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After realizing retro sneakers were developing modern momentum, three friends packed in their day jobs to form Sneakah Boutique, an e-commerce platform dedicated to introducing up-and-coming collections to the ever-growing market of sneakerheads worldwide. The site, which celebrates its first anniversary in September, is expanding into new territory with apparel and accessories.
Footwear News talked to founder Nailah Wright and her partners Ernest Freeman and Whitney Bryant to find out how SB plans to respond to growing demands.
How did Sneakah Boutique come about?
WB: Nailah Wright is the brainchild behind Sneakah Boutique. She then approached myself and Ernest Freeman about the vision. We teamed up to launch the e-shop. Once the online component was up and running, we opened a showroom in Teaneck, NJ, which was opened to the public as a brick-and-mortar component.
Though launching exclusively with footwear, we soon realized that there was a market for clothing and accessories with our customer base. We then decided to branch out and become a lifestyle-based site, focusing on sneakers, streetwear apparel and accessories.
What are the top styles you're seeing for fall?
WB: The hottest styles for fall include mix-and-match textiles and bold color palettes. Statement clothing (such as T-shirts with catchy expressions or social media slang) is prominent, as our customer likes to express him or herself through fashion. Unisex pieces, including oversized jerseys, joggers, bucket hats and lifestyle footwear, are also on trend for fall.
How has social media played a part in the brand's launch?
NW: Social media has been the most impactful vehicle [for the launch of Sneakah Boutique]. It has enabled us to reach a cross-cultural, domestic and global market. Via social media, we can communicate the essence of our brand and our aesthetic to a mass audience. Our social media platforms allow us to garner honest consumer feedback, build brand awareness, connect with both new, cutting-edge vendors and align ourselves with trend forecasters and influencers.
What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced since starting the site?
NW: The biggest challenge since starting the site has been twofold: proving that our brand is a rising industry contender and also navigating our way through a predominantly male-dominated industry.
What's next for Sneakah Boutique?
NW: Expanding into the Japanese and U.K. marketplace, celebrity ad campaigns, seasonal mini-lookbooks, style guides, a pop-up shop and designer collaborations.