Kodjoe: Well you know we my wife [Nicole Ari Parker] has the Save Your ‘Do hair wrap which is doing well and serves an amazing purpose for women with active lifestyles. Then my brother and I started the Alpha initiative where people can sign on as an Alpha Designer, become a team member, get their own Website and get real-time commission. It’s an opportunity for folks to supplement their income—no experience needed. It’s very easy and a great product. I’m very excited because we already have hundreds of people who have joined the initiative.
In addition to you and your wife building an empire, you have your nonprofit to help raise awareness of spina bifida, inspired by your daughter Sophie. How’s that faring?
Kodjoe: Initially, we launched the businesses to create a revenue stream for Sophie’s Voice Foundation. It’s very hard to support a foundation because you have to raise funds all the time. It is something that is close to our hearts and our businesses are all socially conscious—they serve a real purpose in terms of need. ALFA’s custom-tailoring [does as well] because we’re giving people an opportunity to feel confident and great about their appearance whether they are attending business school or going on a job interview. You shouldn’t have to compromise or be a millionaire to have a custom suit or shirt made.
To date, what’s the one investment you wish you’d never made?
Kodjoe: Well, the worst investment I made was about 12 years ago when I put a bunch of money in stock because a lot of these e-commerce platforms imploded and I came up short in those startups.
What’s your best investment?
Kodjoe: I’ve invested in people and that has always been a very good thing. When you believe in somebody and their dreams, it empowers them tremendously and it has proven equally beneficial for me as it has for them.
Have you gained from your losses?
Kodjoe: Absolutely. I’ve learned a lot from losing money, starting businesses, my mentors as well as others and continue a journey of growth. When it comes to investments it’s about trusting your instincts. Oftentimes we’re presented with an opportunity and we already know if it’s real or not. Sometimes your head gets in the way or we want it to happen so badly that we ignore our gut. When you’re dealing with a person and something is telling you that it’s not right even if the person talks a good game or seduces you with numbers too good to be true then it usually is too good to be true.
Some of your loyalists believe you’re too good to be true. What would they be shocked to learn about Boris the father and hubby?
Kodjoe: (Laughs) I’m the bad cop in the relationship. I believe in discipline and structure because it gives children a sense of security. I’m definitely the father who insists that my kids shower, brush their teeth and put on their pajamas before they watch another episode of “Dora The Explorer.” As a husband? I can make some mean pancakes.