A LOCAL STORY WITHKai Avent-deLeonThe Bed-Stuy native and owner of Sincerely, Tommy (the clothing/lifestyle store and café) reflects on the importance of community.
“My mom (who’s also an entrepreneur) has always said to have a vision. That way, you can create a road map, and manifest along the way. It’s still my favorite advice to date.”
How she’s keeping things local right now 1. “I’m Bed-Stuy all the way. Both of my businesses—Sincerely, Tommy and my recently opened Raini Home pop-up—are here.”2. “I love so many of the other businesses on Tompkins Avenue—like Chicky’s General Store, where I get my produce. And before COVID, I would go out to Bed-Vyne Brew and Lovers Rock.”3. “I put a lot of focus on being able to navigate my home (in Bed-Stuy) in a relaxed way. My space is the formal living room—where I have the most self-care moments and peace of mind. In terms of design, I always like pieces that are minimal and comfortable.”4. “I love to cook with my mom and grandmother, who live just eight blocks away. My grandmother’s Grenadian, so she makes a lot of Caribbean food like provisions and plantains. We’re all vegan, so I also like to experiment with food I find at farmers markets and specialty stores.”
A (Sincerely, Tommy) store visit with Kai
“I’ve always been into interiors. Growing up, my grandmother would hire a Black decorator for our annual family gathering. I really admired how much pride she took in showcasing her home, and came to develop my own style throughout the years.”
“I feel really lucky that I’ve cultivated a community over the last seven years through ST. We also have this collective called TAMA (Tompkins Avenue Merchant Association), which has been essential during COVID. We’re constantly sharing resources and providing support.”
Kai’s camera rollA few favorite snapshots of her life in Bed-Stuy.
On the menu at Sincerely, Tommy: a honey latte and sticky bun from Pelah, the Black-owned Bed-Stuy pastry shop.
A neighborhood stroll with her son, Che.
Happy-hour hangs on the front stoop with her partner, Nate, and their pup, Lola.
A Valentine’s Day bouquet from her in-store pop-up with OLIVEE, the Black-owned Brooklyn-based floral design studio.
The women of Building Black Bed-Stuy (a community fundraising organization): Nana Yaa Asare-Boaudu, Kai and Rajni Jacques.
A sweet moment at home with her grammy, son and mother.
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