Cuddle Ace recently launched on April 15th, providing toddlers and parents with trendy and unique t-shirt apparel. Amber O’ Neal is a proud mama of one that turned her thought into a reality. In this interview, she highlights how the power of prayer drove something inside of her to start her business. She is mama that will not let anything get in the way of her reaching her destiny. Checkout our interview below to learn how Amber got her inspiration to become a momtrepreneur.
Modish Mommies (MM): Tell our readers about yourself.
Amber O’Neal (AO): Hi! My name is Amber O’Neal and I am the mother to my wonderful son Ashton, who is 3. I was born in South Carolina but raised in Florida. I am an Assistant Principal of a school, I absolutely adore. I earned my bachelors in Criminal Justice (University of North Florida) and two Masters: Criminal Justice (Nova Southeastern University) and Educational Leadership (University of North Florida). After I graduated with my second Masters in December 2012, I became pregnant in March of 2013 with my son Ashton who was born December 2013.
MM: What inspired you to start Cuddle Ace and at what point did you decide to make it a reality?
AO: My son gave me the push I needed to make Cuddle Ace a reality. I always had ambitions to start my own business, I even attempted once along with my sister when we started Ambasi Educational Services, which geared towards provided tutoring services. We did not have the time or the passion, so we let the idea go. Cuddle Ace was a thought I had before Ashton turned 2 in December 2015. I prayed and prayed to God on if this was something I needed to pursue and by January 2017, something inside me drove me to move forward, the same feeling when I wanted to obtain my degrees earlier. I knew this feeling meant: Amber let’s do this!
MM: How did you develop your business name and what does it mean to you?
AO: The business name derived from Ashton. His initials are AIS (pronounced Ace) and sometimes we call him this as a nickname. When I was pregnant with Ashton, it was a high-risk pregnancy due to the location of my Uterine Fibroids. They thought I was going to miscarry by 20 weeks because the fibroid was in a unique position and Ashton could possibly not thrive. He arrived at 40 weeks and 4 days! Healthy and happy! He is now 3 and one of the best things I enjoy is our cuddling sessions. I could be lying on the couch and he will bring his 2-3 cars and sit right underneath me and just chill out. This only occurs when he has already tore up the place and is currently taking a break from it all..LOL.
MM: To what do you attribute your success?
AO: Cuddle Ace is still in its infancy stage but I hope with prayer and hard work it will be successful.
MM: What is the most rewarding part about being a mother?
AO: Oh my! Everything is rewarding! Just being able to spend time with Ashton and being able to provide his needs (emotionally, socially, financially, medically, and any other –ly) and see him develop in to bright young child. I love how he knows when he needs comfort; he comes to me because he knows I am there.
MM: How do you balance your work/home life, or is there even such a thing?
AO: I don’t believe there is such a thing! Before becoming an Assistant principal balancing work and home life was pretty simple, I was able to leave most days by 3:00pm and spend the afternoons with Ashton. Now after becoming an Assistant Principal and responsible for operating a school, the hours are longer and I had to force myself to find the balance, which I feel I am getting better with. I choose certain days to stay late and Saturdays and Sundays are strictly Ashton and mommy time until he goes to sleep. Sometimes one does outweigh the other, but it happens. Also Ashton has an awesome father who I co-parent with so this helps when work outweighs home.
MM: What was the best advice you ever received?
AO: Now that Ashton is here, he comes first! Before I do anything, I think about how it will affect him in all aspects of his life.
MM: Where do you see Cuddle Ace five years from now?
AO: Include more products eventually opening up the line to infants and older children and opening up a foster care group home for children separated from their families due to drugs, mental illness, and just unwarranted circumstances. I am currently in the process of researching how to open a foster care home.
MM: How can our readers connect with your business?
If you are a parent, guardian, or caretaker regardless of your relationship to a child, in your eyes they are your cuddle aces. Ace represents so much positivity in which we look at our children such as they are brilliant, champions, great, superb, outstanding, a star, a winner, a genius, rare! We are all ACES, regardless of the situation we are in; it is all about how you persevere.
Instagram & Twitter: @cuddleace