Today we’d like to introduce you to Khalia Ervin.
Khalia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My father transitioning due to diabetes in 2010, and my mother passing from breast cancer in 2015. Pushed me to re-evaluate my lifestyle, so I started to take my health more seriously. Self-love and self-care became a priority for me, so I began to gradually change my life choices. My eating habits was the first to change, I witnessed the benefits of eating healthier within a couple weeks, and that led me into incorporating a workout regime throughout the week. Till this day, I have a workout routine, and have remained disciplined in keeping my eating habits in check. To be health conscious is a lifestyle, and I love every part of this journey.
Fast forward to May 2018, I graduated from California State University, Northridge, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare and Social Justice with a Minor in Africana Studies. Soon after transitioning from a full-time student into the workforce, I began to feel deep down in my soul that I needed to do more. Though, I love working in the social service field, I was not completely fulfilled, so I did some soul searching. During this time, social media and the news were slamming Prada, and Gucci for their choices to incorporate racist visuals into their clothing line. Hearing about this news was upsetting, but also inspiring at the same time. One day while working out at the gym, I looked around, and saw so many African/Black people working out taking their health seriously. I realized so many people were wearing Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, and that’s when the concept of Sankofa Athletics was born.
January 1, 2019 was the moment I decided to bring Sankofa Athletic Apparel, LP to life. This journey has been a challenging one, yet very rewarding. Becoming a self-taught entrepreneur has been one of the best decisions, I have made in my life, and I truly feel that I have unlocked a hidden passion of mine. Intuition, self-education, attending many workshops, and with the assistance of my mentors has made it possible for me to achieve my goals. Sankofa Athletics is now an online business that is fully running and making waves throughout communities. The unconditional support from my partner has assisted me along this journey, and she is part of the reason, why I am where I am today.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Smooth! Not at all! Having absolutely no previous educational background in business, or the knowledge on how to even start a business. Placed me at ground zero with this project. I had to turn my ignorance of business into knowledge, therefore I studied non-stop for the first two months of 2019. I am still learning something new each and every day. Obtaining my degree at CSUN equipped me with the necessary tools needed to properly conduct research, the discipline needed to thoroughly follow-through, and the ability to properly utilize my resources. Another struggle was overcoming fear, doubt, and the lack of monetary capital to support my entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurship is in no way easy, and requires a lot of dedication.
Sankofa Athletic Apparel – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Sankofa Athletic Apparel, LP is a unity focused brand, founded in 2019 in Los Angeles, CA by Khalia Ervin and Brianna Releford. The brand’s name Sankofa is a word that originates from the Akan people of Ghana. The logo is an interpretation of an Adinkra symbol known as Sankofa. The symbol is designed with the bird’s head facing backwards signifying the importance of looking to the past. The egg represents useful knowledge. Therefore, the bird is looking to the past in order to retrieve useful knowledge to bring forth to the future. This signifies the brand’s motto “Future Movement” and “Look Back Give Back.”
As the founder, I currently wear many hats at the moment. I do just about everything, but one of my favorite hats to wear is the designer hat. I enjoy creating the concept and vision for each piece produced.
My goals are to intertwine what effortlessly brings me happiness. Allows me to have full creative control, and change the lives of others simultaneously. Our motto is “activism through fashion, activism through entrepreneurship, and philanthropy through fashion”. We are on a mission to change the narrative in regards to the athletic fashion industry, and provide consumers with African-inspired athletic apparel that will one day be on the same level of other major athletic brands.
Our initiative sets us apart from other athleisure clothing brands. Our brand provides quality athleisure wear, and we are also focused on investing in our communities that are in need of assistance domestically and internationally. Our “Look Back Give Back” Initiative is dedicated towards assisting our communities, and the name of our initiative is a shortened definition of our company’s name and logo, “Sankofa!”
Announcing our partnership with multiple non-profit organizations such as Africa Gives Back International (AGBI) in 2019, and Maasai Water Project April 2020. Has been one of the many proud moments I have experienced. We believe that investing in your business means investing in other communities. That is why we have partnered with a reliable non-profit organization that use their resources to assist others in need of basic necessities such as having access to clean drinking water and more.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In my personal opinion, success is defined by living your truth, unapologetically being your authentic self, and doing what makes you truly happy in life. Find your purpose, your niche, and live it regardless of what others may think of you.
- Hoodies – $70
- Joggers – $60
- Crop Top – $50
- Leggings – $60
- Slides – $35
- Hats – $30
- Tank Tops – $30
- Website: https://sankofaathletics.com/
- Phone: 8186068064
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sankofa_athletic_apparel/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SankofaAthleticApparel/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SankofaApparel
- Other: Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVf64lpKFj1kCS_oB25AB2g?view_as=subscriber
Photographers: Ralph Anderson & Derrick Cleveland