Nina Dongkeng

Founder of Globox Village

Nina is a Cameroonian immigrant who, almost a decade ago, moved to the U.S with pockets empty of American dollars but full of American dreams. Why? Because living the American dream as a black African immigrant was, oxymoronically, the only nightmare she was looking forward to.

She is a Master’s degree holder who has worked for various companies before fully embracing her true love, entrepreneurship. In 2019, she launched Globox Village, a subscription box company that makes Americans travel from the comfort of their homes. Each month, the company ships curated boxes full of products related to these niches: food & beverage, art & entertainment, fashion & beauty. Globox Village is proud to make the world local, one box at the time. Beyond this mission lies a genuine desire to spread out the idea of a human race who embraces diversity in order to achieve unity.

Nina is fluent in French, English and tasteful sarcasm. When she is not working on her growing business, you could find her mingling with the cool hipsters of Silverlake in Los Angeles.

She hopes you enjoy finding your purpose as she does and together, we could empower more full-time sheroes dream-chasers out there.

Where did the idea for Globox Village come from?

In 2016, I was working a 9-5 job where I was very unsure about my future. I spent the next 2 years punching in, writing a screenplay that got rave reviews but no funding and procrastinating on a business venture. One thing I surely didn’t do was take 2 weeks of uninterrupted vacation which seems to be the norm everywhere else. Apparently, I was not alone. About 59% of Americans are travel-deprived and businesses selling convenience seem to be a hit in the U.S. So in 2019, I dusted off my adventurer hat and launched my first business, Globox Village is a subscription box business that appeals to wanderlusters.

Each month, we ship curated boxes full of products related to our main niches (food & beverage, art & entertainment,fashion & beauty). Depending on the plan (Go local, Go continental, Go global) and the adventurer profile (Volunteer, Adrenaline junkie, Flashpacker or Nomad) the customers pick, we delight them with exotic items.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Upbeat music and motivational speeches help me start my day on a right note. Productivity not only means getting tasks done but also being a saleswoman for my business every time I get a chance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a daydreamer by nature so ideas typically come to me all day long. Taking any action right away helps me bring those ideas to life before they get replaced by new ones. It could be contacting potential partners, posting that catchy picture on my social media, running that promo, researching a topic. In my opinion, it is important to be a bit spontaneous and trust your gut instinct as much as possible when you are a founder.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Americans want convenience. From rideshare companies like Uber to subscription box businesses like Dollar Shave Club, it has been proven that this trend is here to stay.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I listen to motivational speakers almost every day to keep my morale up and get most of my work done at night when the distraction is almost non-existent.

What advice would you give your younger self?

We plan, God laughs. Trust the process, Young Nina.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Kids despite their lack of experience make great entrepreneurs because of their innocence. You need to be a bit naive about your business otherwise you’d be procrastinating forever like I did for many years. Sara Blakely seems to agree with me when she said that if she knew how much effort it was going to take her to build Spanx from the ground up, she would have probably given up on her dream.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Talk to yourself. It sounds silly but it works for me. Motivational speaker, Les Brown, once said sometimes the most intelligent conversations you’d ever have are with yourself.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Reaching out to communities of entrepreneurs women on GirlBoss community has helped me secure strategic partnerships and connect with like-minded ambitious women.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I launched Globox Village, I was not willing to pay for a website designer. By the same token, I was lacking the skills needed to build one on my own. I gave it a good try but getting acquainted with all the technical terms was definitely not the fun creative experience I was hoping for. So I hit a roadblock. Taking some time away from that project helped me come back with powerful ideas for my website.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Dating sites for pets owners. You’re welcome!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Helping out my family is my pleasure. When I send money to my dad, it is always a bitter-sweet feeling because I’m happy to help but also wish I could do more.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

First of all, I’m a sucker for free softwares because bootstrapping my business has been a constant battle. Trello keeps my creative thoughts organized.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Purple Cow by Seth Godin. In this day and age, it is crucial for a business to create a distinctive brand that stands out from the crowd. There’s so much noise out there and customers are overwhelmed with options.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”
― Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

Key Learnings:

  • Getting comfortable being uncomfortable is not OK.
  • Write down your hero’s journey and revisit your story every chance you get.
  • Failures are only failures if you don’t learn from them.