have a book, while I have coloring books, I don’t have an actual book, so this is something I am working on, so be on the lookout for that. Also, I’m looking to start up a subscription box/club for kids, as well as extending my baby line.

How can our readers keep up to date with all you have going on?

Readers can find us on and can reach me at [email protected]. Also, I am on Instagram and Facebook at @cocoacuties and I will be adding a TikTok and YT channel soon!



(The photographer is Latora Johnson)

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