The River Shop is home for Nicole Janae

The River Shop serves for some as a soft entry into retail and direct to consumer markets. Housed inside of the former Cox Building in The River Market district, The Rock It! Lab, cohort participants benefit by understanding the true retailer experience.  Using nationally recognized curriculum and ultra-valuable, first-hand experiences from Rock It! Lab team members, participants study and eventually master the entire retail process – ordering, accounts payable, budgeting, accounting, merchandising, and all else. Participants have six months to merchandise their wares and obtain retail experience.

This was especially true for Nicole Janae, creator of Natural Joy by NJ. After a successful career in corporate America, Nicole began to experiment with wellness and personal care items – luxe moisturizing products for hair and skin. It began as a whim; Nicole participated in an outdoor marketing event hosted by the Rock It! Lab June 19, 2021. She was completely unprepared for what happened that day; a chance meeting with a Rock It! Lab team member led to a challenge that would double her financials earnings in a 1:1 match.

“At the end of the event, I was completely sold out of every product I brought. Every container of skin crème, slice of herb-infused soap, and bottle of hair product sold. I was so amazed and surprised that people would want to buy from me! And the unexpected challenge motivated me to work harder because I felt it was issued because of the belief in me as a new entrepreneur. I am so thankful.”

Through 1:1 business coaching, networking with other start-ups, and taking meetings in the co-working space, Nicole has expanded her presence by merchandising at The Green Corner Store, a local natural mainstay in the SOMA district of Little Rock and by using an e-commerce platform, Yet she still calls The River Shops home.

To qualify for residence in the River Shop, retailers must be enrolled in or have successfully completed the 12-week intensive incubator program. During the 12 weeks, participants incubate, meaning they are introduced to and actively practice proven, tested, tweaked, and perfected business strategies. Each strategy is tailored so that each business owners’ products and services make their way into the minds and hearts of consumers.

The River Shop is open to the public every Saturday from 10:00 until 2:00 or by appointment.