Nyla Choates

Nyla Choates Wins $7K To Scale ‘My Roots Are Rich’ Brand

The Spelman College junior plans to expand her "My Roots Are Rich" children's brand beyond books and apparel.

Nyla Choates, a junior at Spelman College, claimed the first place prize in Amazon’s “Black is Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition” for her brand, ‘My Roots Are Rich.’

Hosted by Morehouse College in Atlanta, Choates collected her $7,000 prize after participating in the Shark Tank-style pitch contest sponsored by Amazon’s Black Employee Network. The young entrepreneur spoke to Rolling Out about the pitch for her children’s brand, which is aimed at empowering, inspiring, and educating about the rich history of African American contributions to America.

“Now, we’ll no longer only have children’s books and children’s apparel. We’ll also be able to have toys and dolls and backpacks to come,” she said, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to truly scale her business.

Expansion for the brand has been a driving force for Choates, who aims “to be able to not only give children the positive representation they deserve in the books that they read but also in the clothes that they wear and the toys that they play with.” Her ambitions extend to products like water bottles, school supplies, and potentially an animated television show. “The sky is definitely the limit,” she said.

Hailing from California, Choates understands the experience of being “the only little Black girl in the classroom.” She recalled, “What truly affected me was when I’d open the textbooks, and I would only be seeing negative images,” that mainly reflected Africans going through struggles like malnutrition, poverty, and diseases. These images made her feel “extremely sad and insecure” about her roots, prompting her mother to teach her “the untold, positive history of people of African descent,” which included their roles as kings, queens, doctors, and scientists. This knowledge inspired Choates to establish her My Roots Are Rich brand.

According to the My Roots Are Rich website, Choates has captured the attention of celebrities like Alicia Keys, Kevin Hart, and Thasunda Brown Duckett. Choates hosts book tours and workshops at different schools, libraries, and after-school programs.

BLACK ENTERPRISE covered Choates as one of the young visionaries at McDonald’s USA, and actress Keke Palmer was highlighted as one of the 2023 Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders.

In 2022, the Milpitas Unified School District recognized the entrepreneur after she published her “My Roots Are Rich” children’s book. She was a freshman at Spelman at the time.

Choosing Spelman College to pursue her higher education, Choates sought “a space surrounded by Black women and Black excellence.” She hopes her children’s brand will inspire Black boys and girls “to start planting the seeds they want to see grow now.”

My Roots Are Rich products are available to purchase online.

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