Passion Led This Black Luxury Shoe Designer From An HBCU To

Keya Martin is the Artistic Director and Founder of the premium women’s footwear brand, Keeyahri. Martin grew up in Miami, Florida and attended Clark Atlanta University where she earned a degree in business administration.  Upon completion of her studies, she pursued a career in the corporate world.  Although Martin had a successful career, she yearned to do something unique that she loved.

She prayed for clarity and direction on how to move forward and began the process by listing the things she loved. Designing was one of those passions. Paired with her obsession with shoes, Martin started to make sketches of shoes. She shared the designs with her friends who encouraged her to follow her dreams.

For several years, Martin  was unsuccessful in finding a  a factory to produce samples of her shoe designs. And as the years went by, the more distant the dream of establishing her premium footwear brand seemed.  Not willing to give up on her dream,  Martin saved enough  money to attend an Italian trade show with hopes of finding a factory to produce her samples. It was only then everything started to fall in place.

Keeyahri was launched in 2018. Fast forward two years later, Martin has been able to combine her business administrations skills and passion for designing shoes into a thriving business.  Her designs are influenced by her travels, landscapes, nature, textile and architecture.  She credits her success to her mentorship from Brandice Daniel, Founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row. One of her fashion influences is Tamu McPherson, Founder of All The Pretty Birds.

Keeyahri shoes are ostentatious and one-of-a-kind. And there’s a reason for that. Martin has always wanted to do something that boosted her confidence and a nice pair of shoes always seemed to do the trick.  She wanted to do the same thing for other women.  She said: “You will never go unnoticed in my shoes.” She is guided by her mission is to stimulate a lifestyle of confidence through a commitment  of quality, craftmanship and eclectic style.

Over the last two years Martin’s brand has received a lot of attention and support, especially from the African American community.  Jenine Howard, wife of NBA Player Juan Howard has also donned Keeyahri shoes.  Mrs. Howard was a muse and inspiration to Martin’s first collection. Martin’s vision is to expand beyond the borders of the United States and develop a well valued global brand.

Follow Keeyahri on IG: @keeyahri

Photo Credit: Oasis Imagery 

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