inclusive

Talking Shop: A discussion on inclusive spaces

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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

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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.

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

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

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What inspired you to start your businesses?

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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.

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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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