Store Stories 002| Sincerely, Tommy

Kai Avent- deleon’s name might ring a bell… or two. She’s the beautiful girl who’s created something pretty magnificent in the close-knit community that is Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Truth is, even as a young woman, Kai has opened up doors in many ways. She’s also opened the eyes of many and changed the minds of many more.

A few weeks ago, I hoped on the bus and took in a sweet afternoon at Sincerely, Tommy, and also, threw a few questions at the ever so stylish Kai. Here’s what happened.

-I live a neighborhood over, and spent a few years living in Bedstuy, I never thought I would see a spot like Sincerely Tommy open up right in the heart of it. I think it’s wonderful. Why Bedstuy?
I grew up here and I believe that this neighborhood represents the essence of what Brooklyn is. It has such a community vibe and there are people here that I have known since birth. It’s a special place, but also lacks the presence of anything other than corner stores and liquor stores. I wanted to contribute something positive to my community and inspire my peers to do the same (re-invest in our community).

-What inspired you when designing this space?
I wanted a clean “canvas”, a space that would allow me to incorporate different elements, textures, and colors without being too overwhelming. I chose a lot of neutrals and natural materials because it gives the store a more open and modern look. I also really wanted to hone into areas I’ve traveled to, and that I’ve fallen in love (Paris, Morocco, and Mexico are the 2 biggest influences in the space).

-Your place is clean and bright, but also evokes a sense of home, how do you balance that sense of familiarity?
I think the products helps balance that. Everything in the store is created by artisans that are really passionate about what they are creating. It’s about art – so I think (naturally) creatives, thinkers, teachers, students, etc are drawn to the store because it evokes a sense of familiarity (to the person who seeks something different).

-I believe we are a year apart, how do you feel about being a young black woman and a business owner?
I absolutely love it. My parents took the road less traveled when raising me and I am forever grateful, because more than anything they showed me independence. I always knew I would be doing my own thing, something I loved. The business is my joy, but it is not the end- there is so much more that I want to take on. Sincerely, Tommy is the backbone and my personal proof that the journey is good. I take so much pride in being a woman and being from Afrikan descent- what is more powerful than that?!

-What do you want to teach other young women?
 I hope I can continue to inspire other women to follow their passions, to seek the unknown, and take risks.

-Describe your personal style in one word

-Having a storefront in New York City has taught me…
Anything is possible

343 Tompkins Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216

(Photography by Nneka Salmon for LaTonya Yvette)

2 thoughts on “Store Stories 002| Sincerely, Tommy

  • Reply Rachel W. Miller May 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Love this! I actually found Sincerely, Tommy when I saw Kai's apartment tour on Apt Therapy. (Searched for Brooklyn brownstones for inspiration for my own Bed-Stuy place!) She's got such great taste!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette May 19, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Yay, so happy about that Rachel!

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