Seattle Culture

Rebuilding Re-Sole 206

Seattle rallies to support local entrepreneur after break-in

By Sarah Stackhouse May 10, 2024

Takiyah Ward restoring sneakers, giving them new life and keeping them out of landfills.

After years of customizing sneakers in her home studio, Takiyah Ward decided to go for it and open her own shop. As an artist with a background in architecture, she personally designed and created Re-Sole 206, Washington’s first sneaker “dry cleaner.”

Ward in her element, hand-painting sneakers with care and creativity.

Photos courtesy of Re-Sole 206

Earlier this year, we caught up with Ward at Sneaker Con, where she stood out as an innovator dedicated to sustainable fashion. Re-Sole 206, located in Midtown Square in Seattle’s Central District, focuses on sneaker maintenance and restoration, helping keep sneakers out of landfills.

Unfortunately, just five months after opening, Ward faced a major setback. In March, thieves broke into Re-Sole 206 and stole 26 pairs of sneakers, along with the cash register. “That day was one of the worst days of my life,” Ward says. “Opening my first store was already a huge challenge, so having this happen so soon really led to a lot of setbacks.

The thieves sawed through the wall from the shop next door, and security cameras captured them fleeing with large, black bags. “To think that so many small businesses have had to deal with break-ins just doesn’t sit right with me,” she says. “It’s also why I’ve been so vocal about our experience, hoping that amplification will lead to change.”

The break-in messed everything up. Ward had to clear all stock from the shelves and switch to an appointment-only structure. She had to notify more than 20 customers that their shoes were stolen, a task she found incredibly painful. 

Despite all the challenges and long days spent trying to recover stolen items and restore the shop, the community’s response has been overwhelmingly supportive. “I’ve never felt so seen, heard, and appreciated. Some friends even organized a fundraiser on my behalf, which was so beautiful,” Ward says. “My birthday is this month, and all I want is for us to reach our fundraising goal.”

The fundraiser has so far raised just under half of the $34,000 goal. The funds are allocated for customer reimbursements, refunds for services not rendered, security upgrades, and covering the debts incurred due to lost business.

Ward, who learned the value of caring for sneakers in a single-parent household, continues to innovate and pursue her dreams.

Photo courtesy of Re-sole 206

Looking ahead, Ward plans to expand the shop’s capabilities with new machinery and retail space. She recently hired two interns who she says bring fresh, positive energy to the shop. Through all of this, Ward remains committed to sustainable sneaker culture, providing top-quality shoe care, and sharing her expertise with the next generation. “We are not going anywhere,” she says. 

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