Created during the pandemic last year, Sole Folks was intended to be a South LA specialty shop selling the latest exclusive kicks and streetwear. The venture, started by Akil West, Taz Arnold and Nika King, has become more than just a store, though. It’s now a creative hub for Black entrepreneurs.
Using an innovative model that pairs a cooperative retail space with an incubator program, Sole Folks empowers underrepresented creative entrepreneurs through a brand-building curriculum, business resources, professional mentorship and startup capital. In doing so, they are creating the environment necessary to fortify and activate Black creativity. They are also creating a system of economic uplift that will benefit the entire community for years to come. Through their incubator program, entrepreneurs aged 16-25 learn how to take their product ideas from paper to market, from sourcing and brand identity to pre-production, to preparing for launch and attracting retail and community investment.
Destination Crenshaw, through its DC Thrive program is providing crucial marketing assistance for the new company. DC Thrive sponsors Sole Folks’ participation in TEC Leimert’s Nxt Lvl Program, providing Sole Folks with a paid social media intern for 8 weeks who is working to improve the company’s social media strategy and presence. If you are interested in participating in the Nxt Lvl Program, please email Terrick Guiterrez at Terrick@destinationcrenshaw.la.