Today we’d like to introduce you to Akeem Henry.
Hi Akeem, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I grew up in Owings Mills, Maryland. I have always had a strong interest in helping people with their fashion, style, and health. This led me to the path of entrepreneurship at the early age of 14.
I launched my first clothing brand, R&R (Riches & Royalty Clothing). I came up with the name R&R because I wanted it to be catchy and relatable to most people. Many individuals are striving to acquire wealth to maintain or attain a comfortable lifestyle, so I wanted to have a brand that speaks to those people.
I started the R&R brand my freshman year in high school and promoted it throughout the halls of Calvert Hall College High School, a prep school in Towson, Maryland.
Surprisingly, the first product line that I produced for the R&R brand was not shirts but metal pinned buttons that people pinned to their garments. These pinned buttons had an R&R logo design that I sketched out on my iPad in the cafeteria at Calvert Hall.
By no means was I a talented artist or good at drawing anything spectacular. However, this just goes to show, that I was willing to come up with anything to get my idea and vision to share with the world. I did not care if it was perfect or the best, but I wanted people to know that I was starting my brand!
Fast forward, I released my first shirts in high school in 2011. I was able to develop support from classmates to local community members ranging from local celebrities like the late Lor Scoota, a well know Baltimore rapper who passed away to Yo Gotti, a rapper and label head of CMG records.
Ultimately, when I matriculated to college I continued my brand and studied public health science on the premed track along with minoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.
I have aspirations of becoming a medical doctor, but also a businessman. Hence, my first real business was my clothing brand, which I started at the age of 14 years old. I realized in the Baltimore area there were a lot of brands that did not have bold youthful designs, so I wanted to create a brand that could provide that.
Today, I am still growing the Riches & Royalty brand with a new refreshed, and modern look. Additionally, we have prioritized organic growth by developing our reach in the community. We have had and participated in many pop-up shops in the DMV area and looking to start traveling out of state to engage with new markets in the United States.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have been challenges with finding the right people to trust in the industry and having to navigate the changes within the social media landscape for marketing. In the clothing business, there are a lot of people who want to help and try to be a part of a brand that they perceive is successful, which is good when only when those intentions are genuine.
There are times when it is hard to know who really has the best interests for the brand and not try to sabotage it for their own sake. There are a lot of shady characters who will take advantage of upcoming entrepreneurs, so be on the lookout.
With the evolving updates and changes to the social media algorithms on Instagram, it can make marketing my brand difficult. For example, the organic reach that used to be possible with normal picture posts is not relevant. There is more of a push for IG reels and short-form video content, which makes sense. However, that requires content creators and brand owners to adapt to the new changes.
I am currently working to establish a social media team to better create consistent content that will be able to create impact and increase social media engagement. It’s a struggle, but I think we will get better at it once a solid game plan is formed.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Here at Riches & Royalty, we call everyone who shops with us our Royal Family. I made it the brand mission to be out in the community for 2022 to help build more organically.
So, if you look at our Instagram you can see that we’ve attended several public events where we had our pop-up shop installation. I truly believe to separate the R&R brand from the rest three elements must be met. Those elements are quality products, memorable customer experience, and prestigious presentation.
At our pop-up shops, we serve iced champagne to our clients and make them feel like they are in a luxurious storefront. This experience and presentation always leave our clients extremely impressed and returning customers at that!
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I am always open to collaboration if there is an alignment.
I have reached out to other creatives in Baltimore and there have been really positive outcomes. The best way to contact me is via IG DMs @richesnroyalty or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Website: www.richesnroyalty.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/richesnroyalty/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHbBaY5gZH8&feature=youtu.be
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@richesnroyalty