By Sigourney Bell and Erial Malone
NABJ JSHOP Reporters
On the outside, Tamica Banks’ brainchild is located off the beaten path at a nondescript business park in Mountain Brook, Ala., a small Birmingham suburb.
But tucked inside a small office lies SoulSistah3.0, an African-inspired clothing boutique full of colorful patterns, jewelry and oils seeking to become a staple on the local fashion scene.
Banks, who founded her business in 2017, told NABJ JSHOP she was inspired to create SoulSistah3.0 as a way to help her mostly female customers connect with their African roots.
She strongly believes that Black women are influential to modern fashion not only by style, but also by beauty.
“We inspire the culture,” she said.
Banks said her inspiration for SoulSistah comes from frequent visits to Ghana to collaborate with a team of women to help choose fabrics and create the vibrant hand-made designs that drape on the store’s sales racks. Banks often sells her wares at local events, by customer referrals and through social media sites like Instagram.
She sees her business as a sign of independence, not only for Black women in Birmingham embracing their African identities, but also as a way to financially help the Ghanaian women she collaborates with.
Banks hopes she can someday work on SoulSistah full-time and move from its tiny space and expand into a big storefront in downtown Birmingham. She also wants to be able to offer scholarships to young women seeking to create their own businesses.
“Your paths build a brighter future,” Banks said.
For more information, follow SoulSistah3.0 on Instagram at soulsistah3.0_.