We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Moran Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
My daughter is currently 19 months old. As a mompreneur, she is now my primary source of inspiration and motivation to succeed. Everyday I think about the example I’m setting for her as a successful Latina entrepreneur who’s created mission-driven businesses. I want to show her that, as a female and as an Afro-Latina, she does not have to become part of the dismal statistics that so often plague female, women of color in the work force. I hope everyday that by seeing how determined and hard-working her mother is, that she too could become a successful entrepreneur and not feel like it is an insurmountable or unattainable task.
What should our readers know about your business?
Unfortunately, the pandemic greatly affected my primary business, Senior Sensory. I worked directly with older adults, providing purposeful and stimulating activities and 1-on-1 tech support. Due to visitor restrictions on long-term care communities, I lost over 90% of my clients. But, in true entrepreneurial spirit, I decided to pivot and start a new company during the pandemic, MiJa Books. We’re an online-only children’s bookstore and resource for multicultural and diverse children’s books. We pride ourselves in carrying Spanish-language and bilingual titles that you’d be pressed to find in big-box retailers. In building our daughter’s home library, we struggled to find books with characters that looked like her and that were more representative of the world around her. MiJa Books is the result of our (ongoing!) search for books with multicultural and diverse characters that children from all backgrounds can learn from and enjoy. We want our daughter to have shelves full of inclusive books with relatable and inspirational characters. And we hope MiJa Books helps other parents and educators who are looking to diversify their bookshelves. I dream of one day opening a brick-and-mortar children’s bookstore where children of all backgrounds can come and feel accepted and celebrated. But, in the face of the ongoing pandemic, we are trying to build our ecommerce brand. Seeing my daughter’s face every day gives me the strength and motivation I need to continue our mission-driven work at MiJa Books.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to The Getty Center. The view of the city, juxtaposed with gorgeous travertine stone buildings and lush gardens makes for an unrivaled city experience. I’d then spend time across town, in Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market. The vibrant and bustling multicultural culinary scene is sure to please even the most sensitive palettes. At the right time of year, I’d also visit the annual Butterfly Pavilion at The Natural History Museum. Being immersed in a small room with hundreds of butterflies is a mesmerizing way to get connected to nature, and a truly unforgettable experience. 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?
My success would not be possible without the support from my husband, Muammar Reed. As a successful entrepreneur himself, it was with his guidance and motivation that I decided to leave my 9-to-5 and start my own business in 2016. Whenever I doubted myself, he was there to remind me that my talent and passion for my work was reason enough to create my businesses. He continues to be my #1 partner, equally in love and in business.