Talking Shop: A discussion on inclusive spaces

0:01

Ayesha Curry: Hi, Sherri!

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Sherri McMullen: Hi, Ayesha!

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Ayesha Curry: So good to see you.

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Sherri McMullen: So good to see you.

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Ayesha Curry: My name’s Ayesha Curry, and I am currently at my new flagship location

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here in Oakland, California, Sweet July.

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Sherri McMullen: I am Sherri McMullen.

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I’m the founder of McMullen boutique here in Oakland.

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I’ve had the business for 13 years now, and it is a luxury women’s and lifestyle business

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focused on emerging designers, female designers, and Black designers.

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Founding Inspiration

0:45

Sherri McMullen: Well Ayesha, you know, I’ve known you for, you know, well over 10

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years now, and it’s just really been such a pleasure, like watching you as a businesswoman

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and as a community leader.

0:58

Sherri McMullen: Now to see that you have this booming food and lifestyle empire

1:05

… a chain of International Smoke Restaurants, a lifestyle line under Sweet July.

1:07

What inspired you to start your businesses?

1:13

Ayesha Curry: I’ve always seen a void for something that I want to have in my life

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or something that I wanted to be a part of and it wouldn’t exist.

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Ayesha Curry: I feel like Sweet July is really, like, a culmination of years of

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trial and error and triumphs, failures, finding my own voice and finally getting to a place

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where this is, this is everything that I’ve had in my head all these years finally coming

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to fruition and exactly the way that I want it.

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Ayesha Curry: Which I feel like makes me think of you and how we met many, many

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Like we said, over a decade ago, I stumbled upon your first location of your store in

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I would like to know a little bit about your journey as an entrepreneur and how far you’ve

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come because you’re such a powerhouse.

2:03

Sherri McMullen: I was always really curious to know about the behind the scenes,

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like how did product get into the stores.

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And in 2007, I started McMullen

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Sherri McMullen: You know, every part of the business was really intentional, from

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the mannequins that we had and my family portraits on the wall.

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Because for me, it was really important thatif a young Black woman was walking by the

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store, she could pass by, come into the store,and also see herself in this industry.

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[TITLE CARD] Adjusting During The Pandemic

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This is an important one, actually the pandemic — what innovative ways, I guess,

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have you come up with to try and keep up with that – to keep things going?

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Sherri McMullen: We closed down.

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But I think what it did was allow everyone in the industry to slow down, rethink about

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how we can do business in a different way that actually made sense.

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Sherri McMullen: So we were able to look at our business model and figure out ways

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that we can actually enhance certain parts of it and then really pivot to the digital

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Sherri McMullen: What we have seen is that we really want to focus on creating that

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same story that we have created in the store — really making customers feel like if

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they go onto our site, they actually have an overall understanding of who we are as

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a company, what our vision is.

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Sherri McMullen: So the e-commerce business has – it’s really taken off.

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Ayesha Curry: I think you’ve done an amazing job.

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Ayesha Curry: I think YouTube was huge for me in the forward-facing nature of my

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It gave me a voice and allowed me an avenue to show my personality and tell my own story.

3:45

Ayesha Curry: “Hey guys!

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Welcome to the International Smoke popup!

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Celebrating Inclusion

3:57

Sherri McMullen: When you walk into Sweet July, it is, like such a happy space.

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I’d love for you to talk about just the curation.

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It’s amazing to see so many artisans that you’ve been working with … so many black

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designers that you’ve brought into the space.

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Can you talk about that?

4:13

Ayesha Curry: Yes, I would love to.

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For me it’s about inclusivity and diversity on a whole, So making sure that our team looks

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like all different types of people.

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Ayesha Curry: The best thing that I’ve learned along the way or advice that I’ve

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gotten is to realize that with business, it’s not a sprint .. it’s a marathon.

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And so if things take a little bit longer, it’s okay because you want to be here to

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last … not here today, gone tomorrow.

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Ayesha Curry: What are some exciting things or some goals that you have for yourself

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looking, let’s say five years ahead?

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Sherri McMullen: I really want to continue to grow the McMullen brand and continuing

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to bring in these amazing designers from all over the world and really being the leader

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in the industry in that way.

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Sherri McMullen: How about you, Ayesha?

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Ayesha Curry: When it comes to Sweet July, I would love to just make sure we’re

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staying on top of what it is we’ve created and staying true to our ethos.

5:17

Ayesha Curry: I loved talking to you!

5:19

Sherri McMullen: I loved talking to you!

5:22

Ayesha Curry: Well thank you, Sherri.

5:25

Sherri McMullen: Thank you, Ayesha!

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