Channeling a lifelong entrepreneurial spirit, boundary-pushing fearlessness, and innate understanding of the nexus of technology, commerce, and culture, Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene consistently catalyzes the companies and brands under her purview. At the helm of multiple cash flow positive businesses, the Ohio-born entrepreneur, inventor, businesswoman, angel investor, and speaker has made history and emerged as a consumer thought leader in her own right. As the C.E.O. and Founder of PopCom, she pioneers the connection between e-commerce and vending machines, continuing a legacy of innovation and invention.
“The common thread throughout my career is the belief in using technology to create generational wealth and empower my community,” she explains. “Whether I’m using technology to help people discover events, raise money, or sell products, I’m leveraging the power of technology. Technology is more inclusive now, but I’ve never been intimated by being the only woman or black person in a room. I was always driven to be exceptional and to set an example for those that proceed me, to keep the bar very high.”
Dawn’s latest technological venture is PopShop Local – an innovative hybrid between e-commerce and local brick-and-mortar storefronts. PopShops not only give customers the option to purchase trusted local goods through an automated system but also offer e-commerce brands discoverability in local markets with real-time metrics, such as measuring consumer wants. Dubbed the “iPhone of vending machines”, PopShops utilize facial recognition to help retailers capture demographic information, machine learning to help deliver targeted content, and blockchain technology to enable identity verification and the sale of regulated products.
Popshops are currently located at The Beverly Center (Los Angeles, CA), The Metreon (San Francisco, CA), Columbus Airport (Columbus, OH), Windward Mall (Honolulu, HI), Tower City (Cleveland, Ohio), Hilton Midtown (New York, NY), and Concord Mills (Concord, North Carolina).
PopShop Local has partnered with a variety of black owned brands including Flat Out of Heels, which offers ultra stylish and comfortable roll-up flats for women which have been worn by celebrities including Lala Anthony, Meagan Good, Vivica Fox and Eva Longoria.
Other products offered include The Brow Dr’s Brow Growth Elixir, Soulflowe’s 100% pure natural bath products, Jelcie’s gel nail stickers and Brew and Feed’s creative tea flavors and spice blends. New York based feminie hygiene company Ruby Love has also partnered with PopShop to dispense their period protection apparel line. Ruby Love was founded by Crystal Etienne in 2015 and her innovation has been praised by outlets like People, Allure, Teen Vogue, Health, Cosmo, and SELF.
In the end, Dawn most importantly shines light through every venture.
“My job title is C.E.O., but I’m a lightworker, first and foremost,” she says. “Everything I do is aligned with that. With all of my different ventures, I want to encourage, empower, and inspire everyone I work with. I want to be a walking example of what hard work, tenacity, and not taking the popular path can be. I’m here to be a beacon of light and help raise the vibration of the planet by being a living example of the good we can be. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m an inventor. I’m a C.E.O. There’s so many communities and roles that could define me, but ‘lightworker’ embodies who I am as a spirit and soul.”