Stated (& nem), LLC | NATIONAL BLACK BUSINESS MONTH INTERVIEW SERIES | SERIES BONUS

August is National Black Business Month. To celebrate TheBlack.Blog will be releasing a month-long interview series featuring black businesses across the country. New interviews will premiere every Monday at 5pm CST. Plus, series bonus interviews premiere on Fridays.

To start the Series Bonus edition of the National Black Business Month: Interview Series presented by TheBlack.Blog, we spoke with La’Toni Cromes to discuss her business and her entrepreneurship journey. La’Toni Cromes is an HBCU alum, educator and business owner with a passion for literacy, community service and community empowerment. She is the founder of Stated (& nem), LLC, an attitude, affirmation, and community centered organization.


TheBlack.Blog:

Hello, everyone and welcome to the National Black Business Month: Interview Series. I am speaking with La’Toni Cromes, the founder of Stated (& nem), LLC. Tell us a little bit about yourself for people who do not know you.

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Well, some students know me as Professor Cromes and Ms. Cromes but for everybody else, I’m just Toni. I’m from upstate New York, Rochester, pretty much a North Carolina transplant. I transferred down here to go to North Carolina A&T, the illustrious. I’m a mama. I’m a teacher. I’m a business woman. I’m every woman like Whitney Houston says. That’s me in a nutshell.

TheBlack.Blog:

Start with telling us about your entrepreneurship journey. How did your entrepreneurship journey start?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Oh, that’s a good question. While teaching at one of the top universities, I was also a student engagement coordinator at a high school. The whole time that I was at the high school, I didn’t have a job description, but I was doing student engagement workshops. I was pretty much in charge of bringing culture to the school because it was very uncultured. After two years at that school, my work was not recognized. It was not being cultivated and the students wanted more stuff, but it just wasn’t a good fit.  During Black History Month that year, it came to me. I was like “Okay, this is what you can do on your own.” So, Stated pretty much started in the margins of my notebook years ago, when I was in grad school, and finally I just brought it into fruition. We soft launched last year, maybe November-ish. I have nothing but good stories and good energy that’s been coming from it, so that’s really what has been fueling my entrepreneurial journey forward.

TheBlack.Blog:

You spoke briefly about Stated but for those who do not know about Stated at all, what is Stated (& nem), LLC?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

So Stated (& nem) is not your typical organization. Well, look at the name. We could have said ‘Stated and Company’, but this ain’t that. It’s really unabashed and in your face. Stated (& nem) is an umbrella. So nem is them, that’s the pronoun for multiple things. Stated is offering multiple things. We offer student engagement workshops, community events, mentorship and scholarships. Right now my biggest focus is on community events and student engagement because when students are connected, one, with themselves and then with other people, then they can learn better and then they can do better things in the community. My goal is that you see our work and you recognize our work before you even see who’s behind it. 

TheBlack.Blog:

Tell us about the different workshops or community events Stated has hosted. 

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Our first event was Yoga For The Neo Soul because I felt like, why not create a space that my people can really vibrate with. Stated, we just can’t do things regularly. We got to put a little oomph on it. So, we put some D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott on and it was amazing. Now we’re getting ready for August, September, and fall. So, we’re in the midst of planning a ladies’ night themed health and wellness workshop. 

TheBlack.Blog:

Now that we know more about what Stated is, talk about the name. Give us the origin story. How did you come up with the name Stated (& nem)?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

All right. So, here’s a brief lesson. Back at home, in the ’99-2000s,  we used to say, “Stated,” or, “State my word,” and pretty much that means `word is bond’ , ‘word to my mom’. Right now people like ‘period.’ So, pretty much the work of Stated, it’s all official. You’re going to feel this and that’s just that. 

TheBlack.Blog:

Shifting gears a little bit, you’ve talked all that you are. Being a mother, educator, business owner and the list goes on. Speak on how you balance it all, if you’ve found a balance.

Stated (& nem), LLC:

So, I’m still figuring out my balance. Right now the biggest thing that’s keeping me grounded is community. I have to talk to certain people at least once a week so I can just be reminded. I just need to be affirmed sometimes.  Also, that whole drinking your water and minding your business, that is something that I do too because I just can’t afford to get caught up in anything that doesn’t have to do with propelling me and Stated forward. Overall just working out and  being in good company. 

TheBlack.Blog:

What’s been the biggest thing that you’ve learned since being an entrepreneur?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Keep asking because somebody going to tell you, “Yes.” Just keep shooting your shot. If you are going to shoot your shot when you are talking to people out in the street then  you can definitely shoot your shot when it comes to your business. 

TheBlack.Blog:

What is something that you dislike about being in business, if there is anything?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Waiting on other people. I’m trying to practice patience and extend grace. We’re still in the pandemic. It is just a lot going on. So, finding that balance between making sure somebody’s not playing in my face and making sure I’m gently reminding them, “Hey, you did give us a little commitment. Are you going to follow through?”  Waiting on other people is tough because you just don’t know what’s going on in their life and what’s going to happen and how that can affect you.  So, I’m still practicing patience as an individual and as a business woman. 

TheBlack.Blog:

Thinking on a grand level.  If you can look ahead, where do you see Stated (& nem) in five years?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Stated (& nem) is going to be international. Here, there, everywhere. We are going to have people in the UK, like, “State my word.”  I really  feel like I can see it. I feel it. And so, that’s what keeps me so excited. I don’t care if y’all don’t see it. I know.

TheBlack.Blog:

We’re almost at the end, but before we go. Let us know how we can support Stated (& nem)?

Stated (& nem), LLC:

There are a couple ways to support. Cope some merch. Sponsor a scholar. We have Stated scholars who are out here and they want to do work in the community, but they also need tools. Stated also has a big focus on literacy, so people can also donate some books. The biggest thing though is to help us expand our network. Tap in with us, bring us into the space. Let us know how we can help y’all because Stated is all about collaboration. ‘Nem’ is dual. It’s not just about things that we offer, it’s about everybody else that we’re partnering with. That’s really where the power of Stated is in. It’s all about the collaboration because it’s not the Toni show. It’s not just the Stated show. It’s all of us. All of those are definitely ways that you can support Stated. 

TheBlack.Blog:

Okay. Well, everyone, this was Stated (& nem). Thank you for joining us for the National Black Business Month: Interview Series.

Stated (& nem), LLC:

Thank you.

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Celebrate National Black Business Month with us!

New interviews premiere every Monday at 5pm CST. Series bonus interviews premiere on Fridays.

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