One night when I was busy putting together the Calendar page for Newport Mesa Moms, I came across a creative writing event that was being held at the library for dads and their children. When I looked into the details for the event, I found out that there was a company behind it all, with the mission of providing more opportunities for dads to hang out with their children. I had to know more! So I contacted the founder (and CDM local), Bobby, and asked if I could interview him about his clothing company, Fodada, and this amazing program he had started.
Here’s The Scoop
You created a clothing company that also puts on events for kids and their dads. Can you tell us a little about how this idea came about?
Our core mission phrase around here is “positive impact” which we believe is like energy. It can neither be created nor destroyed. It’s all around us, but we need to be aware of it and harness it. My experience as a dad has been and continues to be an extraordinary journey, and one that has helped me learn so much. I like to think that as a result of my strong bond and connection with my boys, I am a better man and person, my kids are better positioned for holistic health, and we as a family are better members of the community. We try and promote that concept through our brand. When you spend time and talk with your kids, it is good for us all, and provides a general lift across the board. We make great clothes with this message so that anyone that wears it connects to that message and opportunity, and that anyone that sees our gear is moved to engage in dialogue. Yes, it’s a big idea, but just like anything, it starts with one. In this case, with the most amazing project you will ever take part in as a man…fatherhood.
You named the company fodada. What was the inspiration for the name?
My boys have both been incredibly involved in the company from the idea through its evolution. Afterall, this entire journey was started because of and as a legacy for them. When I committed to launching, I sat my oldest down who was three at the time, and told him what daddy was about to do. I then asked him what we should call it. Almost without hesitation he said “fodada.” Backstory: not unlike other toddlers, when he was just learning how to speak, he would wobble over, grab anything he could get his chubby little hands around, and bring it to me with a giant drooly grin and say “fo dada.”
What kind of events have you done in the past?
It is really fun to go down this memory lane. What I love most about our programs is that they connect to a triangle we believe imperative: spend time with your kids, learn, have fun. Repeat. We have done everything from learning how to style hair, to financial responsibility, to programming robots. If there is interest in a community, we mobilize around that.
What has been your favorite event so far?
That’s like saying what is your favorite food or place you’ve traveled to. Difficult to choose one. I would say I always love the more creative ones such as short story writing, because it showcases imagination and creativity. Very fun.
All the Dad and Me events are free to attend. How do you fund the program?
All our programs and events are free as it is our mission to promote that relationship. Our funding mechanism is our clothing line. We wanted to have a open-ended dialogue with our supporters to keep reminding them about the opportunity, all while using the funds to support additional opportunities.
Are the events strictly local, or can we find them in other cities?
They are happening all around the nation. When someone reaches out and is interested in a type of event, we mobilize around them and help facilitate with a local partner. We’ve actually put on programs in 20 countries around the globe.
What are you the most proud of your company for?
There are so many things and I am blessed to be able to say that. Amazing campaigns that have affected so many. The notes and calls we get are priceless and humbling. But at the top of the list is how it connects me and my boys. This legacy is something that they will have and that makes me very happy.
What are your future plans for the company?
In the last three years we have expanded the brand to assist companies and organizations around the globe get better connected to the concept of positive impact. We now work with about 160 companies and organizations on connecting them and their teams/communities to positive impact. And we are just at the tip of the iceberg.
How can we get involved?
Two ways! Join us for an event or let us put one on for you and your community. Send us an email at [email protected] if you want set up your own! It’s all free and pretty fun.
How can we buy t-shirts?
T-shirts, hoodies, hats and other items can all be found at fodada.com. We also have a great subscription plan that gets subscribers access to private collection items.
So, you’re obviously a very involved dad. How many kids do you have?
Well…sometimes it seems that there is entire clan of them, but in reality two awesome energetic devils, ages six and nine.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids?
As a group we love playing games (real or made-up), especially dance-offs which are very low in choreographic (I think I just made up a word) quality, but high in fun. Game nights, hikes, sports, beach, and much much much more. Never ending. Never. Ending.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date. Why?
Is this a trick question? Every age has its own unique challenges and awesomeness. Cliche but very true. One thing remains constant, craziness. A love-hate story.
What is the hardest part about being a dad in 2018?
Pushing yourself and others to see the role as an opportunity rather than just a responsibility.
What was your favorite thing about your dad?
To do with your dad?
Watching him interact with my boys is off the charts awesome. I also love playing backgammon with him or watching a soccer game.
The best advice your dad gave you?
Two: “Give because you want to, not because you are expected to,” and “women are more complex than you think.” Both spot on.
What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your kids?
Many things actually, but at the top of the list is that they will find respect for themselves, for people, and for all things.
Advice/words of wisdom for other dads and moms?
More what I have learned rather than advice; parenting is a two-way street. You can and should get as much as you put into it. We sometimes believe that it is only a responsibility rather than an opportunity to get so much.
Anything else to add?
Enjoy the ride.
Thank you Bobby! We love what you are doing!
**Fodada’s next local event is Ballet with Dad! Hosted by Tutu School Corona del Mar, on April 15th, children ages 3 to 8 can learn about ballet, see a live demonstration, and participate in a dad & me class. The event is free and runs from 10 am – 11:30 am. To register, click HERE.
Fodada is based out of Newport Beach, but has an impact across the globe.