Nola Ro: Sumptuous Bites


by: We Rise and Shine

It has been said that you are what you eat, and caterer Nola Ro is healthy, balanced and rejuvenated. At the age of 17, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease and her doctors predicted that between ages 28-30 her body would begin to rapidly deteriorate and aggressive dialysis would be needed.   Immediately, healthy meals became a top priority and Nola incorporated lessons she learned about nutritious cooking into her diet. As a result, she turned her health around. Nola has successfully managed the symptoms associated with it. Today, Nola’s lifestyle has transformed into Sumptuous Bites, a reputable catering company, which has become the go to place for mouth-watering, healthy Caribbean-American cuisine.  Here’s what Nola had to say about her journey, entrepreneurship and her commitment to showing others the flexibility and creativity that can be expressed in the culinary arts with West-Indian foods.

What inspired the name Sumptuous Bites?

Sumptuous" means luxurious, extravagant and splendid, which are all words that describe our food and the experience we aim to give our clients.

What are your favorite dishes to cook?

Seafood and vegetables because it doesn’t take much time prepare, but when you eat and look at the meal it doesn’t look like it was just whipped up.

I read that cooking with organic/fresh foods is a must for you. Yet, for some, organic foods can get very pricey and is not always easily accessible. What advice would you give to those who encounter these challenges?

I totally understand that concern. First, I suggest reading labels and identifying all the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, please don’t eat it, the simpler the ingredients, the better.  So, while it doesn’t have to be 100% organic, it should be healthy.  Additionally, like anything you want to buy, shoes for instance, you may shop around for the best deal before purchasing. The same concept applies to food. Whole Foods, while being a great store and expensive, isn’t the only place to buy organic food. Since organic is all the rage, more local supermarkets are adding organic departments to the mix. Also, farmer’s markets, are great options because they have even fresher fruits and vegetables at more affordable prices. Lastly, research. Go on-line and Google affordable organic food locations in your area. So there are always options, you just have to search for them.

 You were diagnosed with a debilitating disease at a fairly young age, how did you stay encouraged and faithful?

 I’ve always known that amazing things would happen in my life.  I want to be healthy enough to witness and live through those amazing times. I love being healthy and being able to travel, I want to enjoy my life.  I also have a 4 year-old son who I know will become an amazing man, and I really want to see that.  Its a matter of me making sure that I take care of myself and try my best to be as healthy as possible to keep pushing through.


Being an entrepreneur is very demanding in itself, how do you manage running your business and caring for your 4 year old son as a single mom?

For me, it’s live or die, there’s no in between for me. No middle ground, as “middle grounds” I find to be a breeding place for excuses. When you are truly passionate about something you make it happen. Sound’s cliché, I know. However, passion drives you to do the incomprehensible, the unthinkable and the unbelievable; having your own business falls under all these categories. It’s a demanding life for sure, having a child and being a CEO is no easy feat. There is no method to the madness really, I just get up and go. As Nike says, “Just do it.” Sometimes too much thinking about how you will get it all done paralyzes you with fear. Also, taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally doesn’t hurt. I like to pay attention to how I feel about things, and I don’t ignore the signs my body is giving me.  Making sure that Nola is ok is an essential to ensuring that I take care of my responsibilities and do them well.

What was the biggest sacrifice that you have made to see the idea of “Sumptuous Bits” become realized?

To be honest, when it comes to doing what I have to do its very rare that I use the word sacrifice.  I don’t look at it as a sacrifice.  I have a game plan, and sometimes when you want to make something happen there are some things you should not do because it will slow you down or not make your vision become realized at all. It’s a matter of staying on course.  I feel like I’m winning.

What do you think is the #1 problem that holds young women back from accomplishing their business goals?

Definitely fear, and I can speak from my own experience.  It’s apparent when you have to work harder just to prove yourself because you are young, and you are a woman.  For some reason, those two things mean that people don’t automatically trust you when it comes to business.  You may have to deal with rejection or having to work harder than your male counterparts. There are so many times where I have to hold my composure or bite my tongue because I realize that maybe its not personal, and the person that is treating me a certain way is doing so because it’s the way they were programmed.  It’s daunting and discouraging, but you have to say “my vision is a lot bigger than the way people are programmed and I’m going to push through this anyway.”

Many women want to have their own business and the title of CEO, what would you say are the top 3 characteristics all aspiring entrepreneurs should possess?

You have to be purposeful, passionate and persistent.  So many things will stand in your way just because you are a woman.  If you are living your purpose, nothing can stop you.  If you are passionate, that is going to be your drive and if you are persistent, you are going to keep pushing no matter what. 

What achievement are you most proud of?

I am my biggest accomplishment; That’s a bold statement, right? I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. So, before people misinterpret what I’m saying…let me explain. When I reflect on my past mental and emotional state, and the decisions that I’ve made in that state of mind, in comparison to now, Oh my goodness! You have no idea! I was able to pull myself out of that slump.  If I didn’t my business wouldn’t survive, and I would’ve been a terrible mother to my child. Nothing positive would’ve happened for me if I didn’t look at myself and say, “Ok Nola, you have to get serious, about your life, become the achievement first, before you can expect to receive one.”

You were fortunate to be raised by an entrepreneurial and business savvy mother, what is the greatest lesson you learned from working alongside her?

My mom is so strong.  I’ve seen her go through some unthinkable things just because she’s a businesswoman.  But what I love most is that my mom always remained kind, and continued to be a beautiful woman that a lot of people may have folded or become bitter. It is very inspiring to see that no matter what happened she’s able to keep going.

What is the most important piece of advice/insight that you would share with aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Don’t stop, no matter what!  A lot of times we see people who are doing well and we assume that they don’t have a little voice in their head that says, “you’re not good enough, you’re going to fail.”  Sometimes you think you’re the only one going through this, but this is something that we all go through, and I battle it everyday. I make it a point to wake up in the morning and forgive myself for whatever mistakes I made yesterday so, I can have the strength to do better today. Also, I’d say to run your own race, and keep pushing no matter. Ignore the lying little voices in your head and trust, in your talents and cultivate your skill. The difference between success and failure is persistence.

What can we expect next from Nola Ro/Sumptuous Bites?

There are so many things that are going to happen, but what is very exciting for me right now is that I am going to begin filming an online cooking show; we will begin filming the end of August/beginning of September. Also, I have a few local TV spots/interviews with a focus on healthy cooking later this year.

SeQuoya Addison: The Avenu

by:  We Rise and Shine

You did it!  You quit the job you dreaded going to every day and you’ve set off on the adventure of entrepreneurship. You’ve dreamed of this moment for a while, and have already envisioned yourself giving a TED Talk.  It’s so exhilarating to finally have control over your career and follow your true passion.  Fast-forward a few months into your new business and the excitement is already starting to wear off.  The phone isn’t ringing like you thought it would, and your inbox is only filled with spam.  You feel like your friends and family are giving you the “It’s time to get a job” face, and you know it’s time to revise your strategy but don’t know where to start.  If this you, head on down to The Avenu, a North Carolina based consultancy, which provides entrepreneurs with direction and resources to organize their business structure. I had the chance to soak up some knowledge from Founder/Brand Clarity Consultant Sequoya Addison, and it’s only right that I share some of this wisdom with you.  Get your notepads ready!

For those who don’t know, what is a Brand Clarity Consultant?

I help people find clarity in their businesses and brand, by helping them organize and come up with a strategy and a plan to feel more fulfilled in their business.

How did you come up with the concept?

I was inspired by my boyfriend and his business needs, and then I helped my aunt with her business.  From there I recognized a common trend with people feeling distraught and disorganized with their business and I realized I needed to consult in those areas. One day I was in Microsoft OneNote and thought, “Let me see if I can figure this out, and come up with a business model for this to happen.” I thought about other consultants that I saw on the web and what I could offer that would be different. In jotting things down, I decided that I want to incorporate yoga and wellness at some point and emphasize peace of mind.  When you have peace of mind you think better and you feel better about yourself, and when you do that I believe your business will be a happier place. 

 What are the services you provide?

 I offer three different types of consultations for specific needs:  

     General consultations for people who have general questions geared towards entrepreneurship.

     Consultations targeted towards people who need clarity and direction on starting a business.

     And consultations for entrepreneurs already in business who need to clarify, declutter and strategize in order to gain more peace of mind and more time in their workday.

You grew up around entrepreneurs, what were some of the key takeaways that stuck with you when you launched the Avenu?

I can be my own boss, and make my dreams come true and help people in the process.  My grandparents had their own business and my aunt is a hairstylist, so I  had a good grasp on how to run a business and treat your customers.  I  admired how they had complete control over their careers. 

What was the greatest challenge you faced when starting your consultancy? 

The greatest challenge was telling myself to start while I was still in college, and believing that people could take my serious as a fresh entrepreneur.  I had to be really organized and intentional on how I wanted my business to run. 

What are the top 3 things that an aspiring entrepreneur should do before launching their company?

1.    Decide what it is that you want to do. Make sure it’s what you want to do and not what’s popular right now.  When I first started I looked at other consultants and tried to figure out how I could differentiate myself from them. I wanted to make sure I was doing something that no one else was doing, and I wanted do to do something that was really true to me, my beliefs and my lifestyle.  Do what it is that’s in your heart.

2.    Do your research.  Look at other companies and ask yourself, what do I like that they’re doing? What don’t I like?  What would I do differently?  That will help you analyze the market.

3.    Don’t lose your passion.  You may start your business and won’t get any sales on your first day, first week, or month for that matter..  Stay passionate because a business without passion is lifeless.  Entrepreneurship is tough; during the first year you are going to have your ups and downs.

What are some common mistakes that you’ve seen entrepreneurs make in the beginning stages of their business?

A common factor is the failure to plan.  Where is your timeline for your goals?  What are your short-term and long-term goals? How are you going to sustain your business? How do you want to see your business grow?  Some people even forget to name their business, which is a shock to me.  Because people are so passionate, they don’t think they should plan and go by day-to-day.  When things get stagnant they don’t understand why, and it’s because they don’t have a plan.  Its hard to bring things to life when you don’t write down your vision.    Failure to plan is something that I see in some type of capacity whether it’s that they don’t have a business plan, don’t have any goals, don’t have any budget and don’t know how much they should invest in their business or how much they can.   

What are some of your favorite apps or programs that you use to keep yourself organized? 

     Microsoft One Note - Life is a whole lot easier. It gives me access to create multiple notebooks with different tabs.

     Google Drive - Syncs automatically to my phone

     The Mail app on the Mac Book - Access all my emails on one platform

     Podio Project Manager - Can create different dashboards


 How did you build your client base?

I started with the initial clients I worked with before I realized I was offering a true service and connected with them.  When I got a website together I put their testimonials on there, and I started blogging. My first paying client shared her experience with my business on her blog, which helped spread the word.  I distribute my business cards at events and let people know what I do, and I share on social media as well.

 How do you stay motivated?

I look at my goals, recognize what I’ve already done, remember why I started, where I want to be, and how I want to help people out.  I also remember to just breathe, and I practice Yoga to help clear my mind and relax.  I have support systems, which consists of my friends who are entrepreneurs as well.  I also stay motivated by checking in with them.

What are some great resources, books you recommend for entrepreneurs?

     “Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service” by Chip R. Bell

     “Make Your Mark - The Creative Guide to Building a Business With Impact”


     “Girl Boss”

     “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”

     TED talks

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?

START!  Realize that perfection hardly ever happens.  Embrace your journey. 



Where you can find SeQuoya: