SEATTLE - Having the most exclusive sneakers is worth a lot more than Instagram likes and having bragging rights with friends. The industry is worth over 72 billion, and that number is expected to explode to over 100 billion by 2026.
Takiya Ward is a Seattle creator and hopes to cash in on that growth by keeping your favorite colorways crisp.
The Re-Sole 206 is Seattle’s first dry cleaner for sneakers.
"This has always been a dream of mine," said Ward. "I’ve been customizing shoes since I was about 12 or 13. So I’m 20 years in the game of customizing and being in this art form. And this niche art form."
For now, Ward does the cleaning by hand. But eventually, she will be getting machinery and equipment that is specifically made for sneakers.
Ward, who’s better known as T-Dub, grew up in Seattle’s Central District and is a graduate of Garfield High School. Part of her plan for The Re-Sole 206 includes passing down these skills to the next generation. She envisions this shop as a community gathering space where students at Garfield High School learn how to customize sneakers.
Seattle creator Takiya Ward.
"The community centers that we have in the neighborhood don’t function like they used to for us," said Ward. "When we were just out playing basketball, hanging out and having fun, it was great. But now we’re into customizing shoes and learning about processes and working shopping and DIY-ing and exploring in very particular ways."
Ward will be the first to admit that it’s a challenge finding the balance between being a creative and running a business. That’s why her employees will walk away with more than just a paycheck.
"The plan is to create an avenue for folks not to just be employees, but to become entrepreneurs through the re-sole and through our re-up program," said Ward. "So if you work here, you’ll be able to get mentorship from me and learning and understanding how business works and grows. The type of funding and infrastructure you need, operations and management."
The Re-Sole 206 also has workshops on how to clean and customize your own shoes. Ward tells FOX 13 News she’s hoping this space will help people get through the mental block of thinking they’re not an artist, and instead re-frame their mindset and bring their creativity to life.