A Conversation With Clothing Line Founder Erika
Erika, AKA E, is from a small town called Saxapahaw, which is a few miles from Burlington, North Carolina but now reside in Greensboro, NC. E lives and breathes fashion, music and sports. Those are her true passions and always have been for as long as she can remember. As of June 2019, E decided enough was enough of being unhappy doing work she had no love for and took a giant leap of faith to start the journey of owning her own business and making it my full time job.
Dope Sista caught up with E and spoke with her about her journey to entrepreneurship in fashion, and her clothing brand, KnoMoor.
DL: How did KnoMoor come about?
E: It’s always been a goal. I just didn’t know how or when I’d make it happen. I didn’t know the first thing about owning a business but I did the research, and started asking the right people the right questions and in due time it was an official business before I knew it and I couldn’t be more proud of how far it’s come thus far.
DL: You should be proud. I think many of us should take a page from your book and be more proud of the goals we've accomplished; live in that moment you know.
You say you've always had aspirations of creating your own clothing line. Tell us about that.
E: Yes, for as long as I can remember I've wanted my own brand or to be the first woman in the NBA. I grew up seeing athletes and music artists wearing Fubu, Phat Farm and so many other dope brands and I knew I wanted to create one. I even loved how athletes would style themselves in their uniforms, from the headbands to their socks and sneakers. I laugh when I look back and remember how excited I would be to get a new Word Up, Right On or Slam magazine. It was always pages of posters that were two sided so you’d have to decide which side you wanted to put on your wall. I’d always hang up whoever was dressed the best. Talk about nostalgia. lol
DL: I remember those magazines and posters! It was one of the hardest decisions of my life sometimes, trying to pick a side to put on the wall LOL.
What was it about the Moors that fascinated you enough to make them apart of your brand?
E: The Moors fascinated me because I had never heard of them before. I was always led to believe my race began at slavery, unfortunately. So one day my best friend had me come over to her house to watch a Hidden Colors documentary that speaks highly of the Moors and our race, in a way I’ve never heard anyone speak about black people before. My mind was blown, but wide open at the same time. Now, I don’t agree with some of the beliefs in those documentaries but it did start me on a journey of unlearning everything I was ever taught and not believing everything I see or hear and going with what resonates with me.
I love learning new things and to find out there was more to history than what was taught in school was disappointing and very refreshing because it lit a fire under me to look deeper. Still to this day, the more I read and research the more I learn. The name KnoMoor (Know More) was the perfect name for my brand because I will continue learning new things until the day I leave this Earth, just as everyone else here will as well. Everyone won’t start their awakening watching Hidden Colors but using Moor in the name, rather than More is just another part of my story and truth.
DL: If at all, how hard has it been getting your brand noticed? Have you had the support you feel you needed?
E: I won’t lie, it has been extremely difficult. Again, I started in 2014 and I’m still not where I’d like to be, but people are noticing more and more every day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had support on and offline but more support is always needed. I appreciate all of the people that always repost my post and pictures because I don’t think most people really know how big of a difference that makes, especially with the algorithms in place. This can go for any of your friends with a business, but a simple repost could link one or 100 people to a brand. Just imagine if everyone that follows that business on social media did that just once a week? That type of support would make a huge difference.
DL: Support and sharing can make a huge difference. It's also important not to let it get you down if only 2 people shared your post. Entrepreneurship can be discouraging at times. How do you stay motivated to keep going?
E: My family and friends are my number one supporters. Their positive and negative feedback plus the confidence they have in me keeps me going. I’m so grateful for them all. My love for fashion and always believing in myself and my abilities keeps me going as well but that support system is like no other.
DL: As it pertains to fashion, whom do you consider a mentor?
E: I don’t know them personally but Joe who owns Joefreshgoods joefreshgoods.com and Tracey Mills who owns Visitor on Earth vistoronearth.com They’re both so talented in what they do and their work ethics and beliefs resonate with me. They’ve both proven that being yourself will take you far and will link you to the right people if you believe and put in the work.
DL: You started with T-shirts and now you have baseball shirts, jackets, sweat suits and more. What’s next for KnoMoor?
E: I’m so excited for what’s in store for 2020 and I don’t want to give away too much but be on the lookout for anything from shot glasses to socks throughout the year. I plan on making this the biggest year yet for KnoMoor with way more options, so stay tuned.
DL: You posted once, that you burn sage over your merchandise before shipping it out to customers. What are some of your daily rituals to maintain self-care and mental wellness?
E: Haha, I didn’t think anyone remembered that but I still do that by the way.
But, I have started waking up at 6am daily to make sure I work out, meditate and eat breakfast to get my day started. I also read for 30 minutes to an hour whether it’s first thing in the morning or before I go to bed. I make sure to drink my water, do cleanses often and take self-care days to make sure I don’t drive myself crazy. When you own a business I’ve learned a huge part is making sure you are in the right head space at all times or it can show in your work. It’s okay to rest yourself when it’s needed. Oh yeah, if you’ve never tried the Calm App, I recommend it for those that have trouble falling asleep or just need to breathe for a few minutes and relax. It’s awesome!
E's website is www.knomoor.com and you can find me on Instagram and Facebook @KnoMoor