Browse Tag

shoes

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Black Owned Luxury Shoe Brand Launches In Multiple Nordstrom Locations

Keeyahri is a Black owned luxury shoe label focused on building up the confidence of the shoe wearer every step of the way. Founder and Artistic Director Keya Martin swapped out her corporate career for a more rewarding one in fashion with an emphasis on luxury footwear for the confident woman.

We caught up with her to find out more about her business and entrepreneurial journey.

Black Owned Luxury shoe
Keeyahri Founder and Artistic Director, Keya Martin

What inspired you to start a shoe business? 

My perspective on life changed once I felt that the corporate world had a way of eroding one’s sense of self value. After feeling unfulfilled, I prayed and searched for signs and guidance. I made a list of things that I took interest in, footwear was on it.

I’ve always had a good eye for shoes and I wanted to create designs that contributed to my confidence. I became passionate about making statement piece designs that women would love to wear. Once I received my first samples back, I would wear my shoes to networking events.

The compliments I received condensed my insecurities and fueled my self-esteem. Wearing “feel good” shoes makes me feel as if my walk in life is elevated. My shoes transformed me.  I design shoes for women who are in need of an artistic statement piece to provide a sense of elevation and certainty. My goal is to celebrate women by uplifting and empowering them.

Black Owned Luxury shoe

What has been the most rewarding part of your business journey? What has been the most challenging?

The Nordstrom partnership is by far the most rewarding part of my journey. Not only did they invest in my company, but they also gave me their full support to onboard my brand. This partnership opens doors for future growth of all Black owned businesses.

What was most amazing was their continued belief in my potential despite my brand being new to the industry. This is my proudest moment by far. Never in a million years did I think this would ever happen. The journey has been quite challenging but this solidifies all of my effort and hard work.

Black Owned Luxury shoe

Congrats on your Nordstrom partnership. How did that relationship come about?

I was connected to their designer buying team earlier this year. Once connected, they expressed that they were already interested in the brand. We set up a meeting, where I was able to share my story and present my collection. They shortly came back with the styles and quantities they were interested in.

What do you need to take your business to the next level?

As a small minority business, access to capital and funding resources remain essential to our ability to profit and thrive. With capital, I can streamline my processes, scale up my operations, hire great new people and continue working on the things I care about most: creating designs that uplift people.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we actually do it. Once I decided to book my trip to Italy to locate a factory, everything started to align and fall in place. My advice would be to make a move, shoot your shot, jump in that dm, make the connection, collaborate. Do not stay stagnant. If you’re scared, do it scared.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see Keeyahri growing into a lifestyle brand. I’m more of an innovator as opposed to being a footwear designer. I foresee handbags, garments, perfume, and home accessories in the near future. I’m looking forward to partnering with more retailers around the globe.

-Tony O. Lawson


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Meet The Owner of One of LA’s Most Popular Black Owned Luxury Shoe Cleaning Businesses

Sole Hue is a Black owned luxury shoe cleaning brand based in North Hollywood, CA. This business has become one of the biggest boutique sneaker cleaning services in the LA and the Hollywood area.

Cortini Grange caught up with Sole Hue’s founder, Drew Green to find out more about Sole Hue.

Sole Hue founder, Drew Green

Where did the idea for SoleHue originate?

SoleHue originated in my hometown, Woodbridge, VA when I was a freshman in high school.

Jordan releases in my neighborhood were a big deal on Saturday’s, but my mom couldn’t always afford to buy me new Jordan’s. So, I started charging to clean my friend’s shoes after school. As the semesters went on, I started getting more and more shoe cleaning orders. And, my business mindset grew into an actual company.

The current pandemic has caused a lot of small businesses to take big blows. What has kept SoleHue thriving and what pivots have you made to continue growing during this time?

For SoleHue, our biggest “Big Blows” have come in a more positive light, than negative. We have been able to successfully execute creative marketing techniques that allow us to target a genuine audience, unique to our brand.

It has been rewarding to build professional relationships with clientele that actually needs our services. This pandemic has also allowed me to live, bicoastal, between Los Angeles and Virginia. I appreciate the time to travel back home and connect with the core of SoleHue.

The support I receive back home is different. This has promoted the consistent strengthening of our values. In Addition, this pandemic has brought SoleHue the opportunities to collaborate with like brands who have also needed help staying creative since face-to-face interactions have been halted due to stay-at-home orders.

It’s been a lot of fun finding artful ways to overcome creative blocks. We have some things in the works with Sneakertopia. I can’t wait to share that.

Luxury sneakers have been a part of Black culture for nearly four decades. From Adidas in the 80’s to the rise of Jordan’s in the 90’s and the current Yeezy craze that’s eclipsed in the billion-dollar net worth mark in record time. Now, we even have a “stock exchange” for buying and seeking kicks (StockX). Where do you see sneaker culture going in the future?

I definitely see technology influencing our sneaker world for decades to come! We already see tech designs that include auto-lacing and fitness tracking.

I believe the ability to try on shoes without actually “trying them on” is coming, as well as more advanced tracking capabilities.

Black Owned Luxury Shoe Cleaning

Outside of the SoleHue brand, what is Drew Green engaged in? What brings you joy in the moments when you aren’t working?

Aside from SoleHue, I spend my time using my platform to influence the youth in my community.

I started mentoring a few young adults, I show them the ropes of business and personal success. And, the things that ultimately bring me the most happiness are working to break generational curses while building generational wealth and educating my family on financial literacy through love and by leading by example. These things are very important to me.

I am honored to be a part of such a platform. Thank you for highlighting myself and my business on Shoppe Black.

Black Owned Luxury Shoe Cleaning

Contributed by Cortini Grange

Cortni lives by the personal motto, “wealth, is the ability to fully experience life”. As such, Cortni wears many hats: he is a father, servant leader, social entrepreneur, spiritualist, and a proud Jamaican (which requires a three job minimum to maintain active status).

Cortni infuses his principles, belief, and life experiences into all he does. When Cortni is not doing 1,000 things, you can catch him dancing to Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley in the kitchen with his son Jameson Mosiah, deepening his knowledge of African Spiritual Science, back on his family’s farm in Linstead, Jamaica, or upholding his car freestyle championship belt at all costs.

 

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From Combat Boots to Pumps, How this Veteran is Taking the Fashion World by Storm

During her 20 years in the U.S. Army, Natasha Stanford jumped out of airplanes, led and developed multiple teams and was responsible for administrating a multi million dollar contract.

After each deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, Natasha would to treat herself to a luxury item. Unfortunately, the shoes that she bought may have been stylish, but they were not comfortable. She became determined to find a way to create comfortable shoes of high quality.

This determination led Natasha to enroll in Arsutoria School in Italy, where she trained in the design, pattern making and manufacturing of shoes.

We caught up with Natasha to find out more about the inspiration behind her shoe company, Norie Shoes and her entrepreneurial journey in general.

norie shoes
Natasha Standard

How did your tenure in the armed forces prepare you for entrepreneurship?

In the military you learn and develop multiple skills and characteristics that and also beneficial in entrepreneurship. Some of these include leadership skills, discipline and tenacity. are among them. Other things I learned during my service were the importance of networking, financial skills and the ability to discern a situation.

norie shoes

What has been the most rewarding thing about your entrepreneurial journey so far? What has been the most challenging?

The most rewarding thing about my journey so far is being acknowledged by some celebrities, musicians, and athletes.

The most challenging is convincing people to believe in me and my vision. People will never believe in you the way you believe in yourself.

How do you select your designs and materials?

Because I am school trained, I follow the very important trend analysis process that is published on a bi-annual basis to the fashion industry. What most designers do not know, is that access to trend information is $25,000 a year.  That is technically a barrier to entry, because most designers cannot afford that expense.

This barrier allows a small designer like myself, to be in trend so that buyers will take notice and give my brand a chance because my style is similar to the larger designers they are used to supporting.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In five years, I plan on opening stores around the world (including an airport), and in two large retail stores.

I also see my company selling ten thousand pairs of shoes per year and becoming a household shoe brand name that is popular with celebrity designers and stylists. I would like my brand mentioned in a rap or R&B song.

In addition to all that, I will give back to the community by providing free shoes + backpacks to school age girls. My team is working on it, we don’t have the details yet.

norie shoes

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice is to go for it and buy the best website, consultant and advisor for the lowest price.  For example, I spent $6,000 on a website and after it was built, the developer tried to charge me even more for something simple.  I fired him and started using Shopify.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

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Black Owned Men’s Shoe Brands

Whether you’re thinking about expanding your wardrobe or someone else’s, consider choosing from these Black owned men’s shoe brands.

Black Owned Men’s Shoe Brands

Ron Donovan

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Armando Cabral 

Black Owned Mens Shoe Brands

Blue Sole Shoes

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Billioné Rikko 

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Negash 

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Keexs 

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Tucci Polo 

Fabrice Tardieu

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

LOLU 

Southern Gents 

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Uptown Yardie

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

ENZI 

Black Owned Mens Shoe Brands

Sole Rebels

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Mandeaux

-Tony O. Lawson

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Kahmune Offers Luxury Footwear For All Skin Tones

Kahmune is the brainchild of Jamela Acheampong. The London based entrepreneur has launched a brand that aims to address the lack of diversity in the luxury footwear industry.
We wanted to find out more about more about her and her business. This is what she had to say:
Jamela Acheampong
SB: What inspired the creation of Kahmune?
 
JA: Kahmune was inspired by my own personal struggle to see myself, more particularly my skin tone, represented in the fashion industry. I spent hours searching online last year for a nude shoe that would match my dark complexion.
When you search the term “nude” it returns garments and accessories that are the same beige and tan colours and or hues, that are far from nude on my complexion.
I found it ridiculous, and slightly infuriating, that in 2016 something like this was still an issue! Why shouldn’t myself, or anyone else for that matter, be able to have access to skin tone accessories?
It was in that moment that I decided to make sure it was an issue no longer. ALL skin tones are beautiful and we all deserve to have our beauty represented in the fashion industry.
 
JA: What has been the most gratifying part of your entrepreneurial journey so far? What has been the most challenging?
 
The most gratifying part of the journey so far has been the transition towards being my own boss and making my own decisions. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing and always known I wanted to do. It just feels right.
Additionally, a large part of my daily motivation has come from the response to the brand. Reading the comments, emails, and various messages from women across the globe has been incredible.
Hearing about how excited they are about Kahmune or that it’s given them more pride in their skin tone has made this journey more than worth it!
The most challenging part has been doing everything on my own! I do it all- social media, emails, production, etc and it has proved to be quite demanding. It’s also been difficult dealing with the process of manufacturing shoes in themselves.
I’ve had to change manufacturers a few times and have experienced quite a few delays in production but it’s all part of the process!
SB: Can you explain the process of finding and selecting the right manufacturer?
JA: What I’ve learned now is it’s all about finding the right fit. It took me two tries to get it right but as they say third is the charm! Naturally, the most important part of the process is finding a manufacturer that you are confident will do your product justice.
I spent a lot of time researching European manufactures and was lucky to come across a group in Italy that specializes in matching new brands with Italian factories. I corresponded with a few before I traveled out to Italy to tour the one factory I felt most confident about.
Once I had seen the level of quality of the samples they made and was confident production was ethical and fair I knew I had found the right match.
 
SB: How did you decide what to name each shoe color?
 
JA: Having been fortunate enough to have a very international upbringing I wanted to pay tribute to that in some way with the brand. To a certain degree you can attribute various skin tones to different regions of the world so I thought having each shade reflect this was the way to go.
Kumasi was a shoe-in as that is the city my family is from on both my mother and father’s sides. Enugu is dedicated to my niece and nephew whose father’s family hails from that city in Nigeria. Juba was a must because I’ve always been so appreciative of the beautiful, dark skin tones of the people of that area in South Sudan.
Rio and Goa I chose to acknowledge two areas that have an incredible amount of diversity within them. I really wanted to celebrate that.
I chose Singapore because it also has an incredible amount of diversity in it’s population and I wanted to use an Asian city because through my research I found that many women of Asian descent feel left out of the beauty and fashion conversations.
Not with Kahmune! The last few names are quite sentimental. They’re dedicated to some amazing friends I have that are from those cities and regions.
 
SB: Where do you see the company in 5 years?
 
JA: Other than world domination? Though Kahmune is, and will always be at its core a luxury womens’ footwear line I’m definitely not ruling anything out in terms of product. In 5 years, we hope to have a few flagship stores around the globe as well as the moniker as the leading retailer of skin tone garments and accessories.
The goal is to be known for our sense of community and dedication to diversity, inclusion, and representation. In 5 years Kahmune will have set the bar in terms of what it means to run a truly inclusive luxury brand in this day and age.
 
SB: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
 
JA: Don’t give up!!! If you have your heart set on a goal take the steps to achieve it. Work a bit on that goal everyday and remember that your journey is YOUR journey- don’t compare yourself to others.
Your brand is only as good as the passion and dedication you put behind it. You need to be your own number one fan. When people see how excited you are about your dreams they will be too. Don’t underestimate the importance of the basics, and appreciate all your gains – no matter how small or big.
Do your research. Build a business plan. Network, Network, Network- you’ll learn very early on, that what they say is true – your network is your net worth. Build a team who understands and shares your vision; no one man or woman is an island.

Visit their website to learn more.

-Tony Oluawatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)
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Black Owned Footwear Brand Blends British and Jamaican Culture

Uptown Yardie is a Black owned footwear brand that makes you stop and stare. Ever since we discovered this brand, we’ve been in awe of their bold and unique styles.

We decided to chat with the owners, husband and wife team, Rohan and Natasha Clarke to find out more about their brand.

black owned footwear
Rohan and Natasha Clarke, owners of Uptown Yardie

What inspired you to start this business?

The designer behind the brand is Rohan Clarke. He trained at the London School of Fashion Cordwainers and had worked for several shoe companies. But the one thing that frustrated him was being told that his designs couldn’t be made.

black owned footwear

He knew that this wasn’t true because not only does he design shoes he also makes shoes. He was disillusioned, but his wife convinced him that he could do this himself and so with some gentle persuasion this husband and wife team started Uptown Yardie.

black owned footwear

How did you come up with the name Uptown Yardie and what does it mean?

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle, captured through shoes and clothes.

The name is inspired by a Bob Marley quotation “me ah bring downtown uptown” meaning he is bringing the man dem from the ghetto to where he was living uptown at the time. The original uptown yardie is someone who comes from the more affluent parts of Jamaica.

For us using the term Uptown Yardie is about reclaiming the name from a negative association to a positive. To the true meaning of the word “yard” which to a Jamaican means home. For instance, “nowhere nah better dan yard” mean nowhere is better than home.

black owned footwear

What separates your brand from the numerous other shoe brands in the market?

The Uptown Yardie brand creates for a progressive man or woman who does not follow fashion. We design for people like us who have a passion and love for things that are well crafted and that has more longevity than one season.

We believe that a shoe should have a distinctive and individual character that is shaped through the ideas and vision of its designer and craftsman who are united and driven by a common goal, a common spirit to create the most beautiful shoes.

Each piece has been carefully selected by our team to ensure it embodies the qualities of style, elegance, and exclusivity synonymous with the Uptown Yardie brand whilst reflecting the unique philosophies of design and craftsmanship for which Rohan Clarke the designer is renowned.

What has been the most challenging and most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The most challenging part of owning your own business is realizing that you have to have many strings to your bow, you have to be more than a creative to make it work.

What we mean by that is the creativity of what we do is our passion but we need to be able to market what we do, we need to be able to understand how to maximize our online sales, we need to be social media experts.

All of these things take skill, expertise, and time. Juggling this, whilst maintaining creative time is a constant challenge. But we are learning and we are pulling in people who do have that expertise.

The most rewarding thing about owning your own business is loving what you do, seeing your passion come into fruition. In the past when we’ve worked for other people they want to be safe, they want to follow the crowd, it stifles innovation.

black owned footwear

Where do you see your brand in 5 years?

That it has an appeal to a diverse audience across the globe. Although the brand is inspired by our Jamaican heritage, Uptown Yardie is created to appeal to people that think outside the box.

It is a brand that crosses boundaries, ages, and races. Ultimately if we can do that and make the brand self-sufficient that’s where we want to be in 5 years’ time.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Be prepared to put the work in. Owning your own business is not a 9-5. The other important aspect is to know your business inside out, costings, business forecasts, risks, and opportunities.

If you’re a creative, this isn’t the sexy stuff but it’s vital if you want what you to do to be more than a hobby. Ask yourself “If I was standing in front of a group of potential investors and they put me on the spot.

black owned footwear

How confident could I answer questions about my product and my business model?” If you’d struggle, then there is some homework to do. We did it, wrote a business plan with costings and forecasts. It was long, believe you me but we are more confident about exactly how much it costs to manufacture every aspect of a shoe, what the wholesale cost is, and the retail price based on a formula.

black owned footwear
Besides the above, if you have a dream and want to do it. Go for it. Don’t listen to the naysayers. You never know your idea might be the next big thing.

-Tony O. Lawson


 

Related: Black Owned Men’s Shoe brands

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20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

By now you must have seen our first list of Black Owned Businesses in the Diaspora. On that list, we mentioned several Black owned businesses based in the UK. This time, we are showing even MORE love to our brothers and sisters across the pond with a new list of dope businesses you should most definitely check out and support from your country or when you visit the United Kingdom.

20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Home Decor

Eva Sonaike is a lifestyle company that produces luxurious home décor, fashion accessories and textiles.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Fashion

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle captured through shoes and clothes.

Black Owned Businesses

Afrination is an urban clothing brand inspired by African culture and tradition.

Black Owned Businesses

Dionne Gooding is a footwear designer that combines the latest London styles and soft leathers and suede with jaw dropping fabrics from West Africa.

Black Owned Businesses

Tsemaye Binite  is an award winning contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Duro Olowu is impressing the right people with his vibrant mix of African prints, seventies tailoring, and unlikely color combos.

 

Hair/Skin Care

Hug My Hair

Curly by Nature

Almocado

Root2Tip

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Jewelry and Accessories

Mya and Joe il_570xN.811655049_1uq8

Afro Deco 

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MaroonDawta

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Sapelle 

Turquoise_Multistrand_necklace_grande

Food

The Black Farmer

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Check out our most recent list of Black owned businesses in the UK !

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