She Got Her Own: Nia McAdoo, Owner, Cocoa Babies
1 year ago
Positive messages made specifically for children of color
In this series, we're profiling women who have left their corporate jobs behind and launched their own businesses in the recession. They are balancing children, careers and relationships and manage to make being their own bosses look good.
The brainchild of Nia McAdoo, a former university administrator, Cocoa Babies promotes positive messages to black children, who might be less likely to hear such messages from the mainstream media. In this feature, we talk to Nia McAdoo about the origins of her business and why social media is a necessity for any small business owner.
Loop 21: What was the basis behind starting Cocoa Babies?
McAdoo: At the time, I was in graduate school, working toward my degree in higher education administration. This was about the time that Abercrombie & Fitch was really big and I would see teens in shirts that were just wrong, the messages were just borderline inappropriate. So I did my own research and went into stores. I looked around and saw that there was nothing for children of color, nothing that was positive. From then, Cocoa Babies was born.
Loop 21: What was the biggest hurdle in launching Cocoa Babies?
McAdoo: Not coming from a business background. It's great to have an idea, but unless you have the tools behind you, you're going to hit a lot of snags. When you start a business, you need to know the ins and outs. I made a lot of mistakes in the first year or two until I figured it out. I went to a local community college to figure out how to do screen prints. When I purchased my equipment and found out how to do it myself, I was able to negotiate better with wholesalers. They looked at me differently. I was able to use language they understood, and negotiate better prices. It's good to go ahead and get started, but I had to get serious and learn the business.
Loop 21: What's the best part of owning your business?
McAdoo: Cocoa Babies has been around long enough that every once in a while I will see someone in the product. The first time I saw someone in our product I ran up to them and asked, "Where did you get that shirt?" She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "A Web site named Cocoa Babies." It's an amazing feeling.
Loop 21: What's your key to balancing being a mom and wife with a new business?