Online Upcycle Fashion Brand “Ramona K Closet” owner Takia Hooker Speaks on Starting a Business in a Pandemic

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By JR Valrey 

With all the leisure time that the pandemic has created in our lives, by slowing down reality with the shelter in place mandate, this has been a perfect opportunity for some to to explore their dreams of being an entrepreneur. While some people are harping on society opening back up, to save brick and mortar Black businesses from a year of very little foot traffic, there are visionaries among us who ride the social and political waves, instead of getting crushed, and washed away by them. Ramona K. Closet owner Takia Hooker has adapted to the new reality of life on government lockdown, and she has created an online upcycle women’s fashion company, which also amounts to a pandemic-proof business. Whether we are on lockdown or not, women still want to look their best. 

I talked to Ramona K. Closet owner Takia Hooker about her achievement of starting an online business, and I also talked to her about her outlook on the future of her business. Tune into this rising star among local Black women business owners… 

JR Valrey: What inspired you to start Ramona K. Closet? What’s the story behind how it started?

Takia Hooker: What Inspired me to start Ramona K Closet is, I’ve always been different in my fashion sense. I’ve always had friends and family, even people in public, compliment me on the way that I dress. I’ve even had friends ask me to help them go shopping, or put an outfit together for them, for a certain event. So the story of how Ramona K Closet got started is, one day I was at work and I received so many compliments on the looks of my professional outfits, so I started an Instagram page posting pictures of my work outfits, and the cost of the outfits. Then later on down the line, I called a male friend of mine about how I made some Nike Presto’s online, and I sent him a picture of the shoes I ordered, and he said that the shoes were “Fire”, and that I have a sense of style when it comes to putting colors together, as well as outfits. He told me that I should start a business to be a fashion consultant. Fast-forward to Christmas 2020, I saw one of my female cousins, and she told me that she loved the way that I dressed, and asked me if I sell any of my clothes that I don’t wear anymore. I told her I don’t normally. I just give them away to a young girl I go to church with. She suggested that I start selling clothes on Shopify, and literally a week later, I had my website up and running, to start my business. 

JR Valrey: Can you describe your clothes fetish? How long have you been like this?

Takia Hooker: The fetish that I have with clothes definitely comes from my mother. But as I have gotten older, it became more and more appealing to me, because I felt like every time I attended an event I needed a new outfit and shoes, because I never wanted to wear the same thing twice. I’ve been like this since my early 20’s.

JR Valrey: How would you describe your style? What kind of patterns, colors, and what era of dress do you like the most?

Takia Hooker: So I would describe my style as a relaxed, creative, sexy, modern style. I normally do solid patterns, and a few plaid patterns with bright, and neutral colors. The era of dress that I like the most is 90’s style. 

JR Valrey: What entrepreneur are you inspired by the most? Why?

Takia Hooker: The entrepreneur that I am inspired by the most is Ming Lee of Snob Life. I love her story of how she started her business. She has a great business mindset. Even though she has a beauty salon, and she sells hair, her branding and marketing production is amazing to me, because she’s different, and it’s very much catchy to the eye. She can literally sell a product, outside of hair, and market that product like no other. I’ll always remember her saying that social media is a business. She gets dressed up to take pictures on Instagram, because it’s a business. She doesn’t do it for fun, but to promote her brand. 

JR Valrey: Where do you want to take this business in the next 5 years?

Takia Hooker: In the next 5 years I want to take my business to owning a store front, where eventually I will help other entrepreneurs get their brand seen by others. 

JR Valrey: I know that you are also an elementary school teacher, how has youth fashion inspired you?

Takia Hooker: Youth fashion has inspired me by keeping me on my toes on what is in style. However old school styles have repeated themselves, with this new generation. So it’s constantly changing day by day. 

JR Valrey: How has the COVID pandemic affected your business so far?

Takia Hooker: The pandemic really has not affected my business. This was the best time that I could have started my online clothing store. It definitely has been a blessing for me. 

JR Valrey: Where can people see what you have in stock? How do people keep up with you online?

Takia Hooker: People can check out my website Ramonakcloset.com and people can follow my Instagram at @Ramona_K _Closet.

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