Sneaker Doodle Co. wants to bridge gap for customers

Welcome to the world of a brand new Black-owned family business, Sneaker Doodle Co. founder Elizabeth Akinbode said Sneaker Doodle is an interactive retailer and surrounded by creativity and fun. Sneaker Doodle, according to Akinbode, was created because she saw an opportunity to bridge the gap in the lack of human interaction since the pandemic.

Customers have the option to bring their own kicks or Sneaker Doodle will provide sneakers.

“Our focus is on customization, which means you get to design and paint your own shoes. Bring in your favorite kicks, or choose from our selection, and we’ll provide all the art supplies you need,” Akinbode said. “Whether you’re planning a corporate event, birthday party, artist workshop class, date night, or buddies night, Sneaker Doodle Co is the perfect place to unleash your inner artist and create a one-of-a-kind pair of sneakers.” 

Akinbode spoke with the Atlanta Voice to discuss why she decided to start her business, mentors, inspirations, the process, and more. 

The Atlanta Voice: Why did you decide to start your business?

Elizabeth Akinbode: Starting my own business was a decision driven by my passion for sketching and family bonding, and a desire to create something unique in the market. I wanted to have the freedom to pursue my own ideas and build a brand that resonated with customers. Additionally, I saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market and provide a solution that was currently lacking.

AV: Was there a moment that inspired you to start this business?

EA: Yes, there was a defining moment that served as the catalyst for starting my business. During the pandemic I saw an opportunity to bridge the gap of lack of human interaction. The overall lockdown experience made me realize the untapped potential and the opportunity to make a difference.

AV: What was the idea behind Sneaker Doodle Co. and how did it come to fruition? What about the name?

EA: The idea behind Sneaker Doodle Co. was to offer a unique customization 
service for sneakers, allowing individuals and sneaker heads to express their personal style and create “one-of-one designs”. I noticed a growing trend of people seeking to personalize their footwear, and I wanted to provide a safe and community to fulfill their creative desires. The name Sneaker Doodle Co. was chosen to reflect the combination of artistry and individuality that we offer. “Sneaker” represents the core product and “Doodle” represents the artistic freedom and creative expression associated with our customization process. The name embodies the essence of our brand and the experience we aim to provide to our customers.

Sneaker Doodle Co. founder Elizabeth Akinbode. Photo courtesy of Sneaker Doodle Co.

AV: Is there a mentor in your life that inspired/inspires you as a business owner?

EA: Absolutely. To name a few Les Brown, Howard Schultz, and Tony Robinson has been a significant inspiration in my journey as a business owner. Their extensive experience in business and their successful entrepreneurial ventures have provided invaluable guidance, wisdom, and 
support. Their insights and advice have helped shape my business strategy and navigate challenges along the way.

AV: Tell me a little about the process of getting your sneakers customized.

EA: At Sneaker Doodle, we’ve streamlined the process of getting your sneakers customized to make it as seamless as possible. Once a customer chooses our customization service, they can either bring in their own sneakers or customize the all white Air Force One’s we provide. Our skilled team of artists works closely with the customers to understand their vision and preferences. They discuss design ideas, color schemes, patterns, and any specific requests the customer may have. Based on this consultation, the customization process begins, 
where our artists bring the vision to life using various techniques such as painting, airbrushing, embroidery, or other specialized methods. The customer is kept informed throughout the process, ensuring their satisfaction with the final result. Also we have an in-store workshop, 
where the customer either brings in their own shoe or we provide all white Air Force One’s or canvas shoes. During this workshop session our skilled team of artists works closely with the customers to understand their vision and preferences. With these preferences and minimal 
guidance from our artists, customers have full creative control to customize the shoes of their dreams.

AV: Do people have to bring their own sneakers, or do you provide sneakers as well?

EA: We offer flexibility to our customers in terms of providing both options. Although customers may bring clean worn shoes in with our Bring Your Own Shoe (B.Y.O.S) program, we also provide a curated selection of sneakers for those who want to start fresh or explore new styles. This way, individuals can have the opportunity to choose from a range of sneaker options that suit their taste and preferences, or save money and still get an amazing experience.

AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year?

EA: Our primary focus for the remainder of the year is to expand our customer base and strengthen our presence in the market. We aim to achieve this by implementing targeted marketing strategies, forging strategic partnerships with influencers and other brands, and enhancing customer satisfaction through exceptional service and high-quality customization. Additionally, we plan to explore new avenues for growth and expanding into different markets.

AV: Any advice to future business owners about taking the plunge?

EA: For aspiring business owners, my advice would be to trust God, write the vision, take the plunge and trust the process. Most importantly, never lose sight of your passion and purpose. Starting a business requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Stay focused on your long-term goals, and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

Sneaker Doodle Co. is located at the Mall of Georgia (3333 Buford Dr, Buford). 

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