App State student launches body positive online business

Sam+Cole+wearing+her+pinky+promise+shirt+design.+Cole+started+her+online+store%2C+My+Kinda+People%2C+to+be+an+inviting+business+that+empowers+others.

Courtesy of Sam Cole

Sam Cole wearing her pinky promise shirt design. Cole started her online store, My Kinda People, to be an inviting business that empowers others.

Lily Kincaid, Reporter

In search of a creative outlet but limited by the pandemic, one App State student joined the growing number of online small businesses to sell her artwork and spread kindness.

Sam Cole, a senior at App State majoring in theater arts, started her first small business shortly after quarantine began. Based on Etsy, Creative Flower Co. was a place for Cole to sell products that she designed, such as stickers and acrylic signs.

However, one month ago, Cole decided to sell her designs on clothing. This led to My Kinda People, a small business separate from Creative Flower Co. that allows Cole to have a “more focused and more intentional” place to sell her clothing, she said.

“With My Kinda People, I really wanted to create an inviting space for everyone to come and be themselves,” Cole said. “I am a very big advocate for equal rights for every person, so I just really wanted to create a space and a business that leads with that.”

Cole named the store after the quote “kind people are my kind of people.” With her shop, She said she wanted to create inspiring and inviting clothing that is empowering and fashionable but also comfortable.  

My Kinda People officially launched on March 8 with six T-shirt options, four sticker designs and three mason jar coffee mugs. Currently, the shirt sizes range from small to 2XL, but Cole hopes to add more size options in the future. 

The T-shirt designs include sayings such as “Every Body is Beautiful” and “Treat Yourself with Kindness,” as well as a pinky promise design of two interlocked fingers. The pinky promise design serves as a reminder to keep your promises to others, but also to keep a promise of self-love to yourself, Cole said.

“I’ve sort of been calling this launch collection the ‘self-love’ collection,” Cole said. “When someone sees me wear this shirt, I want them to know that they’re safe with me.”

My Kinda People’s core values — kindness, equality and self-love — are things that Cole has been passionate about for a long time, said Angie Coleman, her mother. Coleman said her daughter has always been an advocate for body positivity and female empowerment.

“She’s a strong advocate for a lot of different things,” Coleman said. “I think it’s wonderful that she stands up for what she believes in.”

Cat Denton, one of Cole’s classmates, has supported Cole’s business from the get-go. She bought stickers from Creative Flower Co. in the past, and she plans to buy the “Mom, I Am a Rich Man” mason jar mug that is currently available on the My Kinda People website.

“Shops like Sam’s encourage uniqueness and authenticity, which I love,” Denton said. “It’s a big reason I love her stuff so much, because it empowers me as not only a woman, but a person.”

Cole is very active on the store’s Instagram account, which she uses to not only post updates about the store but to also spread her business’s message further, including posts on intersectional feminism and the importance of being kind to yourself. 

“Even though some days I look down on my own body, it’s a reminder to me when I look at myself in the mirror that I am beautiful,” Cole said. “Everyone is beautiful, every body is beautiful — not just the bodies that are portrayed in the media most frequently.”