Hey POC Fam! We have a new brand for you to meet. Get ready to laugh out loud as you learn about The Krive Shop!
We met Karla Rivers Johnson at our Atlanta Pop Up event in December 2021. Her streetwear themed setup, complete with a street sign and bright lights, was so attractive that it won her this feature on our blog! But her business journey started long before popping up with us.
Karla initially enrolled at Columbia College Chicago to study video game design. But after selling t-shirts at a trade show with her Dad, she switched her college major to graphic design.
Her career started at a print company, but soon she decided to make a bold move towards financial independence. In 2016 she stepped out on her own and built this graphic apparel design business. As a kid, she would doodle drawings in her notebooks and sign her name as K. Rive. She put this together as KRIVE and used it as the title for her product line.
Her parents and husband supported the venture from the beginning. Before launching she did research on the industry, watched tutorial videos, and invested in affordable equipment. After producing her first line of t-shirts, her friends volunteered to model.
Karla's personality helped with expanding the brand. She is creative, nerdy, down to earth, and a big jokester! That comes across in her products, which sometimes feature laugh-worthy quotes. Two of her t-shirts went viral: "GRIIIITS" and "Occasional Adult". She also likes to spread positivity and awareness, which inspired her more serious designs.
Though Karla started with t-shirts, she expanded to sweatshirts, hoodies and sweatpants. She calls the pieces she makes Conversation Starters and is motivated to make apparel that sparks discussions.
But an even bigger motivation is her son. She constantly thinks about building a legacy of generational wealth. Her goal is to expand into a company that can be passed down to him.
To get there, Karla works hard and gives customers an amazing experience. Her buyers, whom she lovingly calls #KriveShoppers, find her personality and content funny. She is proud of the community of laughter she's built around her brand. She said,
“I believe that's important with everything going on in the world. After a long day, you can bet that in between us posting pictures of our apparel, you're also gonna catch a funny meme or funny video to help you unwind.”
But it's not always fun and games. She's also manifesting growth. She regularly speaks out about things she is hoping to achieve soon, such as buying a warehouse and hiring employees. She even visited Target's Black History Month display, while wearing her own brand, to manifest her line being included in the store soon. She said,
“I'm not there just yet, but these are things I'm putting out into the universe, because it will happen.”
Karla knows she has what it takes to qualify her brand for big moves. She is adamant about delivering quality products. And she is proud that unique ideas pop into her brain frequently. With quality and uniqueness to set her brand apart, Karla does not worry about competition. She said,
“No one is better at being me than me. No one is better at being The KRIVE Shop than The KRIVE Shop... My inspiration comes from the most random places and times. I could be in the shower and BAM, there's an idea. Then I gotta hope that I don't forget by the time the shower is over. Ha!”
As she works toward her goals, she is learning too. One lesson is to charge your worth. In her interview with us, she stressed the importance of business owners not shortchanging themselves. But most importantly, she's learned to go for your dreams. She offers this advice to other entrepreneurs:
“You've been sitting on an idea worrying if it'll be good or not or whether you'll succeed or fail. I'm here to tell you to get up and just do it. You'll have ups and downs, you'll make mistakes, but that's how you learn and grow. And don't forget to celebrate the little victories along the way!”
Karla is inspiring us and keeping us laughing along the way. If you want to be part of the fun and add some of these conversation pieces to your wardrobe, follow her! Visit her website for a great shopping experience. Or click on the link to her Instagram here. That's where all the fun happens!
Until Next Time, Peace (and Laughter),