Making the jump from being a vendor, who sells products at local and regional events and has to unpack and pack and transport and travel, to opening a store is a momentous jump, but brother and sister team Smkiya and Christopher (who declined to have their last names published) have done just that with their new store Motherland Vibrations on Fayetteville Street.
The store is just blocks from N.C. Central University at 2500 Fayetteville St. and just opened in the past month. So far the response has been nothing short of amazing. The colorful shop carries clothing, beauty products, books, jewelry, and other items that no one could find in any store at a local mall.
Christopher calls Motherland Vibrations the “taste of Africa.” The Afrocentric store is a culture and education shop and it reminds African American and Caribbean Americans of their history and culture.
Christopher says that his top three strengths are his curiosity, his pride and his stubbornness. He’s proud of his people and his culture, so that gives him the drive to get up and go. He was very serious about people not being able to say he can’t do something.
They greet visitors to the store with open arms. Afrocentric colors are featured on the walls containing patterned dresses and in another are, they have big books showing African people and culture. Another room has a variety of soaps. They also sell flags, posters, banners and pins, oils, incense, artwork, crystals and copper-wrapped crystals and more.
Getting the business started took determination and patience.
“First, we made the decision to do it,” said Christopher. “We got rid of a lot of fear.”
They had the merchandise, so the biggest challenge was finding a location in their price range, then taking the leap to open the store.
Smkyia and Christopher hope their ancestors and the community will be behind them and support them through this journey. The way they executed their plan was by actually having a realistic plan.
“It’s really not as hard as one would think,” said Christopher. “If you have a plan, a budget and patience, things will work out.”
They didn’t dwell on their failures but rather looked at them as something that would make them stronger. Together, Smkyia and Christopher sat down and thought about where they wanted their shop and what they wanted to sell. They also involved themselves with the community so they can better serve them by having lectures, and programs called Healthy Water Series and Poetry and Pancakes spoken word which are coming soon.
Even though the store has only been open a short time, an online reviewer using the name Hakim Ziyad-Bey gave the store five stars on Google Review and wrote, “Beautiful, a warm friendly environment… New items every trip. I love it. Thank you for brightening up the community.”