A few weeks ago, I hoped on the bus and took in a sweet afternoon at Sincerely, Tommy, and also, threw a few questions at the ever so stylish Kai. Here's what happened.
-I live a neighborhood over, and spent a few years living in Bedstuy, I never thought I would see a spot like Sincerely Tommy open up right in the heart of it. I think it's wonderful. Why Bedstuy?
I grew up here and I believe that this neighborhood represents the essence of what Brooklyn is. It has such a community vibe and there are people here that I have known since birth. It's a special place, but also lacks the presence of anything other than corner stores and liquor stores. I wanted to contribute something positive to my community and inspire my peers to do the same (re-invest in our community).
-What inspired you when designing this space?
I wanted a clean "canvas", a space that would allow me to incorporate different elements, textures, and colors without being too overwhelming. I chose a lot of neutrals and natural materials because it gives the store a more open and modern look. I also really wanted to hone into areas I've traveled to, and that I've fallen in love (Paris, Morocco, and Mexico are the 2 biggest influences in the space).
-Your place is clean and bright, but also evokes a sense of home, how do you balance that sense of familiarity?
I think the products helps balance that. Everything in the store is created by artisans that are really passionate about what they are creating. It's about art - so I think (naturally) creatives, thinkers, teachers, students, etc are drawn to the store because it evokes a sense of familiarity (to the person who seeks something different).
-I believe we are a year apart, how do you feel about being a young black woman and a business owner?
I absolutely love it. My parents took the road less traveled when raising me and I am forever grateful, because more than anything they showed me independence. I always knew I would be doing my own thing, something I loved. The business is my joy, but it is not the end- there is so much more that I want to take on. Sincerely, Tommy is the backbone and my personal proof that the journey is good. I take so much pride in being a woman and being from Afrikan descent- what is more powerful than that?!
-What do you want to teach other young women?
I hope I can continue to inspire other women to follow their passions, to seek the unknown, and take risks.
Anything is possible
343 Tompkins Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(Photography by Nneka Salmon for LaTonya Yvette)