Entrepreneur Channing Beumer wants to take women’s love for sneakers to new heights with her women-focused sneaker boutique Shop CNK, which is set to open its doors later this year in Dallas.

In 2016, Beumer launched Chicks ‘n Kicks Daily, a blog-turned-media company that gives women who love fashion and sneakers a community and digital platform where they feel seen. She didn’t know a mass of women were hoping and waiting to come across a space like hers. Now, eight years later, her brand has grown to become a pillar in the female sneakerhead community. She plans to open the first Black woman-owned sneaker boutique focused on female consumers, offering them a one-of-a-kind retail experience. She recently sat down with Blavity to share her journey to expanding her organization into a tangible location.

When Beumer created the brand nearly a decade ago, things were shifting in her life. She noticed any time she Googled women and sneakers, the same images surfaced: women in a pair of kicks serving sex appeal. She felt that women like her, who love sneakers and streetwear, weren’t represented in mainstream media.

“All I saw were girls in bikinis and Js. I did a Google image search and I very much felt like, ‘Okay, this ain’t it, this ain’t you.’ It was very much from the male gaze,” she said. “And so we just started this conversation series with girls that I knew and I liked. We were doing these photo shoots with them in sneakers and I look back at some of them and cringe. I’m like, ‘Ew, that was so whack.'”

The University of Minnesota alumna wanted to switch the viewpoint at that time from a male-centered perspective to a more inclusive one targeted toward the everyday woman.

“I didn’t see a lot of female-focused content. I didn’t see a lot of women being championed. But I think more importantly, I didn’t see a lot of Black and brown women being championed. And for me, Black women have always been the blueprints of this thing,” she explained. “I didn’t see my aunties, I didn’t see my friends, I didn’t see my mama…and so in my mind, I was like, ‘Okay, well instead of complaining about it, I’ll create it.”

“I drew a lot of inspiration early on from Fashion Bomb Daily. I loved fashion bomb daily, but I was like, ‘I feel like I could do this, but for sneakers. And that’s why we made CNK Daily because I was like I could do this for sneakers,” she said.

The company has built relationships and partnerships with companies like Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Foot Locker, Nike and Jordan Brand. In addition, Beumer’s company now offers merchandise, hosts events and contests, participates in philanthropic efforts and helps teens and young women through their PowHER Forward Mentorship Program. Furthermore, some men understand the CNK Daily movement and support the brand.

“They saw the need too for a certain level of representation for women’s sneaker collectors,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot of men who have put their wives on, right? Or their daughters or whatever. And I think that that just speaks to the larger community that sneakers bring to the table.”

As the CNK Daily community grew, Beumer had a vision for a retail location for Shop CNK in 2019. She prayed about it, wrote some ideas down, drafted creative copy and shared it with her partner Cassidy Edwards. She printed copies of her notion, put it in a bible and kept it moving.

“I took a second and I prayed and I literally wrote down all the things that this store is going to be,” she said. “I got on the phone with Cassidy and prayed over it, sent her a copy and put the date and the time and forgot about it.”

During the pandemic, the concept resurfaced and the sneaker enthusiast felt a tugging at her spirit. After talking with people who eventually became her mentors, she believed it was possible. In 2022, she attended an event that included a panel of female sneaker boutique owners. Although two of the five speakers were Black women, only one out of the five panelists’ target audience was women and that boutique is located in Toronto. That’s when she knew there was a bigger picture and mission to what a Black woman-owned and operated sneaker retail company could do for the culture.

“There are no Black woman-owned women’s retail sneaker stores in the country, and I just felt like it was the same as when we started in 2020 or 2016,” she recalled. “Like seeing that niche, seeing that disparity, seeing that lack in that small window of this big industry.”

She added, “I chose to dive in and do my homework. I got into three different accelerator programs, [and] crafted out our business plan and our strategy. [I] started paying attention to numbers and detailed line items and what it would take to build this and to get it to come to fruition.”

Although she was anxious, she and Edwards hit the ground running to raise money for their venture, which is no easy task, especially for a Black woman.

“It’s incredibly difficult. You always hear the statistics, right? That Black female founders are the largest growing segment of the entrepreneurial community, yet still, they remain the least funded,” she said. “You don’t realize it until you’re in the thick of it… it’s just very frustrating, but I recognize the pain point. We’re over-mentored and underfunded. And there are so many ideas that go on hiatus and just go away because they can’t get the money.”

Despite the uphill battle, the CNK Daily team continues to charge forward. The retail location will offer customers sneakers, apparel and accessories, along with a co-working space. Shop CNK has already locked in some national and local vendors with a focus on minority-owned businesses so their products will be available in-store for sale. The overall goal for Beumer is for the brick-and-mortar to offer superior customer service and provide an innovative safe space in the Dallas community that celebrates women.

“This space is a gift, but it’s a blessing and it’s a level of overflow that we don’t have any reason not to bless other people like that,” Beumer said. “That is the mission here, to make sure that with this we are being a blessing to other people and inviting people into a space where they’re always welcome and they’re always seen.”