We had the good fortune of connecting with Donnya Negera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Donnya, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When starting my brand YUUMA, I was focused mainly on mother’s like me. We all face the ordeal of having to purchase diaper bags that never last. We also get stuck into this identity as “just” a mom when carrying a less attractive diaper bag, so making this brand was truly to help celebrate individuality within motherhood! YUUMA means, “mother” in Nigeria. It also is stated in a respectful tone when approaching a woman, who happens to also be a mother. This really resonates with the modern-day mom because we are pushing through boundaries. We are mothers with businesses, careers, degrees, and more! Even if you are a stay at home mom, your role is the most important because you have given your all into raising good people! I truly hope YUUMA’s founding story is seen through our designs, our community, and most of all; through the modern-day mom!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
YUUMA aims to highlight individuality within motherhood through fashion-forward diaper bag designs. When wearing our diaper bags, one would truly never believe that it is made for helping moms with their children! Our designs are chic, stylish, and functional, giving moms the freedom to focus on what matters most. I’d like to think of our brand as unique compared to the rest. We are a black-owned business that aims to be inclusive in our brand. Through thoughtfully selecting real moms, to representing all cultures, we strive to be an embodiment of who we truly are. I am excited to launch more designs! We are women who love to travel, go out on date nights, and other activities outside of motherhood. Creating designs that tailor to each aspect of womanhood is what we aim for, and we can’t wait to share what we have in store with our community. It was not easy getting to where I am today! We planned on launching in mid-2020, but once the pandemic happened, we had to postpone our launch date, and only launch with one product. Although with those limitations, we still had a successful launch and reached many. Starting a business has its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. One challenge I personally faced was embracing my role in this business. I am a black woman, so sharing my face on our feed was a bit intimidating. The diaper bag industry consists of white women so I had a moment of weakness. I shied away from the idea of starting an Instagram live, or sharing myself, but I was wrong. Our community actually grew once I shared my family, and my story! Although this is a brand to highlight the modern-day mom, this brand and this journey has truly taught me to embrace myself. I have to be confident in every aspect of this business. With YUUMA, I want the world to know that although we are mothers, life does not end there. Mothers can still go for their dreams, and fulfill their sense of happiness.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is one of the most beautiful places to visit. The first place I’d bring my friend is to La Jolla Cove! The view is absolutely stunning, and there is also a cute shopping area up the street. It’s amazing how free one can feel being out there by the beach, enjoying the outdoors with sea lions everywhere. After, we would go and have some avocado toast at Kuma Cafe’ for lunch. We love going down to Balboa park! That would have to be a stop for a friend to see. The art, history, and beautiful landscapes are just breathtaking. Lastly, we would end the day at the sunset cliffs to watch the sunset with some ice cream. There are so many things to do in San Diego, the list goes on but these are the best spots from my experience in San Diego.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many mothers in my circle who have helped me start this brand, but the most important mother has to be my own. When starting my influencing career before creating YUUMA, I was completely alone. Although married, my husband had his thing: his job, his friends, and a wife. I, on the other hand, was pregnant, and always left alone at home while he was away. I went through a dark place of feeling hopeless, and of no worth until my mother advised me to do what makes me happy. I had to stop reaching for happiness from my husband, and friends I did not have. Once my perspective changed, my life did a 180! I started vlogging, blogging, and sharing my struggles with mothers out there who were feeling the same way! In helping other mothers in turmoil, my burdens were lifted! There is truly power in serving others, and being active in hobbies, and talents. Instead of sulking in sadness, I grew a community within a year, was featured on Parent’s Magazine, “Top 10 Black Mom Blogger’s to follow”, and started my own diaper bag brand! To that end, I truly thank my mother for pushing me to do what I love, be in service for others, and always rooting for me.
Photographer: Denyse Lincoln Lincoln Photography & Design https://www.facebook.com/lincolnphotographyDesign