Clothes are more than just a means to cover your body; they are an expression of your style and a mode to tell the story of where you are from. This aspect was crucial to Temidayo Adedokun, a Nigerian Canadian living in California. She loved the vibrant, colorful patterned prints of traditional Nigerian clothes and wanted to introduce her African culture to her soon-to-be-born son.
So while pregnant with her first child, she searched high and low for affordable baby clothes and nursery decor that embraced the African aesthetic without the kitschy safari theme. However, she frequently came back empty-handed. This lack of representation convinced her to start a baby and toddler clothing brand in 2020.
A combination of the Yorubian words for a crown: ade and joy: ayo, Ade + Ayo represents the crown of joy that children are to their parents, and these clothes celebrate that sentiment.
The beautifully patterned clothes and accessories were practical and affordable, making them hugely popular with new parents and helping catapult their success. Ade + Ayo continues to add to their brand, including more clothing options and sizes, nursery decor, and toys.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Temidayo entered the Shark Tank with her business partner and husband, Abisola, hoping to get $175,000 for 10% equity.
As the couple handed out baby clothes samples, they told the Sharks about their desire to bring the beauty of African textile to the US market. All the Sharks were impressed with the clothes’ soft quality and vibrant designs. The display prompted Kevin to remark that these were some of the most unique clothes to be featured on the Tank.
On the other hand, the numbers were not as impressive, with surprisingly lower than expected margins and only $160,000 in sales over 11 months from their website. Mark pointed out that this just added up to $15,000 a month, which does not even cover their income. Temidayo explained that one of the company’s goals was to make affordable clothing accessible to every parent, which is why the cost is lower than other brands in the market.
Daymond believed, given these numbers, they had valued their company too high, and based on the ask, it would take 17 years before he saw his money again. He loved the product, but it was just too much. He was out.
When asked what the duo would do with the money, they said they needed it for more inventory and to grow their team. Lori disagreed with this strategy, saying they didn’t need to hire anyone; they needed to outsource to save money and avoid wasting time training employees.
Although he was impressed by the product, Kevin wasn’t interested in clothes as it wasn’t his market, and he was out. Mark also believed he couldn’t help because he didn’t have the expertise to sort out their operations. He was out too.
Barbara was still interested, saying the quality was fantastic for such a low price. They would be a hit in retail stores. But they needed a lot of help, so she offered to give them the same amount with an additional $500,000 line of credit for 33.33% of the company.
Temidayo countered the offer with $200,000, the same credit line but 30% equity. Barbara said she wanted a third of the company, to which the entrepreneurs agreed. Temidayo and Abisola shook hands with Barbara to the beat of the drums.
Our Review of Ade + Ayo
Ade + Ayo has a beautiful selection of baby and toddler clothes, nursery decor, and toys infused with traditional African designs and patterns. To add to the shopping experience, each item in the store includes a description that explains the origins of the print and what it means in African culture, which gives the products more meaning.
Clothes include all the babywear essentials, such as body suits, rompers, long sleeve tops, and dresses. There is also a line for toddlers, with jumpsuits, long and short sleeve tops, pants, and dresses. Both lines also include plenty of accessories, from headbands to bibs, making it the perfect place to get everything your little one will need.
Nursery decor currently includes a limited selection of swaddles, crib sheets, and burp cloths that use similar prints as the clothes. The toys are something special with a collection of traditional African toys sourced from countries like Rwanda and educational flash cards to introduce your little one to African languages such as Twi, Hausa, Swahili, and Yoruba.
Pros of Ade + Ayo
- Modern designs
- Made from high-quality organic cotton
- Attractive and colorful patterns
Cons of Ade + Ayo
- Stock finishes very quickly
- Takes a long time to restock
- The patterns are not to everyone’s taste
Who is Ade + Ayo For?
The clothing and decor from Ade + Ayo are for anyone who appreciates traditional African textiles’ bright colors and patterns and wants to bring that aesthetic in an affordable way to their child’s wardrobe.
Are There Any Alternatives?
This online marketplace brings thousands of African brands to the world stage with a dazzling array of African patterned modern clothing and traditional cultural clothes for the entire family. They have over 2000 items available in their kids and babies section, from rompers and dresses to shirts and toys. Their entire collection is available on their online store.
This online African fashion store has a wide variety of baby and toddler wear made from African textiles and matching headwear. These clothes are made of African wax cotton, meaning they are not stretchable, so exercise caution when ordering them. Shenbolen’s also has clothes in matching patterns for men and women so the whole family can dress up together.
This online store offers ready-to-wear clothes with African designs, patterns, and symbolism. These clothes are for men, women, and children. Kids sizes are from 3T and up, so there isn’t anything for babies but plenty for older kids. Check out D’iyanu’s website to see the entire range of clothes for kids.
Our Final Thoughts
Diversity enriches our lives; it brings a variety of flavors and colors that broaden our minds. We learn more about other cultures and become more accepting of people from different walks of life. Ade + Ayo offers more than just clothes. They provide meaningful garments that become conversation starters and introduce your child to Africa’s incredible cultures.