Brooklyn-born and bred Nia Hooper-Mason is no newbie to the fashion scene. The Howard University graduate has over two decades of experience in the fashion industry. She’s worked in corporate fashion for Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Bally, Furla and the Banana Republic, to name a few. Nia also had her own company as an image stylist and has worked on films such as Just Wright, Next Day Air, Notorious, and more.
It wasn’t until she gave birth to her triplets Cole, Amaya, and Noah in 2014, whom she affectionately refers to as her LOVE JOYs, that she found her true purpose. Nia realized that she couldn’t find culturally affirming clothing for her triplets and wanted to create a brand that not only made high-quality essentials for children but also affirmed them.
LOVE JOY ORIGINALS was conceived in Brooklyn in Summer 2020. Nia worked with artists, printers, creators, and thinkers in her community to create a sustainable childrenswear brand that creates premium essentials that inspire. All of the pieces are made locally in Brooklyn.
We had a chance to sit down with Nia to discuss her inspiration, why she created LOVE JOY ORIGINALS, and how mothers can affirm their Black and Brown children.
Travel Noire: How did your Brooklyn upbringing impact your role as Chief Affirmations Officer of LOVE JOY ORIGINALS?
Nia: Both of my parents are former educators in the New York City Department of Education. My father has always been about Black empowerment and enterprising. He would teach my cousin and me about purchasing products and reselling them at a higher price and how to calculate our profit.
Growing up in Brooklyn, I was surrounded by vibrant colors, diverse people, and our cultural impact on fashion. My mother’s family hails from the Dominican Republic and my Great Grandmother and Abuela were amazing seamstresses. They made clothing by hand, without using patterns. I got my eye and style sensibility from them. My mother taught me that presentation is everything and to always show up as my best self.
Travel Noire: Why did you create LOVE JOY ORIGINALS?
Nia: My husband and I have 8-year-old triplets and I wanted to build a legacy for them and also have a brand that would affirm, empower and inspire them to show up as their best selves every day, the way my mother taught me.
In this world of hyper-productivity and being a mom of multiples, I look for things that are multifunctional. If we all have to wear underwear, why not put affirmations on them? Affirmations are the modern-day logo for empowerment for children.
Travel Noire: How do you find inspiration for affirmations and pieces in the Affirm A Day Collection?
Nia: My children are my inspiration. I have two young kings and one young queen and the joy, vivacity, and energy that they bring every single day affirms me as a mom and as a woman. They inspire me and bring me joy by saying things like “mommy you’re the best” and them wanting to pour back into me the way I pour into them. They are truly my inspiration. Their smiles, hugs, and laughter are infectious and that’s what I pour into LOVE JOY ORIGINALS.
Travel Noire: What is the most difficult part of running a childrenswear brand?
Nia: Money. Right now, I struggle. There are days when the “mom guilt” weighs heavily on me. Yes, I’m investing in my brand, but at the same time, my children are only going to be their current age for so long. I could be using that money for extracurricular activities or travel or other experiences for my children outside of our borough, city, state, and country.
Sometimes it’s a challenge between continuing to invest in LOVE JOY ORIGINALS, which is building a legacy for myself, children, and future generations, and focusing on the present.
Travel Noire: We heard you have a corporate gifting program, can you tell us more about it?
Nia: Yes! I am super excited about this. It’s an opportunity to have a multi-level impact. It’s great for corporations to invest in a Black and Latina company. LOVE JOY ORIGINALS is a sustainable brand that affirms, empowers, and inspires children. We put wearable affirmations on eco-friendly bamboo cotton and spandex to create premium childrenswear essentials.
Corporations can gift their clients and associates with LOVE JOY ORIGINALS products. There are two options: The Legacy Set includes three pieces with the affirmations I Am Love, I Am Joy, I Am Original or the Complete 7-Piece Set, which includes the affirmations I Am Love, I Am Joy, I Am Original, I Am Amazing, I Am Confident, I Am Victorious, I Am Enough.
We offer infant bodysuits and child sets. You can choose from a tank top, a short sleeve t-shirt, a panty brief, or a boxer brief.
Travel Noire: How can moms affirm their children daily?
Nia: What I enjoy about affirmations is that it’s not a singular thing. When a mom, caregiver, and/or parent says affirmations aloud to the child, they are also saying it aloud to themselves. Whether subconscious or conscious, you will be tuned in and take in those affirmations for yourself in addition to pouring that into your child. None of us can pour from an empty cup.
Travel Noire: What is your goal for LOVE JOY ORIGINALS in the next five years?
Nia: I am just going to put it out here because closed mouths don’t get fed! My dream for LOVE JOY ORIGINALS in the next five years is to be the go-to vendor for Pottery Barn Kids, and Crate and Barrel Kids so that we have culturally reflective prints and affirmations on a myriad of products for children. I see LJO expanding to backpacks, bed linen, wallpaper, lunchboxes, and wall art. If you can imagine it, I want us to be where there are multiple children, many shades of brown, and not be tokenized.
Gone are the days of being just the one Black or Brown child.
The Affirm A Day collection is now available at www.lovejoyoriginals.com.