Before becoming the successful motherhood influencer and business owner she is today, Donnya Negera’s heart was set on becoming an attorney. That all changed when she realized that her internship on Capitol Hill would be unpaid and her husband was unable to find a job in Washington, D.C. Pregnant with her first child, Donnya moved with her husband to San Diego, California and began documenting her pregnancy on YouTube in 2016.
Fast forward six years — Donnya has amassed a large following on Instagram, TikTok and her personal blog as well as a brand of modern, stylish diaper bags, Yuuma Collection. However, this journey was far from easy.
After realizing that she and her husband would be unable to work in D.C., Donnya’s entire life turned upside down and she did not know what she was going to do. She experienced deep sadness and an overwhelming feeling of being “lost,” all while pregnant with her daughter. It was her decision to lead with that vulnerability on YouTube that cultivated her community of mothers in similar situations.
“It was a mental battle for me but the right decision to make,” Donnya says.
Donnya launched her blog in 2019 and received her first paid gig in the fall of that year.
Despite this newfound success on the internet, Donnya still persisted in her journey toward becoming an attorney, even applying to law school during her second pregnancy. However, while walking the law school halls, she realized that something was not right — she did not feel at home in the legal field.
“I just couldn’t see myself in those shoes,” Donnya says. “I just couldn’t picture it.”
Donnya is grateful that she came to this realization. She explains that, because her husband is an engineer who is often away from the home, life would be difficult for her two children had she become an attorney. Since lawyers are incredibly busy and remote options are sparse in that field, she would have had to put the children in daycare, something she did not feel would work for her family.
In September 2020, Donnya launched Yuuma Collection, a line of high-quality, vegan leather diaper bags.
Through the collection, Donnya strives to promote individuality within motherhood. She speaks about how mothers are often unable to express their own feelings and personalities because of the various responsibilities that come with motherhood. She recounts her relationship with her own mother growing up, saying, “I never got to actually know her on a personal note.”
One look at the Yuuma Collection website will show you just how modern, chic and timeless her bags are. As someone who feels more productive and is able to be more present with her children when she is dressed nicely, Donnya wanted these bags to highlight mothers as women while also remaining functional.
Her driving force in creating the brand? The price, look and lack of durability of other diaper bags on the market. Donnya would often find herself buying a less aesthetically appealing bag, only to change into a nicer purse for a night out. She wanted to create more versatile bags that could be used for more than just carrying diapers and other baby supplies.
“I wanted this bag to encompass every stage of womanhood,” Donnya says. “Of course, motherhood is another stage of that.”
For mothers who also strive to break into the influencer world and even start their own business, Donnya has an e-book, Beginner’s Guide to Micro-Influencing. In it, she states that audience engagement and the courage to “share your story” are key components of internet success.
“Tapping into your story is what really helps,” she says.
Donnya also emphasizes finding your niche and setting boundaries.
“If you want to do motherhood content, you have to set boundaries on what you would like to share,” Donnya says.
To Donnya, the phrase “she can be both” represents an internal struggle that many women, including herself, face.
“It feels like you can’t be both, like you have to sacrifice one side of you and move forward with the other one — whichever is more pleasing or popular,” Donnya says.
However, she highlights that by reaching out for help and doing what makes you happy, women can do both.
You can find Donnya Negera on her blog and YouTube channel. She is also on Instagram and TikTok (@donnyanegera and @itsyagirldonnya, respectively). If you are on the lookout for some high-quality, chic, vegan leather diaper bags, look no further than Yuuma Collection.