How This HBCU Grad and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Member are Balancing Family,Business and Parenthood
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Husband and wife team Derek and Adashia Hardge are business partners, parents, and the owners of Roots Juice and Pops, and all natural juice company. Learn how this Albany State University grad and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. member are balancing parenthood, business and more.
1) Tell us how you got started in your field Derek- Roots Juice and Pops started with a want and need to be healthy, and grooming our kids to healthy eating habits.
2) Talk to us about the initial startup stages with your business career.
Adashia- The legalization startup process of RJP was surprisingly simple. We went online and filed our LLC, went to get our business license and we were an official entity. That was probably the easiest part looking back now, in terms of initial start up stages. There’s been so many things that we’ve learned and are still learning. Everything from state taxes, to government taxes, to refiling fees, to marketing material and social media content, licensing, and so much more. We started out with working out of our apartment complex and as we grew, we started learning more about farmers markets and which events made sense for our business model. We attended events where we didn’t even sell one item, but then we’ve also attended events where we’ve sold out completely. I say that to say that the “legalization” start up is easy. It’s the proof of concept and finding your niche and market that is the challenging part of any business model.
3) What is the most rewarding part for you about what you do?
Derek- The passion. When you have passion for running and operating business(es) full time it’s not work , it’s actually fun. And ownership , knowing that I can build a legacy with my wife/business partner, and that legacy and entity that we own can be passed to our kids kids is the greatest feeling.
4) How did your Fraternity/ HBCU journey impact the person you are today
Derek -(Georgia Southern University -Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Pi Rho Chapter) Being a Sigma helped me realize that your network and your net worth are closely tied. The relationships built through my collegiate career that still stand has helped me to build current LLC’s and lifelong friendships that I cherish. As an young adult post under grad i take those principals Sigma has taught me and try to apply to everyday life rather business personal.
Adashia- Attending an HBCU showed me how strong our people, including myself, truly are. Growing up, I attended a majority black school everywhere that I went for the most part. It wasn’t until I transferred to GA southern that I was able to be surrounded by a different environment and people that didn’t look like me or come from the same financial background as me. That’s when I grew an appreciation for my HBCU. My African diaspora teacher at ASU walked side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King when he visited Albany, GA and he is in the black history museum in Albany, GA to this day. But he had so many stories and hymns that he would sing every morning when I went to class.
Hearing how he experienced the oppression, devastation, and lack of support and to now be teaching black students from all over the world about how we were able to overcome was just a huge eye opener to show me that we can and will overcome. Transferring to a traditional college showed me that despite our circumstances and our lack of resources to get ahead, here we are. That, for me, is the biggest motivator in everything that I do and I know that attending an HBCU helped me realize this.
5)How do you all balance parenthood, and mixing business, with personal?
Derek- The “Balance” of life and everything in between is a factor that we underestimate and we need to appreciate more. Realizing that time is your most valuable asset as a business man/woman , and more importantly a human being is the first step. The second step is learning how to prioritize what’s important to you, which for us is spiritual, mental,& physical health first, because without that nothing else matters. Secondly family over everything else , then business . Taking time for maintenance of self , time for our young Kings and time for us as a married couple , and then business falls neatly in 3rd place, but is just as valuable because we’re passionate about entrepreneurship and ownership.
Adashia- It’s definitely a challenge. One that we are continuing to build on is balance. Staying true to what’s most important to you is key. It’s so easy to lose sight of certain goals and neglect other goals. I think keeping faith at the forefront of everything is a huge factor. Whatever it is that you want to be and/or do, God will provide and in some cases take things away from you so that you can stay true to the goals that you’ve prayed for. I’m also thankful to have my husband along side of me because I think we are able to have a ‘checks and balances’ type of system where we can push and motivate one another to make sure we’re focused.
6) What has been the biggest lesson about overcoming obstacles and failure that you have learned throughout your business journey?
Derek- Once we adopted the Wins and Lessons never A Loss mentality, those challenges, hurdles, and trials have all been major teachers along the entrepreneurial journey. We tend to look at storms and test through a different lenses now. When those storms start to brew, I sit still and try to figure out the lesson in it all.
7) Tell us about upcoming projects you are working on
Derek- Landing more partnerships with with local GYMs and facilities for our products to be sold
8) Leave us with some words of advice you can offer to aspiring and current entrepreneurs
Speak, visualize , and claim what you want, and watch it manifest. You have to think about it , dream about it and meditate on that goal/dream daily
To learn more visit https://www.rootsjuiceandpops.com/