'The Ultimate Trunk Show' Gives Black Entrepreneurs Needed Platform [Exclusive]

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 06/10/2015 | 04:30 PM EDT

Bi-annual event puts spotlight on biz owners

What started as a way to sell leftover inventory from her online boutique turned out to be a great way for Latoya Gordon to give burgeoning entrepreneurs a platform to spread the word about their brands.

Gordon, who launched Shop CLB online boutique in 2008, opened up her quaint Brooklyn apartment for a “shopping party” so that up and coming designers could have a space to sell their merchandise to prospective clients. The event was such a success that she decided to do it again on a larger scale, and so was birthed The Ultimate Trunk Show (UTS).

The event, which occurs both in the Spring and Winter, is carefully curated by Gordon and her team who bring entrepreneurs on board who best reflect their taste.

“We carefully vet each designer to ensure that their aesthetic and workmanship in their product meets our standards,” Gordon tells Centric. “We care about the brands we work with and fulfilling their need for face to face interaction with the consumer, store owners and buyers, as well as media and bloggers...creating a hybrid shopping event for everyone in attendance.”

On June 6, The Ultimate Trunk Show attracted a large crowd of eager customers who had access to a club of almost exclusively Black entrepreneurs. From fashion to organic lip balm, the UTS had a little something for everyone.

The event, sponsored by Hennessy and Uber among others, was held in New York City at Shop Studios. Patrons also were treated to an open bar and complimentary rooftop massages. The event intended for business owners to make money often felt and looked a lot lik a high-energy NYC day party. Gordon, however, makes it clear the emphasis is on promoting entrepreneurship.

As the Ultimate Trunk Show continues to grow in popularity each season, Gordon hopes for the brand to redefine the way entrepreneurs of color think of reaching buyers.

“Events such as The Ultimate Trunk Show are immensely important because they help create a lane for young upcoming designers, especially women of color, showcase their work to a large-scale audience while networking with fellow tastemakers and curators of fashion,” Gordon says. “Instead of tearing each other down, I like to be the one to help build us up.”

(Pictured above: Latoya Gordon, founder and creative director of The Ultimate Trunk Show, and guest)

(Photos: Femi Thompson)

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