Shanti Mayers and Syreeta Scott have created a welcoming space in North Philadelphia that focuses on showcasing African-American artists and vendors.

The business women are the co-owners of The Sable Collective, a boutique that offers a curated array of items ranging from Afro-centric artwork to African-American literature, crystals, clothing and jewelry and home decor.

“I always reflect on Toni Morrison. She has a quote that ‘if there is a story that you’ve never read before, you go and write it’,” Mayers said.

“I’ve never been in space like this where it was welcoming and curated for women of color so I felt like it was our responsibility to get it together. Syreeta and I brainstormed and were really inspired by the support network that has been growing via social media for Black creatives and entrepreneurs.”

The duo followed a number of creative entrepreneurs via social media and wanted to offer a brick and mortar location for them to showcase their wares. The storefront next door to Scott’s salon, Duafe Holistic Hair Care, became available and they opened their boutique there in November 2016. Mayers, who has a background in the restaurant service industry, runs the boutique.

“This is just that meeting place where you saw those items that you like online and engage them,” Scott said.

Scott views the boutique at 3312 N. 22nd St. as an extension of the vibe she strives to foster at the hair salon.

“For me, I feel that if you create safe spaces, havens for us, we will then come,“ said Scott.

“I felt like we deserved to go somewhere where we saw our images, where we saw our products, where we were engaging with people,” Scott said as she reflected on the space.

“I felt when I walked into stores that our narrative was left out, so we were always forced to fit in or to blend in. We have a lot of beautiful African-American vendors that are doing amazing things that need to be spotlighted.”

Makeba “Keebs” Rainey is one of the many African-American artisans whose work is being showcased at the shop.

“They curate the space really well, so like when you go there it feels like you’re almost returning home,” said Rainey, who specializes in creating digital portraits.

“It feels like a really safe space to be in. It’s inviting and they do really good job at putting together folks who are like minded, so the artwork and the products are all really cohesive.”

The Harlem native has created portraits of notable figures like Coretta Scott King, Ida B. Wells, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Nina Simone.

“I make art for Black people so that we can see ourselves in these great folks and recognize our own potential,” she explained.

This weekend, shoppers will have the opportunity to interact with local vendors during The Sable Collective’s second annual “Black Market – The Love Exchange” holiday shopping event.

The event, being held from 2 to 8 p.m. Nov. 25 at 3312 N. 22nd St., will have a marketplace of about 12 female-owned businesses featuring clothing, jewelry as well as health and wellness items. Food and refreshments will be provided by Atiya Ola’s Spirit Foods and Franny Lou’s Porch.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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