Eczema is a skin condition that inflames the skin, causing rashes and other adverse effects. Eczema affects over 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association. Christina Fortune is one of those Americans suffering from eczema.
“My wife Christina has been a lifelong sufferer of eczema -- bad rashes, extremely dry skin, all of that stuff,” says Cordell Fortune, founder of Whipped Cream. She’s been prescribed drugs by doctors, things like topical steroids, but those come with some nasty side effects. Eventually, she did her research and created her own skin care product that became SheaMango.”
While SheaMango, Whipped Cream’s first line of skin care products, features a topical eczema cream, the majority of their product line aren’t just for those who suffer from skin problems.
“SheaMango is made of all-natural ingredients, free of any artificial substances or harmful chemicals,” says Cordell. “I believe it’s something that everyone can benefit from. Mothers can bring it home for themselves and their kids, nurses can use it to heal their hands that they have to scrub so many times a day, construction workers can use it to protect themselves from the elements… I just see so many applications.”
Beyond the shelf, Cordell wants to do more than just sell his product. “I want to help develop the entrepreneurship scene in Charlottesville, especially the African-American community,” Cordell says. “We really lack African-American owned businesses here in town.”
Cordell recently received a grant to help promote more African-American entrepreneurship. “I want to be the beginning of a new wave and find local talent to be the catalyst for that kind of change,” he says.
Cordell has had a hard time reconciling himself with the way others have perceived his move to entrepreneurship. “When you’re out there with people who don’t know about the entrepreneurship world, they’re like, ‘You’re really doing that? Are you sure?’” Cordell said, shaking his head.
“I left a corporate job that gave me a nice house, good money, and a lot of benefits. People didn’t understand why I gave that up to do my own thing. I think when people get comfortable, they start to lose sight of their true potential. They told me I was taking a step backward, and that made me laugh. I’m taking a step forward and chasing my dreams!” he said, grinning.
That’s why Cordell has loved every day at the iLab with other entrepreneurs. “Being in an environment where you know everyone is also brainstorming and building their own business means that no one’s looking at you funny,” he says.
“When I first heard about the iLab, I thought it wouldn’t be for me,” Cordell continues. “I’m someone who likes to take problems on by myself. But looking back on it, I would absolutely not be where I am today without that help.”
Through all of his work on Whipped Cream, Cordell has found a love for his job that many can only dream of. “I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was,” Cordell says firmly. “Working on Whipped Cream gives me a purpose. I wake up every morning and I know exactly what I’m going to be doing.”
If you’re interested in what Whipped Cream or what the SheaMango product line has to offer, you can read about and order SheaMango products here.
About The Founder
Cordell Fortune identifies himself as “a husband, a father, and a lifelong native of Charlottesville.” He started entrepreneurship early on -- as a teenager, he went door to door selling incense and essential oils that he bottled himself. Previously, Cordell worked in the hotel business for 6 years.
About the Author
Christopher Nelson is a rising second year at New York University in Shanghai, China. He has experience in business operations as well as legal research and contract work. Christopher is currently interning at the UVA Darden School of Business Innovation Lab this summer as an interviewer and journalist.