Over the past few years, adult coloring books have become increasing popular. Some researchers suggest that coloring is an excellent form of relaxation and meditation. Enter Color Noir, a coloring book app that celebrates #BlackGirlMagic in all of its glory.
This coloring book app is the creation of tech power couple Muoyo Okome and Nicaila Matthews Okome. We chatted with them to find out more about their new project.
What inspired the creation of Color Noir?
Muoyo: I hadn’t colored since childhood, and knew nothing about coloring books for adults until a few years ago when I noticed quite a few of them popping up during my routine App Store research.
I saw that they were becoming popular and successful, but I didn’t understand why. It turns out that people use them to have fun and relax, and as I started to play around with a few different ones, I began to understand the appeal.
I also noticed that (similar to many other forms of entertainment), despite millions of people using them, these coloring book apps made Black people an afterthought. It didn’t click to me at that moment.
Later, when my wife and I watched Black Panther and saw the impact it had on us and so many others by unapologetically telling a black story via a black director and a black cast, set in a black land with beautiful black people and black culture… it got us thinking.
We realized that we are also passionate about using our talents to amplify the stories of black people, and there is a huge need to do so. So I returned to this idea of a coloring book, and the vision for Color Noir took shape from there.
What different skill sets did you both contribute to the success of this app?
Nicaila: Muoyo is the Computer Scientist and App Guy, so he handles the project management with our development team, troubleshooting any coding issues, and getting the product made. I am the visual side.
I feel strongly about curating how things are displayed, the user interface, and the overall user experience, as well as the actual images in the app.
So I work to continually improve that and talk with Muoyo about what’s working and what’s not, what features we should include, and pay attention to what kind of images people are gravitating to. We combine this with feedback from the community to make Color Noir the best it can be.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who have an idea for an app?
Muoyo: This might sound harsh, but I’m going to keep it real with you: nobody cares about ideas no matter how cool or novel they may be. People care about their own wants and needs, and the more you can help them with those the more successful you are likely to be.
You want to really make sure there is demand for the app that you want to produce so you’re not wasting your time and money on something nobody wants.
I’ve seen this happen many times, and even done it before. Not a lot of fun. Get to know the intended audience for your app and really fall in love with them, so that you can continue to solve their problems and serve them over the long term.
Just like with anything else worthwhile, it’s not going to happen overnight just because you have a great idea. You have to commit to learning and doing with intensity, and then continue until things start to work.
When I was getting started, I was able to follow in the footsteps of entrepreneurs who were quite a few steps ahead of me, by reading their books and blogs, listening to their podcasts, joining their groups, and even investing in their courses and seminars.
Ultimately I still had to put in the work and learn through my own execution, as no two paths will ever be exactly the same, but having their examples to follow helped to save time and cut down on my learning curve. This combination of intense learning and intense execution will always pay dividends over a long enough period of time.
In what other areas of the tech industry do you feel there needs to be more Black representation?
Nicaila: Just about every area. There’s no shortage of Black talent, but there is still a huge problem with inclusivity in hiring practices and the cultures within many of these big tech companies.
There is a need for more opportunities for black developers & engineers, technical leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and every other position you can imagine. We are some of the biggest consumers of technology, so why shouldn’t we be among the biggest producers as well?
On our side, we are just going to take matters into our own hands. We want to have as much impact as we can. We’ll continue to attack the representation problem via Color Noir and subsequent apps we produce, as well as by helping other aspiring entrepreneurs via our respective podcasts, Side Hustle Pro and Game of Grow, as well our accelerator programs for aspiring podcasters (Podcast Moguls) and app entrepreneurs (App Moguls), and Muoyo’s book “The 7 Steps to App Success”. We are proud and excited to play a small role in many other success stories and benefit others along the way.
What else do think our readers should know about the Color Noir app?
Nicaila: Color Noir is currently available for iOS in the App Store (download at appmagic.co/color ) and is on the way soon for Android. We are super active on Instagram (@colornoirapp) and have a Color Noir Facebook group where hundreds of our users are sharing their creations, contributing feedback, and getting the latest updates behind the scenes.
We are growing our user base every day, and will continue to invest in making this one of the best apps in its category, as well as in the entire store, over the long term.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (@thebusyafrican)