It was a dream come true for Keya Martin when she quit her corporate job to focus on making luxury footwear. She founded Keeyahri, a luxury show label focused on building up the confidence of the shoe wearer every step of the way.
Martin’s collection features innovative designs that combine a pop of color, feathers, faux fur, and exquisite shapes to ignite another level of confidence in women.
According to the HBCU graduate, she quit her job to go into producing luxury footwear because her perspective about life changed once she felt the corporate world had a way of eroding one’s sense of self-value.
She told Shoppe Black that she felt unfulfilled in the corporate world and relied on divine guidance and signs for her next move. “I made a list of things that I took interest in, footwear was on it,” she said.
Martin said she has always had an eye for shoes and wanted to create designs that contributed to her confidence. She would later become very passionate about making statement piece designs that women would love to wear.
“Once I received my first samples back, I would wear my shoes to networking events,” she revealed. According to Martin, her footwear received compliments from the various networking events she attended.
This, she noted, boosted her confidence and fueled her self-esteem. “Wearing ‘feel good’ shoes make me feel as if my walk in life is elevated,” she said.
“My shoes transformed me. I design shoes for women who are in need of an artistic statement piece to provide a sense of elevation and certainty. My goal is to celebrate women by uplifting and empowering them.”
Martin was connected to the buying team of Nordstrom. Although Martin was new in the industry, Nordstrom was impressed by her works. “We set up a meeting, where I was able to share my story and present my collection. They shortly came back with the styles and quantities they were interested in,” she added.
According to Martin, the Nordstrom partnership is by far the most rewarding part of her journey. Not only did they invest in her company, but they also gave her full support to onboard her brand. She believes this partnership opens doors not only for her but for the future growth of all Black-owned businesses.
“What was most amazing was their continued belief in my potential despite my brand being new to the industry. This is my proudest moment by far. Never in a million years did I think this would ever happen. The journey has been quite challenging but this solidifies all of my effort and hard work,” she noted.
Martin said in the next five years, she wants to see her business grow into a lifestyle brand. She wants to add handbags, garments, perfume, and home accessories in the near future.