Sheneka Frieson: Romares Apparel - Accion Opportunity Fund
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Sheneka Frieson: Romares Apparel

Sheneka Frieson, having earned her business management degree from Huntington College, initially pursued a career in corporate America


Over time, she realized this path didn’t align with the economic opportunities she anticipated and became inspired to embark on an entrepreneurial venture after discovering a collegiate licensing procurement program for the University of Alabama. In May 2017, she launched Romares Apparel — a curated shop specializing in sports and everyday wear. The store offers a diverse array of clothing, accessories, and collectibles designed for the enjoyment of youth, adults, and families.

Though Romares Apparel has achieved great success, Sheneka’s path into entrepreneurship was not always easy. She was discouraged from starting her business by peers and naysayers. When she first applied for and received business licensing, she sat on it for over a year due to lacking the network and support she needed to launch.

When she decided she would no longer sit on the sidelines and was, in her words, “ready to go”, she started her business with her personal savings. With only 8 shirts, a few cups, and 2 decals, she sold out of her product within minutes during her first game day as a pop-up vendor.

However, when she sought out financing to expand her inventory, she was denied funding – even when applying for only half the amount she needed. “Being told ‘no’ has been one of the hardest hurdles in my journey, “Sheneka said.

During the COVID-19 health emergency, she received financial support from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, that helped her navigate decreased cash flow. Shortly after, she learned about an AOF e-commerce accelerator program designed to provide hands-on learning, launch online storefronts, and equip entrepreneurs with a start-grant to support their growth plans.

The program allowed Sheneka to bounce ideas with entrepreneurs and certified business coaches. She developed and implemented a digital marketing and web growth strategy. She also met a network of business owners across the nation who developed long-term relationships and collaborated on digital marketing. With the $20,000 grant she received, she could order inventory, invest in a web hosting subscription, and outsource marketing support.

Sheneka is a certified AOF ambassador and we are proud to uplift her. She has attended and presented at multiple AOF webinars, including Start Up: From Idea to Open for Business and What’s Ahead: Empowering Excellence: Building Ecosystems for Black Entrepreneurs. She also developed social media content promoting AOF’s products and programs on TikTok.

So, what’s ahead for Sheneka? She is working to develop a growth plan that would allow her to generate income outside of e-commerce and game-day sales. She plans to purchase and manage self-service kiosks that would allow Romares Apparel to be accessible in local airports and other locations across the South.


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