We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Amber Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dr. Amber, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In August 2019 I became the first black woman to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University. There I was, 1 of 1, in an environment that was not created with me in-mind. It was not easy, but I did what I knew best – how to be myself.

I made a conscious decision to be myself, and that decision had a long lasting impact far greater than I could imagine. I was able to create community, build relationships, pilot my PhD research, and serve in many capacities.

From my experiences, I was inspired to create The Kidult Life, a lifestyle brand, to encourage others to “Be who you are no matter where you are.”

A kidult (kid + adult) is someone who is a kid at heart no matter where they are in life. As kids we are fearless and curious, taking on just about any challenge that comes our way. We use our imagination to take us on adventures and grow through our limitless creativity. As time passes, we take on various identities, diminishing the curiosity that allows us to be our true selves. The Kidult Life is a reminder to embrace the kid at heart and just be you.

We all have gifts that are meant to be embraced and expressed. Clothing is a direct expression of who we are, how we feel, and allows us to tell a story. With witty messages on t-shirts and accessories, The Kidult Life allows those stories to be expressed in a fun and creative way.

What should our readers know about your business?
In 2020 I decided to quit my job as a full-time Software Engineer and grow my business, The Kidult Life. About a year prior to quitting my job, I became the first black woman to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University. While the decision to quit my job was a bit tough, I’d learned that I can do anything if I just be myself. I was a 2-sport college athlete in undergrad, and as a PhD student and only Black Woman in my department, I was accustomed to working alone and figuring things out.

I manage and operate all aspects of The Kidult Life, some of which I had no prior experience. For instance, marketing is no joke! I love people, but social media marketing is much different than engaging with people in-person. I do a lot of research and seek advice from others who have traveled this path.

While The Kidult Life is all about authenticity, it has been amazing to see how others respond to my personal journey. I’ve been transparent on my Instagram about issues that I’ve experienced with the business, accidents that have happened while producing products, and things in my personal life. People have responded with encouraging words and gratitude because they too can relate and appreciate the authenticity.

One of the most amazing experiences with being an entrepreneur is seeing people use and love what you produce. It’s an amazing feeling when someone discovers The Kidult Life, and they find joy in the story behind the brand as well as love the products.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big kid and I love food, so we’re going on a food tour! I love to cook, and I think my food is delicious. We’re definitely firing up the grill, and we’ll have to have cornbread, greens, and macaroni and cheese. Pasadena, MD has a nice little beach, so we’d chill there and enjoy the breeze. Jody’s Good Mood Cafe in Beltsville, MD is delicious! It’s a very chill spot, and the crab fries are amazing! Next we’d have to go to. Aside from eating, we’ll fly some kites, hoop (basketball), and play some bid whist or spades.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jesus has been my #1 throughout my journey! I’m so grateful for the gifts and opportunities that God has provided me and for choosing me. My husband is one the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I’m grateful to have a partner and friend who believes in me and grows with me! My family, mentors, friends, and people I follow online have been significantly supportive on my journey. I’m blessed to have had people along the way who have given me a chance and believed in me.

Website: www.thekidultlife.com

Instagram: @callmerudy

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnsonmamber

Twitter: @icallmerudy

Youtube: @thekidultlife

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