Nadiyah Spencer, TinkeyPoo Diapers {Our NJ Mompreneur of the Week}

0
 
 
     

When Nadiyah Spencer, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, woke up from a dream about diapers that depicted babies of color on them, she had no idea it would be the start of something big. Not wanting to forget, she jotted down her vision and, the next day, dug into the research and found that the diaper industry lacked representation and diversity. It was the start of an industry change, and with a career background in apparel manufacturing and consumer packaged goods, Nadiyah was uniquely suited to bring her literal dream to life. Enter TinkyPoo Diapers, a line of premium diapers and baby wipes that has your baby covered from mind to behind while emphasizing representation, inclusivity, and diversity in their prints. Made with natural and organic materials with no harmful chemicals, they are leak and blowout-proof thanks to a higher back, double leakage barrier, side wings, and elastic waistband. We caught up with this busy Plainfield mom of a 9-year-old son to discover her connection to Bono (of U2 fame), how her mom is her secret marketing guru and the go-to place for adventurous playdates. 

njmompreneur

Nadiyah Spencer is the founder and owner of TinkyPoo Diapers and our NJ Mompreneur of the Week.

Please share a bit about your background and family. I grew up in Plainfield, and though I lived in Atlanta while attending Spelman College and have lived in various places like Nairobi, San Francisco, and Harlem, I moved back to Plainfield partly because I loved growing up there and partly because of its proximity to NYC, but mainly because I knew I wanted to raise my son, Langston Caleb Spencer, 9, near my mom and dad. 

Career-wise, you worked in apparel manufacturing before launching TinkyPoo. How has this translated to you running your own business? I started my career working in fashion manufacturing at GAP headquarters. I followed that up with a few mass-market brands before working with the niche luxury brand Edun, founded by Ali Hewson and her husband, Bono, to promote trade in Africa by sourcing production throughout the continent. They were passionate about bringing sustainability and employment there. My last job in apparel was at the award-winning Suno brand before I pivoted into fragrance, working in consumer packaged goods—basically, what appeals to the customer from the shelf. Along with my eye for quality, my range of experiences and responsibilities throughout the years have given me valuable sourcing, production, and negotiation skills, making it easier for me to understand the business end of launching this type of business and segue into launching TinkyPoo.

Our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, with her son, Langston Caleb Spencer, 9. He’s holding TinkyPoo’s mascots, Timmy and Penny.

What made you take the leap to mompreneurship, and why this particular business? My previous job gave me a year of extended stay and insurance to stay home with my son when he was born. Soon, various people started asking me questions about their businesses, and I realized that I could launch a consultancy business for small startups needing to navigate and bring their dreams to fruition. Through my first business, Bradshaw Consulting Group, I became the secret weapon of startups. I wasn’t considering starting another business, but Tinkypoo came to me in a dream. I saw babies of color on diapers, and at 3:00 am, I jotted it down in a notebook so I wouldn’t forget. The next morning, I researched and realized there wasn’t an African American-owned diaper company and no diapers with African prints on them. I approached this business from my fashion background and was the first in this diaper factory’s history to make samples like clothing brands. I knew I’d have to do everything right from the get-go to introduce a new brand in a competitive market that already had Huggies and Pampers. I wanted specific prints, eco-friendly dyes, a higher back to prevent blowouts, an organic cotton liner, and more. The result was so well-received that along with the direct website, they’re being sold in Buy Buy Baby stores, on buybuybaby.com, and walmart.com.  

TinkyPoo Diapers celebrate diversity and are natural and organic with no harmful chemicals; plus, they’re super absorbent and made with a higher back, side wings, and an elastic waistband, so they’re leak and blowout-proof.

Your diapers come in multiple prints. With Power, Bubbles & Halos, Tribal, and Space Traveler, is there a bestseller? They all do well, and fan favorites fluctuate, but right now, our Power print is very strong. It’s most likely because February is Black History Month, but it’s also apropos of what is happening in the world, and it’s important to instill that in babies early on. I’m really excited to share that there will be new prints and more sizes coming out this summer, too. 

Does your family ever get involved in your business? Timmy and Penny are TinkyPoo’s mascots. Timmy was named after my dad, who passed away two years ago—I’m so grateful he knew about the business. And though my mom is not named Penny–a name that just worked well with Timmy–she is so proud of me and couldn’t be more supportive. She buys TinkyPoo Diapers and drops them off at nurseries and hospitals. It’s organic marketing—I can’t tell you how many people come to my Instagram and share that my mom gave them a pack, and they love them so much that they now buy them. 

Though all of TinkyPoo’s prints are popular, it’s no surprise that the Power print (orange background) took center stage for Black History Month and has a great following all year round. TinkyPoo Power Diaper instills cultural pride and confidence thanks to the words “Be the Power” alongside graphics that include raised fists, a Pan-African flag, and stars.

What do you hope your son learns from seeing you as an entrepreneur? He sees I’m trying to build a legacy for him, and it will be his choice if he decides to choose this path later in life and run it with me. He really gets it. The other night, he brought me to tears because he thanked me and said, “I know you want me to run the business one day. I appreciate all the sacrifices you make for me.” 

Please share some of your favorite NJ-based businesses and go-to Garden State spots. I love Washed Dads. “Washed” is the opposite of washed up–it’s a play on We Are Super Heroes Every Day. This fashion brand aims to make everything “Dad” cool. Another brand I’m excited about is Park Ice Cream, in Roselle Park, founded by one of my sorority sisters from Spelman. I’m an absolute chocolate connoisseur, and their chocolate ice cream can’t be beat. Langston’s absolute favorite place to go is Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park. It’s our go-to for playdates because it’s way more than a bouncy place—you can jump, run, and fly there. In addition to trampolines, they have climbing walls, ziplining, sports games, and much more. We half-joke that if it’s not at Urban Air, is it really a play date?   

njmompreneur

TinkyPoo Diapers celebrate diversity and are natural and organic with no harmful chemicals; plus, they’re super absorbent and made with a higher back, side wings, and an elastic waistband, so they’re leak and blowout-proof.

What’s your best piece of advice for a mompreneur that’s just starting? Give yourself some grace, and know there will be highs and lows, and you should be prepared to ride the storm. Also, if appropriate, don’t be afraid to be the face of your brand. Because of my prior work, I was very comfortable being in the background. I had to step out of my comfort zone and show as a mom that I saw a need to bring something different to the market. Also, definitely have a presence on social media—it’s how people do business now. 

For more information on Nadiyah Spencer and Tinkeypoo Diapers, please see their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages. 


 
 
     

About Author

Nancy Weinberg Simon lives in Summit, NJ with her husband and two children, a 18-year-old son and an 19-year-old daughter. She's a former beauty editor whose work has appeared in print and online in Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, smartbeautyguide.com, zwivel.com, and beautyinthebag.com, among others. After living in NYC for almost 20 years, Nancy returned to the Garden State when it was time to raise her family. She loves reading everything and anything she can get her hands on, entertaining friends and family, traveling the world, scouring estate sales, and crafting jewelry.

CLOSE
CLOSE