FAMU student launches fashion business

Kerry Hartley

Kerry Hartley has always dressed to impress. His goal is to always look his best.

Now a senior environmental studies major at Florida A&M University, Hartley knew that fashion was his passion and wanted a way to express his vision.

“Fashion has always been something I love to do. I would always say dress to impress or just trying my best and to present myself in the best manner,” Hartley said.

The 21-year-old entrepreneur has started his own fashion business: Five Five 7, an online operation that turns into a pop-up shop on Set Friday.

 “The name Five Five 7 came from the address of my grandparents’ house 557 Empire Boulevard in Brooklyn, New York and I named it after them because I wanted to continue on their legacy,” he said.

Hartley, a native of Rockledge in Brevard County, has a goal for himself and his business. “I would like to be a retailer who works with partners that has upcoming brands like Flex my Complexion or Cait the Great. These are some people that inspire me to move my business to newer heights,” Hartley said.

Hartley has made relations with customers who love him and his work and are eater to see where he goes from here with his business venture.

Allana Marolt, a friend and customer, said she admires his work.

“I think that his business is one that can grow to become something great. Kerry is a great person and when I found out the boutique was his, I was even more excited to purchase from him,” Marolt said. “I believe that because of the person behind the business, the business is unique and can definitely reach many. I am also a customer because of the varieties of cute items that the boutique has to offer,” Marolt said.

Rasheeda McKay, a loyal customer and close friend, was impressed by Hartley’s fashion business.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Kerry on social media. I saw that he had his own business and a fellow Rattler, so I wanted to check it out. I instantly fell in love with a pair of shoes he was selling. The next day I saw that he was having a sale where everything was $10! I immediately went to purchase them. I decided then I would follow him so I could keep up with his business,” said McKay.

“Later, I ended up having the pleasure of meeting Kerry in person. I found out that he is a young man with a huge vison. He is very professional and open to collaborating with other brands to learn from them,” McKay said. “This is one thing I admire about him the most. He understands he has a lot to learn and he wants to gain all the knowledge he can. We have become great friends since.”

Hartley has made it a mission to build relationships with his customers in order for them to keep coming back and for them to show off their look of confidence and style.  Ten years from now he sees himself and Five Five 7 a successful business that has its way with connecting to other customers and brands.

“Ten years from now I see myself personally being an investor, investing in brands, investing into businesses, said Hartley. “I definitely feel that fashion would be one avenue that I do that through and with Five Five 7, the store, I feel that being one of my first and most successful ways into investing into brands, invest into entrepreneurs, Hartley said. Being a helping hand and being a helping team member who wants to see these brands grow and want to see them go from here to New York to France to Milan to England even as far as Tokyo, I would want to be the person right hand man or the brands ‘doctor’ sort of way in order to fix things if I am ever in that position of knowledge and expertise,” Hartley said.