(NEW YORK) — When Temidayo Adedokun became pregnant with her first child, like many new moms, she said she was excited to start shopping for baby clothes.
Adedokun, 31, who was born in Nigeria and then moved to Canada at age 4, said she wanted to find baby clothes with traditional African prints that she grew up wearing. But when she searched, she said she found nothing.
“I was very surprised that I couldn’t find African aesthetic products at affordable prices, designed from an authentic place,” Adedokun said. “And I really thought that was an important thing that a lot of people would want for their kids as well.”
Adedokun said she then decided to create her own version of the clothes she was looking for for her future son.
“At first it was okay, let’s see what I can do to create it myself,” Adedokun said. “For my son, I made these animal print onesies and put them on a website to see what happened. And there was enough feedback on there that I think : “Okay, I think people care.”
Adedokun said she thinks she’ll make baby clothes a side hustle to her full-time job as a lawyer at an Oakland law firm.
Then at the start of the pandemic. she received a call telling her she had been furloughed at the law firm, she said.
That’s when she said she decided to start her own business.
“I had to assess: what, am I going to try to get another job that I don’t have a lot of passion for? Or am I going to take this as a chance to risk it all and bet on myself,” Adedokun said. “I choose the latter.”
This is how she started her company Ade + Ayo. The first part of the name, Ade, comes from his family name and means “crown” in the Yoruba language. The second part, Ayo, comes from her first name and means “joy” in Yoruba – a theme in her family with all of her siblings also having “ayo” in their names.
“I really wanted to touch on the theme of pride,” Adedokun said. “One of my goals with the brand is to help children grow proudly with their heritage…and for children to be the pride and joy in their parents’ lives.”
Since the company was founded in 2020, Adedokun said she has received feedback from parents saying it allows them to show their heritage to their children, but also – for parents who are not of African descent – they say the clothes helped them teach their children about a new culture, she said.
“It really allows parents to start having conversations about being open to different things and learning,” Adedokun said. “On my product listings on the website, I go into quite a bit of detail about the names of the prints, and the inspiration for the design, what region it’s from, and so people can kind of take that and start having conversations with their kids about what they’re wearing.
Adedokun said she saw the company’s original inspiration when her son wore Nigerian-themed clothes.
“We are also very proud people, as it is important for us to be proud of what we do, the work we do and how we affect life around us,” Adedokun said. “Knowing that I was going to be raising a black boy in America, I thought it was important for him to have something you could go back to and know he was worthy of…that he could be proud of.”
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