“The World Is Yours.” This quote was famously said by many artists including Nas in his first album Illmatic. This quote has been a motto for many people, but especially Akeem and Shaka Agard.
Cousins Akeem and Shaka Agard are the fresh faces of an empire, coming to a city near you. You may not be familiar with their names, but if you live in Atlanta, you know their store. The two along with Shuwayne Agard and Lendel Edwards formed the street wear boutique, Stadium ATL.
Stadium ATL is located in Atlanta, Georgia in the Little Five Points district on Euclid Avenue. You will have to walk a ways down Euclid to find the store, but the best is always saved for last.
However, it’s not just about owning a store for the Agard cousins, it’s about building a brand… an empire. The pair along with the rest of the Stadium ATL team took what they’ve learned from life experiences and formed the product that is seen today.
What is accomplished so far is not the end for Akeem and Shaka, but only the beginning.
Tell me a little background on yourselves.
Akeem: Originally, our family is Guyanese. We were born in Georgetown, Guyana and moved to Brooklyn when I was two.
Shaka: I was four when I came to the United States.
Akeem: That’s where we grew up and we’re very family oriented. Our family talked about education all the time. Growing up in New York we learned about fashion and culture. We lived on Flatbush in Brooklyn and it was very Jamaican. It was West Indian. We grew up in a part of Brooklyn where everything was so cultured and we loved it.
Did you have prior schooling? Where did the business aspect come into play?
Akeem: The business came in after. We just did what we wanted. We were more creative. But, we realized that we can’t be creative, and make money without having the business side down. I went to school for English.
Shaka: I went to school for a technical diploma. I was going towards finishing my associates degree but, I never finished just because we started a brand called Charlie Appleseed. We started Stadium from starting our brand. The brand has been around for five years and it has been a smooth transition. We wanted to have our brand under that platform. Through Stadium we could do that.
Akeem: So, there’s no prior schooling. It just came from a passion and a love that we wanted. It seems like the business side is hard but, it comes.
Why come to Atlanta if you lived in Flatbush?
Akeem: How Flatbush is set up is, if you’re in this store and you go outside, there is another store, and if you go next door there is a clothing store. That’s New York, it’s all shopping. It’s very hard to make any kind of penetration in that market. It’s just too real. If you don’t have the money to bring something different, it’s hard.
We’ve been in Atlanta for about 10 years. We pretty much grew up here.
Shaka: We went to junior high and high school here. Still back and forth from New York. We still keep that culture with us because, we always go back almost every summer.
Would you guys branch off the store to New York or any other cities? Or do you plan on just staying local?
Shaka: Ultimately, yes we plan on branching out. We plan on building another store in Atlanta first. Then ultimately, God willing, take it back to New York
Why the name Stadium and the logo? What does that all represent?
Akeem: Across the globe if you’re going to do anything in a Stadium, if you’re going to perform in a stadium, or play sports… it has to be a huge event. No disrespect to anybody, but if Young Thug was going to play in a stadium, nobody is going to see him. You have to go see a Hov or Beyonce. They’re larger names, they’ve been doing this for a long time. Stadiums house big events. So, you can have the Olympics, and you can have a big concert in a stadium.
With us, we wanted an arena that we can bring in different brands that represented different things. It’s sports, it’s arts, and it’s music all in one house. The symbol is just to show that we’re over all of that.
What sets Stadium apart from stores like Wish down the street?
Akeem: Well, that was the best thing about us opening up. We understand that Wish is a mainstream store. It’s a street wear store. Being from New York, we know what they have… people in New York are not really buying. We know that the competition is not knowledgable about what they’re selling. They’re just looking at blogs and saying, “oh people like this,” and they buy it. Here at Stadium we don’t do that. We like to pick things.
Shaka: We like to focus on the exclusiveness. We try to have mainstream brands that people know about and try to still establish underground brands on the come up. They’re great brands and I believe that separates us from the Wishes and the other boutiques.
How did you find Little Five Points?
Akeem: We found Little Five Points to be very eclectic and free. People come down here to be themselves. That’s what SoHo is in New York or Melrose is in L.A. People are here to have fun. Little Five Place was best for us because it’s so cultured. We come from a cultural background. We can relate to everyone here.
Are the designers in the store Atlanta locals?
Shaka: A couple of them. Some designers just walk in the store, present their brand to us, and we do business. Our partner Bigs (Lendel Edwards) also has a clothing line here called Simple.
Akeem: We are very picky about the brands that we bring in. We never want a brand that someone else can leave here and find somewhere else. We take our time and we find brands from all over. Sometimes we have brands from London, and we have a brand coming in from Belgium.
What are your goals for Stadium in the future?
Number one goal is getting to that second store. We’re more than a clothing store, we’re a brand, a branded clothing store. We give off a culture first before clothes. Anyone can get clothes. You can go to the mall or shop online to get clothes. We want to give off a certain culture with our brand that differentiate us.
Any summer plans?
It’s going to be our two year anniversary next month and we’re looking to throwing a customer appreciation party and invite all our customers. We’re going to have pop up shops where brands can come in also. But, we’re still growing and we have bigger things coming in the next year.