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SS ON EBONY| BLACK, FRESH & 20-SOMETHING X Sneakah Boutique

Breaking / Carousel / Entrepreneurship / S.S. Portfolio / SS on Ebony / July 31, 2014

bf20_SB1In case you haven’t noticed, in the world fashion, you can definitely call the current cultural trends a “comeback”. Whether you came up in the 80s or 90s, the truth is, the styles that you know and, most likely love are back in. Bring on the high top fades, jumpers, leather shorts, Timbs, bucket hats, and all-neon everything.  Nostalgia is flowing like the Nile River, honey.

Interestingly, the advancements in technology are what’s connecting the modern consumers with the hottest throwback fashions by offering space and opportunity for start-up boutiques to flourish online. One such boutique reaping these benefits is Sneakah “SB+” Boutique, based out of Teaneck, New Jersey. Run by three dynamic individuals, Nailah Wright, 28,  Whitney L. Bryant, 25, and Ernest Freeman, 21, the mission of SB+ is rather simple: to capture a “retro period in present day culture,” carrying top lifestyle brands endorsed by fashion’s most influential.

With merchandise generally priced as low as $5 for accessories and $140 for sneakers, the affordable SB+ was conceived nearly eight months ago by Wright and launched after observing how in-demand 80s-90s apparel is. Wright approached Bryant, her childhood friend, (now Creative Director for the brand) about coming on board. Bryant, who has a background in fashion modeling, PR and media, also has roots grounded in the music industry via her father, LeCoy Bryant (a former member of late 70s Funk band MassProduction) and mother, June Smith (a former journalist for Black Enterprise Magazine) agreed. Around that same time, Wright recruited Freeman, (now the head of Business Development) whom she met while in sales during a stint in corporate America. Wright is a Kean University dropout and a former Fortune 250 employee with a background in international business and finance.

Through weekly conference calls and meetings, often in the wee hours of the morning and late at night, the trio built the business that now thrives via both their brick and mortar and online presence. More and more, the team started seeing people wearing clothes from their boutique both in person and on social media, and they realized they were on to something special. The owner of FUBU, Daymond John, voiced his support in person to the team and it further solidified that they were on the right track. According to Wright, John praised the young entrepreneurs for excelling in a time when especially those who are female and of color aren’t allowed as many opportunities in the fashion industry. His advice was simple and heartfelt: keep going and follow your heart.

The SB team did just that and are astonished by how far their efforts have brought them in a relatively short amount of time. Sneakah Boutique services customers worldwide—as far as the UK and Japan–and this fall, they will launch a back to school partnership with the legendary clothing brand Cross Colours (worn by Rihanna, Drake, Dr. Dre, Snoop and Cyhi The Prynce) in which they are collaborating to produce their own designs. And that’s only the beginning.

EBONY.COM caught up with Wright and Bryant to get the scoop on their journey thus far and their keys to success.

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Click here to read the full interview.

– Sincerely Syreeta


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