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Starting A BIPOC Business feat. Akua Konadu

Building a business with intention is the key to creating a unique, thoughtful, and successful brand. When Akua Konadu and her mom decided to build a gift boxing brand, they knew that it would be created with that intenionality. Ama and Akua is a mother-daughter, black-owned, inclusive gift box brand containing products from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators. In today’s episode, Akua takes us on that journey, shares the types of products her gift boxes contain, but most importantly, tells us about the creators behind those boxes!

Branded by Bernel Podcast is brought to you by Bernel Westbrook, lead designer and founder of Branded by Bernel, a design studio dedicated to building strong brands and Showit websites for creative entrepreneurs.

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Today’s episode is brought to you by Ama and Akua, an inclusive gift box brand! Get 10% off your first order with code BERNEL10 at

Starting A BIPOC Business

After the murder of George Floyd, many businesses and brands took swift action to be more inclusive and supportive of the BIPOC community. One common statement that Akua heard within the creative industry was that they couldn’t find creators of color for specific goods or services. This challenged her to do the work and find those people (but also the sassy side of her wanted to prove that a simple Google search could find BIPOC and LGBTQ+ business owners).

Naming Ama & Akua

Akua’s family is from Ghana, which comes with rich history and culture. As a first generation born in the US, Akua has both an American name (Alexis) and a Ghanaian name (Akua, meaning Wednesday). Her mother’s American name is Doris and her Ghanaian name is Ama (meaning Saturday). Ama’s motivation behind this brand was to build a legacy for her family.

That legacy is what ultimately led to them naming the company after their Ghanian names, Ama and Akua.

Selecting Products Based on Value

One of Akua’s values in the business is only sourcing products they actually use and love, but also finding vendors that align with their core beliefs. Through special occasions and holidays, Ama and Akua plan to highlight all heritages, ethnicities, and marginalized communities! Right now, the have three boxes that highlight BIPOC and LGBTQ+ business owners: Brown Skin Girl, Unwind Box, and Get on Up Box.

Brown Skin Girl

The first box they created was called Brown Skin Girl, which was built for and dedicated to black women. It includes the following products:

  • Sunrise tea from Teas with Meaning
  • Body balm from Black Travel Box
  • Affirmation cards from Sis Heal Yourself Shop (exclusive to Ama & Akua gift boxes)
  • Stay out of Black women’s business mug from Ama & Akua 

Unwind Box

The also carry the Unwind Box, the perfect gift for anyone—meant for delighting in a quiet evening as you trade busyness for balance. It includes the following products:

  • Sparkling drink mixers from Root Elixers
  • Garnishes from Root Elixers
  • Bath soak from Aenons
  • Candle from Deep Ellum Candle Co.

Get on Up Box

And finally, the Get on Up Box allows you to savor a blissfully indulgent breakfast before you slay the day. It includes the following products:

  • Pancake & Waffle Mix from VickyCakes
  • 100% Maple Syrup from Passamaquoddy Maple
  • Variety Coffee Blends from Chicago French Press
  • Ceramic Creamer Jug from Ama & Akua

When you purchase an Ama and Akua box, you are supporting not only small business owners, but you’re also supporting business owners of color and part of the LGBTQ+ community. This helps close that racial wealth gap and build generational wealth. The purpose of Ama and Akua was to provide visibility to these businesses.

Roadblocks in Building a Product Based Business

There are roadblocks that come with any business, but as Akua began the journey to building Ama and Akua with her mom, she quickly learned what those were.

  • To kick things off, Akua had been a service based business, but this new product based business came with it’s own challenges that she didn’t expect.
  • Additionally, because BIPOC and LGBTQ+ product makers don’t get the recognition they deserve, she did struggle to find specific products that were created and owned by those product makers.
  • With physical products, add a layer of shipping—which was a struggle for her in the beginning to figure out since she’d never had to before.

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap and Building Generational Wealth

Between 2020 and 2022, so many black women launched businesses. As Akua and her mom launched Ama and Akua, they knew the impact they would be providing for their future, their family’s future, and the future of those product makers who’s products are in their boxes. They’re on a mission to close the racial wealth gap and build generational wealth by supporting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ businesses. When you purchase from Ama and Akua, you’re going beyond the dollars.

If you’re ready to close the racial wealth gap and help build generational wealth by supporting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ businesses, check out Ama and Akua’s gift boxes. Buy one for yourself, for a friend, or even a client/colleague!

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 9 with Akua

Connect with Ama and Akua

Connect with Bernel

Review the Transcript:

Hey, hi. Welcome to the brand Dubai Bernel podcast. I’m your host Bernel. You may know me as the branding and web designer who obsesses over the details so you don’t have to. We all desire to be great at what we do. Although once we get there, no one seems to talk about the messy middle. This motivated me to set the table and invite industry peers over to share stories about living and working in the creative world. So grab the OJ and champagne, pull up a chair, join the creative community and be prepared to build a brand you fall in love with. This is the brand new by Bernel podcast. Today’s episode of the Branded by Bernel podcast is sponsored by Ama and Akua, Ama and Akua, our gift boxing company that celebrates bipoc and LGBTQ plus creators. They believe in the magic of gifting and supporting bipoc and LGBTQ owned small businesses. As a mother daughter duo. They have select each product inside their intentionally curated boxes to create a gift that truly matters. Akua I am so glad that you’re joining me on the show today.

Akua Konadu
Well, thank you so much for having me again. It’s always like such a treat to come in and hang out with you and hang out with your audience and just have some really fun conversation. So thank you for having me. Thank you.

Yes, I’m so excited. If you guys are new here. Akua was actually on Season One of the brand new referral podcast, so you have to go check that out. She taught us all about storytelling in your marketing. So that was such a good episode. But today we’re gonna be talking about your second company that is so crazy to think you have two businesses.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, no, I do. Because at the time when I came onto your podcast, I had one right? It’s just so crazy how things just evolve and change. And that’s just the journey of being a business owner. Beautiful, beautiful journey and super exciting. And so it’s been a lot of fun to have you on this journey with us since the very beginning for Ama and Akua and just to see it to come to life and to see the amazing work that you did. It was phenomenal. So it’s just, I’m just putting a shameless plug for Bernel Y’all y’all already know if you’re listening to this podcast you already know Bernel Is that girl y’all already know. And so she did such an incredible job she did the branding for Amana Chua website is beautiful. She made this really cute customized product for Ama and Akua That is stunning. So I just have to give you a shout out give me your flowers before we even hop in because you have played such a huge role into this business coming to fruition.

Well, thank you, I did not pay her to say that guys. I was so honored to be a part of it. Because I remember when it was just an idea, which is so crazy to say now. But you came to me with this amazing idea, kind of when we were rolling out of the whirlwind of 2020. And you were like, We need a gift box or gift boxes that are representative of multiple people, you know, and that really shine the light on the creativity in the marginalized communities. And I literally remember you saying that, and I remember googling marginalized communities. Because I was like, what exactly is that? And then I was like, Oh man, like I will marginalize in the group, my community, my community. But it was just such an impactful conversation and you really showed your heart when creating this because it was not just more pretty pieces on the market. You know, it was it was some real intentionality behind it. So for the for the people listening at home who have no idea what a monocle is, or have never shopped your gift boxes. Aquila, tell us a little bit more about the story behind what’s in the boxes and how you chose this name. I just I want her whole story. Yeah,

Akua Konadu
there’s so many layers. So I’m gonna back up a little bit as to like why, you know, we started Monica. So I, my mom and I, we live in Minneapolis. And so this was, we were heavily affected so many others as well with the murder of George Floyd. And I think like everybody else, we saw all of this swift action coming from everybody that we’re trying to figure out how to be involved trying to figure out how to be more inclusive. And the most common thing that I heard amongst within the creative industry was that I can’t find business owners of color. I can’t find, you know, specific services. And you know, we’ve had this conversation Bernel too, even with like speaker lineups, just not being very diverse, not being very inclusive. And so that was where it really prompted me to do something really something to be able to provide visibility to bipoc and LGBTQ plus business owners, because that’s what I hear a lot in the industry is that you can’t Find people. Yeah, that was the main common thing is that people are like, Why would love to support these business owners from these communities, but I don’t know where to find them. And I was kind of like, well, let me make it easier for you, I guess. But I also did it to prove a point of like, Google is free. There’s also like, My Sassy part coming out of that, where I was like, Okay, y’all like, if not, you know what I mean, but also to I really want people to put their money where their mouth is, a lot of people were like, I want to invest, right and support bipoc business owners and support LGBTQ plus. All right, so here are products that these vendors have poured their heart and soul into these products. And so this is a great way for you to support and then also to giving a gift to somebody that you love. And so for the longest time, when we had this idea, this was back in 2020, we officially launched in 2022. And so she was right, this was two years in the making. And one of the biggest pieces was what are we going to name it, and I had a friend actually in the Minneapolis area who shared she thought it should be called good trouble. And then I realized that this might be a trait

that already exists. Yeah, it’s

Akua Konadu
right, like something like that. So I was like, well, that sounded really good. But we were like, Okay, no, so my mom. So a fun fact about my history and culture. i My family’s from Ghana, my mom born and raised. I’m first generation born in the US. And I have two names. So Alexis is my American like government name, but I was born with and then my Ghanaian name is Akua, konadu. And Akua means Wednesday. And then konadu is the last name is my father’s mom’s maiden name before she got married. And I’m the oldest girl so that name was given to me. So I go by Akua. Now I choose not to go by Alexis, but my mother’s name. Her Ghanaian name is Ahmad and her American named like the name she’s born with on a high D, everything is Doris. So anyway, so we were kind of talking about mom’s like, you know, for her, of course, the mission she’s behind, but a lot of it to for her was to build a legacy for her kids and her family. You know, I think for her, she came to this country with nothing. And we lived in a small one bedroom apartment, me and my siblings in New York. And you know, she gave up so much and built a life for us and put herself through school. And she’s an RN today. So I think for her, it was kind of like, you know, what can I leave behind for my kids and my grandkids, right? Like, what’s the legacy that I want to be known for when my time is up? So I that was also her doing? So we were kind of like, let’s just talk about we’re like, let’s just use our names. And I was like, I’m a coolant. And you know, I asked my mom to use a mod and she agreed, and a mom mean Saturday, you guys. So if you’re wondering because she was born on a Saturday and Akua means Wednesday, because I was born on a Wednesday, so but yeah, so that is the evolution of Ama and Akua. So that’s like, where that cultural aspect is just very close to us, a very special to us, which is such a beautiful thing. And a lot of the boxes, they all have deeper meaning to them each box. So you know, we started out small, and we are still small, we’re starting out small because, again, every single product that are in the box we have tried or we and we currently use, right, so that means like, I’m not going to put a product in that we just don’t stand by. So it’s not only just like the product, yes, the product is good, but what are also their values, like so many other things, because we are a value centered business, right? Like, I do not like your values need to align with our values. Otherwise, like we are just not a good fit for you and that I’m okay with I’m okay with like, not everybody being a fit for a Monaco because inclusivity. And diversity is like our core being. So you know, everything with the box as well. Even the vendors also believe in that and align with that as well. So it’s been really fun to have them on that journey with us. And so our first box, which is called brown skinned girl, this box specifically is dedicated to black women. And I think 2020 Even like in regards to the presidential election, like there was just so many things where like, black women literally have always known to come in and save people. Black women are always known to have to be the one to self sacrifice, and uplift others but who’s uplifting black women. And so, you know, rest is resistance. So that was the core being we’re like the black woman, this is our love song to you. We see you we love you, especially as us as black women like my mom as well. Like she’s a prime example of that of somebody who had to sacrifice so much for herself to uplift others. And she’s not the only one. And so rest is a birthright. Right? Like she like my mom is not allowing me to rest because what she has done and so that was the purpose of the box brown skinned girl. And so it has a cute mywish Bernel You got the box, cute mug or not? You It’s so it’s one of my favorites. And so we have a cute mug that you design which is awesome and it’s called standard black woman’s business because people be nosy and number number one into. And we will again it kind of gives that sassy aspect of our brand, which we love. And then we have these teas with from teas with meaning. And Camilla, who is an amazing, amazing business owner have created these amazing teas that are so tasty, so yummy. And I love that like on the ingredients, first of all very unique combination of ingredients. But she always says she puts magic in there and it truly it tastes like magic. I’m not a big tea person, but I love teas with meaning. So now I purchase their teas. And if depending on inventory, my will I sneak one Yeah, my mom gets mad at me. I look a baby will sneak one from a you know from the office downstairs? Yes, yes, they will. And then we also have on black travel box, which is really nice smooth body balm, right, which I love because it’s specifically made for black women. And they also have it it’s purposely also in travel size. So with traveling, they really encourage like black women to travel and go out and experience the world, the world again, resting enjoying yourself, joy, right having joy in your life. And so these bombs are absolutely amazing. And they’re in travel sites so you can easily travel with them. And then we have these affirmation cards from Cisco yourself. And this one was true. Like I was so excited to have her part of the box because she actually closed down her shop. So the only way that you can get these affirmation cards are through Ama and Akua. And these are really cute affirmation cards that are very encouraging, give very encouraging inspiring words to black women and love Fatima. She’s absolutely wonderful. And so yeah, when we first reached out her she was on Etsy, reached out to her saw the amazing community that she has built called sis heal yourself on its own when I was like holy smokes, and then saw her cards ordered them. And I was like and I use her cards regularly. And I was like we have to include this in the box. And then yeah, she shut down her shop because she’s doing other amazing, incredible ventures and she still has agreed to continue to make these cards for us. So that’s what I love about brown skinned girl. It is my favorite favorite box. Because also to like, I want to clarify to anybody can buy a box for anybody. So right. We have boxes that are specific celebrating people of color, certain groups, because we want to be again, inclusivity is our core beings. So we want to celebrate other groups and just highlight them and uplift them and be like, hey, you know, we see you like we’re getting ready to come up with a pride box. We have Juneteenth coming up, you know, later on this year and Native American Heritage Month, AAPI month, so we will be having boxes that truly do celebrate other ethnicities. So that’s what really excited about but then we also have boxes that anybody can buy for anybody. Our second box is called unwind. And this is also to a very fun self care box. And I mean unwind, I will say is our popular box is that one is a really, really popular one. We’ve gotten the most feedback on unwind. And let me tell you why. So the first vendor on there is root elixirs, and they are this really fun sparkling cocktail drink that comes with this matching garnish. So for example, and you can pick a variety of flavors. So for example, we have our strawberry lavender lavender flavor. And it comes with a matching garnish that’s dried strawberries and lavender. So you can have like a really nice martini or just a nice cocktail, you can make it home so you can have it with alcohol without alcohol. And then you just have these cute garnishes to put on top and just enjoy the beverage which is awesome. And then we have these candles and I’m gonna put a shameless plug y’all tie Wilson who is an amazing, amazing photographer, and his partner Jordan have launched this candle business called Deep Ellum Candle Company. And so they are in the Unwind box. And we also have a variety of scents. But we are obsessed with these candles, I don’t think I’ve ever smelled a candle like theirs. And we wanted candles to be a little bit more gender neutral for this box because again, anybody can purchase this box and we know like our brand kind of has a little bit more of a feminine look to it. But we were like Alright, how can we at least just make this more gender neutral. And that candle does it for us. I mean it is perfect. It’s not too strong, not too subtle. It’s just a really overall nice balance all the three cents that we have so we have Egyptian in an Egyptian Amber, Amber and driftwood and Black Sea so we have really great variety of settings that you can choose to really customize the box. And it is phenomenal. I really do encourage you guys to even check them out. Even if you don’t purchase a box from us go check out deep LM Candoco because Oh y’all I’m not I’m not being overdramatic seriously go. So we have that and then we have this really fun bath salts from a nonce and it’s like a magnesium bath salt now I’m like I work out a lot. So I do take a lot of baths just to ease and sews my suit my muscles. So bath salts are my fave. And I’ve noticed a big difference using them. So we really wanted to include that and they are AAPI own so it’s just been been wonderful. So in on wine box, we have the root elixirs, which is API own and on just API owned. And then we have that can’t a Deep Ellum Candle Company which is LGBTQ plus owned. So that’s kind of where you get the variety of vendors in that box and then our last box Certainly last but not least, is our Get on up box, which I love her. So James Brown like Get on up you know what I mean that’s that’s where that title came from obviously

Akua Konadu
why we wanted to name it that box because it’s just such a fun way just to get up and spend time and breakfast with those that you love. So in this box we have Vicki’s pancake mix, pancake and waffle mix which is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, amazing, amazing pancake and waffle mix. And they are black owned. And then we have Chicago French press, which is a black owned coffee company and they are fantastic. Love them wonderful. And then we also have this is a little bit harder to say and I’m still working names are so important to me. So I still am practicing how I say this, and I’m going to butcher this but we have this syrup for so I do not know this. So this what I also love about a Monica that it has been such a gift to learn so much about many other cultures and soy syrup is very important into the meat in the Native American community, which I did not know that, yes, and so a lot of them will make their own like syrup, which is phenomenal. Like I literally no longer buy store bought syrup, I buy it from these guys. So it’s pet of Swami syrup. So they are it’s from the pet of Swami tribe, I know, I’m still practicing on how to say it. So I do want to apologize, definitely check us out on the website. But they literally make these serums that are amazing. And so that’s also in the box. And then we have these really cute creamer jugs that you can put your syrup in, or you can put your cream in to pour into your coffee pour into your waffle mix. And so that is our getting up box. And so yeah, that’s kind of the variety of what you get. Currently, with our three boxes, we are getting ready to launch some new boxes, because we have Mother’s Day coming up Father’s Day. And so we will be getting ready to launch some boxes here into summer, spring summer. So really, really excited. But just super thankful for the three boxes that we have out now. Because just seeing the hard work that these vendors and these fellow business owners have put into their products, they truly do love their products and stand behind them. And I stand behind them, because they are great quality products that we use in our everyday life. So it’s just really amazing to see that not only are you supporting small business owners, right, but you’re also supporting business owners of color. Because a lot of the time also to LGBTQ plus business owners. A lot of the times we are always considered the afterthought. And so I’m kind of sick of that kind of over it. And that is the purpose of Ama and Akua is to really provide that visibility. I don’t want to hear any more of people saying well, I can’t find you know, bipoc business owners or LGBTQ plus business owners, whether for services or products, they are out there. You just have to take the extra step to look and if I can find them and make boxes. You can find them in order. Yes. Oh, are just working from a Monica.

You know what I mean? Yes, yes. I love that. Oh, my goodness. Okay, so, so much to unpack there. And God, like there could be several episodes there gonna be a series about this, honestly. But yeah, they had a couple questions for you like, because I love your products. I love the meaning I love the story behind it. I love that it’s a legacy piece, that you’re supporting communities that don’t get a lot of support. So I am here for 100%

Akua Konadu
Hey, friends, I’m Akua and I’m the co founder of Ama and Akua. We’re interrupting today’s episode because we have a special offer for the listeners of the branded by Bernel podcast. We are mother daughter, black owned, inclusive gift box brand. We provide gifts that contain products from bipoc, and LGBTQ plus creators. If you’re looking to give a gift for your family, friends and client, then come check us out at our gift boxes at and use the code Bernel 10 at checkout for 10% off your first order. That’s A M A A N D A K U A Thanks for listening. And back to the episode.

I did want to ask you because so much of what is impactful to other business owners I think is just knowing that these processes don’t come easy for everybody. Like I we can look at your gift boxing. And I mean, it’s incredible what you have accomplished. But I would love to know kind of the journey to make that happen. Like what are so me of the roadblocks that you felt like you’ve hit as you seek to support specific types of of businesses? What are some of the things you’ve run into? And how did you overcome that? Like, how did you push past that? Yeah,

Akua Konadu
well, number one, there’s a difference between being a service based business and a product based business and I have been a service based business for. Right like that was my first business is service based. So I already had to learn that there are things differently the way you market what you do, everything is different as a product based business. So that’s been a really fun challenge to really figure out. But I will say that is a challenge and I’ll be transparent. It’s still but it’s not an excuse. I’m still you know, I’m still gonna find it. But because a lot of bipoc and LGBTQ plus business owners don’t get the recognition it’s a lot harder to find success. big things that you’re looking for. And I’m looking for specific products for specific boxes, because each box has a theme, and there’s a meaning behind it. And so sometimes it’s a little bit hard, but I learned. So now I feel like I have become much better at like Googling and keywords, and all of those things, to be able to find the specific products that I’m looking for. So that has been a little bit of a challenge. But it’s been really, really good. Just I think, I think for me even to just figure out shipping and stuff. I know that sounds really dumb. But shipping was like a big thing. For me, I was stressed, trying to figure out shipping and waiting, like weight and all of that stuff. And now it’s not a problem for me, like I just do it easily. And you know, with shipping the products and you know, printing out the labels and all of that stuff. But it was definitely a roadblock for me because I wish to rest.

Completely can relate. I launched brunch paper sweatshirts earlier this year. And I was like, Whoa, having a physical product is very different than having even a digital product like so trying to figure out how to waste stuff. And then we design these pretty boxes, but then the like UPS ruins them, and just trying to figure out how to get the quality product delivered with the customer service and that unboxing experience. Want to get that to the person. Yeah, that’s definitely a struggle. So kudos to you guys. Because when I received my brown skinned girl box, guys, like when I opened it, I was just like, well, first of all, it was packaged with care. So like, even the outside was packaged. So I was able to pull it out, we had this beautiful light green Box, I open it like I mean down to the like seal how she sealed the paper covering the contents, it was just you could tell that somebody really cared when they pack that box, like this was not done in an Amazon warehouse. Now, I love Amazon as much as the next person. When you shop with a small business, like, you know, that real hands with real money in real time touch this, and there’s something powerful about that, you know, um, I, one of the things that you mentioned, too, was that exposure piece for some of these visits. So it was hard to find some of these vendors to support because, you know, certain groups just do not get the exposure that other groups do. I mean, that’s statistics back that up. Yeah, how do you feel like your platform is helping to bring attention to them? Because I feel like your platform is definitely bringing attention. But how do you feel like it’s doing that?

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I mean, some of these, some of these vendors, they already have their platform and bigger platform than what I have. So I’m gonna give, you know, I mean, I’m gonna give them their flowers and their shells. And the fact that they were willing to even be a part of it, I’m super, super thankful. And so it was just really encouraging to see like, some of them are out there. And people know, like, some of them, like people know who they are, which is awesome. But some of these smaller ones, like, especially like, it’s been fun to really connect with vendors on Etsy, that too, has been really fun, because like, they maybe don’t have as big as a platform platform. And nobody would like, fully know who they were in this in our industry, right in specific areas, it just helps expand their visibility, if they weren’t in this box in this box. And it’s just been really fun, just to connect with people in that way. But I think, I think, you know, when you purchase from Ama and Akua, just the impact of your your purchase, because like all as number one, as a business owner, as a black woman, like when you purchase romantic who and you’re supporting these business owners that are of color, you’re helping close the racial wealth gap. I mean, when we really see compared to the dollar of how much white a white men would make compared to a black man or black woman, you know what I mean? Are all these other different people of color, right? Like, it’s quite a lot, there’s a huge gap in regards to pay, and all of these different types of things. So you’re helping people build generational wealth, you’re helping close the racial wealth gap, you’re helping making things more equitable, you’re also providing visibility. And if you love these products, like you know, I mean, this is your opportunity to go follow go support any way that you can. You know, what I mean, as you’re obviously giving a gift to somebody that you care about, or buying a gift to yourself? So I think because, you know, for me, as a business owner, like before, would you ever go back to nine, five? I think it depends, right, if I really love the company, and so that’s similar values, but I will always have my businesses that will never leave me because as a woman of color, it’s so for me having a business is just so important. Because building that generational wealth is huge, because we’re in a country where I literally don’t I literally just read this a few weeks ago, but I don’t want to like say that this is like you have to research it yourself. But I remember seeing like the amount of wealth that is owned by the majority is insane. Like I think it was like 95% like it was in the it was in the high 90s of the amount of wealth that is owned in the United States is owned by white men. It’s really incredibly, incredibly large. And there’s not a lot that is really distributed to others, other people of other groups. So again, like your If purchased makes a huge impact, right? Because I like work. There’s nothing wrong with working in corporate everybody, there’s just different ways to build generational wealth. So I least want to say that you know what I mean? Like how everybody you invest, you invest, obviously, that’s a huge thing. But this business plays a part into us building that. And like a lot of us business owners, business owners of color, LGBTQ people from marginalized spaces, our businesses are an opportunity for us to build back cuz I think 2020 was the like, so many black women launched businesses between 2020 and 2022. For this reason, right, for some of these reasons, people, you know what I mean? Like,

Unknown Speaker
so when you you’re purchasing it’s, it’s, you’re going beyond the dollars, and that’s just where I want to, like, say like, it’s just, it’s just so powerful, what you’re doing when you purchase romantic, who, and you support these businesses and give them a shout out and enjoy their products. So Oh, my goodness, I love that. Yes. So good. So good. I was very surprised. I did a little research recently to and I do not have the statistics in front of me, but just how many specifically black owned businesses fail in the first three years? Like,

I mean, it’s a crazy high percentage. And so of course, you know, I spiraled into why is that. And some of the things that I found was not even just lack of exposure, but, um, lack of access to capital, like to the resources to get started lack of education in the sense of like, what steps you need to take in order to secure your business. And so I think that you supporting these businesses is incredible. I think that you going for it and starting another business is incredible. Like, we talked about people starting a business, but you started to, and I can’t stress enough how much of an inspiration that is like you are an inspirational person to me, like I hear, and I’m like, Oh, my goodness, like, could my business be doing more to help someone somewhere? I don’t

Akua Konadu
know. Oh, my God, you inspired me all the time, because literally, the impact that you make is phenom. I mean, I’m one of the people that you’ve impacted. So just like, you know, I mean, don’t discredit you what you’ve done, you know what I mean? Like your business is doing more than enough. And I’m pretty sure clients, friends, people in the industry can absolutely attest to that. Because you are making such a huge impact with your branding in more ways than one. And like how much you always constantly go out of your way to help me and like, I’m like, Hey, Bernel, I need help. And you always come swooping in, which I love. Thank

you. I really try I do. And I don’t know, like, I just feel like these Conversations Matter. Obviously this while we’re having them. Because there’s somebody somewhere sitting, wanting to start a business with big ideas and feeling like for whatever reason, their background, their finances, their community, for whatever reason, they feel like they just can’t like they feel like there’s a gap between their idea and bringing it to fruition. And so, I hope this conversation stands is like evidence that you can do it. I mean, we talked about your mom, she had four children, like we talked about where you are now, you know, if you’ve been around here any amount of time, you know, my story, like I literally never made more than $10 An hour before I launched a full time multi six figure company. So I hope you guys know that if you’re listening to this at home, no matter who you are, no matter what color, what gender, whatever, I hope you know that you can do it. Like you can launch a business of your dreams. And then in turn, you owe it to the community to help somebody else launch.

Akua Konadu
Exactly 1,000% I think I say this all the time, because I remind myself of that. And that, you know, it was still a little bit stressful, where I was like, I don’t know, anything about product based businesses. And I know, I and obviously, because I have a business background, it was okay. Like it was a lot easier for me to be able to get the information I needed to do what I needed to do. But I just remember, like, if I would have had this idea when I first started my first business, I don’t think I wouldn’t, I would have been short, like stress, stress, stress. But I think I had to remind myself a lot because that you have everything that you need. You have to work with what you have now and you have to be okay. That things may not look necessarily the way you want them to look, right? Yes. And I can totally empathize when it’s like when people like we’ll just start and I’m like, you can stop. I like I used to be annoying. I hate when people say that. Right? Like just starting. I’m like, What do you mean, just start like sometimes it’s really, really hard for us to really overcome that area. And so for me, and I literally learned some therapy, which has I think for me, that’s what has helped me really step forward. And I’m still working through that right now is she always asked me choose your heart who choose your heart. Life is hard in general, life is hard. Running a business is hard. maintaining relationships is hard. There’s so many aspects of your life that are hard. So choose your heart and I was like well, I’m already like yeah, This is like now me going back over when I first started my business, I was like, I’m already miserable in this corporate job. Yeah. Like, you know what I mean? So I was like, and it’s gonna be a really, really hard experience launching this business and I’m taking a huge risk, but it just made the other like the decision of starting a business much more appealing. Right? When you start looking at it that way, like choose your hard, you’re gonna go for what is going to help you get closer to your goal, because no matter what, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard, sitting there and being comfortable. And having to sit with your feelings with that it’s going to be hard getting like up at, you know what I mean, to run the business that you want to run. So choose whichever one I mean, it’s gonna be rough anyway, so you might have a good time doing it. Oh, my goodness, I

love that. I may or may not have some sweatshirts that say choose your heart. Like I might be creating some because you’re right. Like, every decision is going to come with some hard set of circumstances. So yeah, might as well have fun doing it.

Akua Konadu
Myself and doing it because even today, today, it’s been a crazy day. And I was just like I literally said to myself, but I made sure to get to the gym today. And that’s really cool. Choose your heart. Yeah. A rough day. I was late. We already know girl. It was rough. Getting me getting here. Bless you.

Well, I am so glad that you’re here. I’m so glad that you chose this wasn’t your heart thing today? But

Akua Konadu
better? No, it wasn’t no, it wasn’t my heart. But you know, like every like, you’re like, everything’s going crazy. Nothing’s going to plan I’m like, this is not the way that my day was supposed to be. I want you know, so we can have that extra time to chat and catch up. And then you know, just kind of ease into the podcast. I learned hurry up and rush slap makeup on. And I was like, you know, shoot my heart. I was so good to see Bernel today, and I get to enjoy a good conversation that brings me joy. So I’m gonna go do like, it sucks that like it didn’t like it, you know, I wasn’t able to like ease into things. And I had to rush in all of those types of things. But I would much rather be doing this and being sulky about her doing something else that I wouldn’t enjoy. Again, it’s just like, it just made it makes my day managing a lot easier. So that’s the same thing to with a Monaco. Like, just starting that business was like choose your heart. You know what I mean? I know it’s scary. You think it’s gonna fail? But at least you tried. And if you tried like, what what are you learning from that? Right? If it didn’t work out? Like what are what are you learning from the setbacks because I’m also always remembering to from from just my journey in general, every single thing that I do every single day is leading me to my next destination no matter what that looks like, I don’t know what that looks like. So I’m gonna be we’re gonna be gone tomorrow, but it was just not but. But But I what I do know is that like, it has prepared me for whatever next season is in line for me. Because that’s just you know, with entrepreneurship, you just never know what’s gonna happen. You just never know. So,

somebody told me a while ago, because the pandemic was hard for me. I’ve talked about it. I am a control freak type A personality and so not knowing what’s gonna happen tomorrow. Yeah, that’s a struggle for me. Anyway, someone told me though, it will be okay in the end. And it’s not okay. It’s not the end. And I was just like, whoa, like, that always resonated with me. So if today it doesn’t succeed, that means it’s not the end. That means you got to get up tomorrow and try again. And so I love that. And we could do this all day long. Like when you? I do you want people to know where to shop? Because they have to check out these products, guys. I mean, even if you feel like you don’t need something in the box, I know you have a mom, sister, cousin, brother, uncle, best friend, school teacher, the guy who picks up your dry cleaning. I don’t know, like, you need to check out these products, really. And check out the story behind it. Go see their beautiful brand photos. Because there’s some amazing photos. This mother daughter duo is doing it so cool. Where can people find you all over?

Akua Konadu
Yeah, yes, of course. So definitely head to Amman and So a m a n d, a Definitely check us out, check out the boxes shop, join our email list. Because like I said, we are getting ready to come up with more boxes this year. So definitely, definitely check us out there head over to Instagram at a mA and Akua to come hang out for some content, you know, and yeah, I just really appreciate the space just to come here and talk about just this baby that’s been born. And so, you know, I’m super super excited for the future. And that that’s why I love Monaco, because there’s a box for everybody. Nobody being left behind, you know, and that’s what I feel like a lot of brands. That’s what the standard should be wear. You know what I mean? Like, I just it’s you know, for me personally, like I will and it doesn’t matter what the business is like, I will look at brands and if I don’t see people that look like me if I don’t see a variety of people or that you know what I mean? I just don’t engage anymore. I think now a lot of us are willing to spend money with brands that align with our values and beliefs. The same things that we do because it goes more beyond the product, right? It’s like who are you. And so again, like when you purchase from a Monica, you’re just making such an such an amazing impact and you are adding to somebody else’s story. And you’re giving back in amazing ways that they can give back in an amazing way. So it’s just constantly right like that domino effect. And so I’m just really excited. I’m really excited for this. It’s been truly, truly a gift. And I’m just thankful to be able to chat with you today about it. So thank you. But that’s where you can find this. I

just went into a long spiel, but that’s fine. Oh, I love that. Yes. And for listening to the end, guys, are there is a special coupon code that is going to be found in the show notes. That code is going to be Bernel 10. And it’s going to save you 10% off of your next box. So give the gift of inclusivity and equitable gifts to those who left. Yeah. Wow, that went by really fast. As always, thank you so much for showing up in my little corner of the internet. I would love to hear your thoughts on the show. So please, please subscribe, leave a review and share what you learned with friends. Some of the best things in life are freebies. So don’t forget to head over to Brandon by to check out our free branding goodies, the show notes and more educational resources.

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