HBCU Grad Quit Her Corporate Job and Landed Luxury Shoe Partnership with Nordstrom

HBCU Grad Quit Her Corporate Job and Landed Luxury Shoe Partnership with Nordstrom

Keeyahri luxury shoes by Keya Martin
(Image Credit: Instagram/Keeyahri)

HBCU graduate Keya Martin followed her dreams of designing a luxury shoe brand, and now her shoes have landed a spot in multiple Nordstrom store locations.

Martin is the founder of Keeyahri, a shoe label focused on uplifting and elevating women around the world. Her collection features innovative designs that combine a pop of color, feathers, faux fur, and exquisite shapes to ignite another level of confidence in women.


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“The Nordstrom partnership is by far the most rewarding part of my journey,” Martin told Shoppe Black. “Not only did they invest in my company, but they also gave me their full support to onboard my brand. This partnership opens doors for future growth of all Black-owned businesses.”

She adds, “What was most amazing was their continued belief in my potential despite my brand being new to the industry. This is my proudest moment by far. Never in a million years did I think this would ever happen. The journey has been quite challenging but this solidifies all of my effort and hard work.”

HBCU Grad Partners with Nordstrom to Showcase Luxury Shoe Brand

Martin spent years working in corporate America, but she knew there was another level of her potential that she had to tap into. The Clark Atlanta University graduate decided to step back and reflect on her passion and purpose. Her true desires began to unfold.

“I prayed for guidance and clarity on the next phase of my life. I wrote down a few things that I absolutely loved, and footwear was on the list,” said Martin in an e-mail interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.

With that newfound insight, Martin decided to take action. She launched Keeyahri in 2018, according to her LinkedIn page.

“I sketched some shoe designs for my friends and asked their opinion. They urged me to go after my dream.  Years passed by after researching online and not being able to find a factory to make samples. After saving up some funds, I took a trip to an Italian tradeshow, searching for a factory to make my samples. After I made the trip, everything started connecting.”

Last year, Martin decided to take a leap of faith. She left her corporate job and became a full-time entrepreneur. Although she faced challenges trying to secure funding and enter the luxury shoe market, Martin kept going and her persistence paid off.

Earlier this year, Martin was introduced to the designer buying team at Nordstrom. They immediately fell in love with the brand and offered her space for her luxury shoes.

“We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we actually do it,” Martin told Shoppe Black.

For aspiring or new entrepreneurs who want to expand their partnerships and opportunities, Martin offers these words of wisdom: “Make a move, shoot your shot, jump in that dm, make the connection, collaborate. Do not stay stagnant. If you’re scared, do it scared.”