Birmingham’s boutique game just gained a player. Sidekicks, a sneaker and modern streetwear boutique founded by Alabama natives Joseph Bradley and Bonaventure Akinlosotu, is open for business in Avondale.
“The name Sidekicks isn’t only a play on sneakers (also called kicks). It’s also the idea of looking at our customers as superheroes and our products as the sidekicks that complement them.”Bradley
With sleek glass storefronts and beautiful natural wood doors, you might not guess the building’s history. It was originally a Gulf gas station in the 1930s and, in more modern history, the Painted Shovel Mercantile antique shop.
So why sneakers and streetwear? The idea was born about four years ago.
“We noticed that Avondale was very popular as far as bars and food, and we really wanted to add a little bit of retail to the area.”Bradley
Through Sidekicks, the founders hope to build relationships in the community and shine a light on a culture they feel doesn’t get a lot of face time in Birmingham. They also strive to provide accessible streetwear at reasonable prices and to be a place where customers can discover new brands.
“We want the store to be about fun and discovery. Some of the brands we will carry might not be super familiar to our customers, but we feel they’re from cool people and cool designers.”Bradley
Design Initiative, based in Birmingham, helped Bradley and Akinlosotu bring their retail vision to life.
“We wanted to keep it minimalist with a gallery feel, where the product is the main focus. We felt the space, with the windows and the concrete, already lent itself to that.”Bradley
Right now, the store carries three brands, though they will carry more in the future.
- The Quiet Life, an apparel brand out of L.A., by Andy Mueller. “He does the orders. He does the design and the look book,” Bradley said. “So it’s a one- or two-man shop out there, but they’ve got good-quality products and cool designs.”
- Saucony, a classic sneaker brand.“They’re the first sneaker brand to give us a shot.”
- Rastaclat, an accessory brand, also out of L.A. This brand is all about Rasta culture and positive vibes. (Bob Marley, anyone?)
General price points, according to Bradley, are as follows.
- T-shirts: $30-$45
- Hoodies and sweaters: $70-$100
- Windbreakers and jackets: $90-$120
- Sneakers: $60-$150
Bradley and Akinlosotu are both alumni of the University of Alabama class of 2011. In 2016, they attended CO.STARTERS, a 10-week business development program through Create Birmingham, to develop the idea for Sidekicks.