Listen to this article now

Catelayah Gordon, the owner and founder of ‘Atomic Soul,’ was born and raised in Englewood, California were wearing African regalia wasn’t popular but was always her style.

Catelayah was mostly inspired by the stories of her great-grandfather, who was from Africa, and her grandmother, who was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, to embrace her African and Autochthon (ah-tuk-then) Indigenous lineage.

‘Atomic Soul’ was originally founded in 2016 as ‘The Goddess Peace Boutique’ until its rebranding earlier this year. The rebranding was for her male consumers to be more comfortable and supportive of her shop.

“ Most men were uncomfortable looking at my company. I had a lot of themes for men and women.” Gordon said.

Catelayah renamed the shop ‘Atomic Soul’ because African people and their culture are so influential.

“ Everything we do is big. It’s the bomb. What we do can’t be duplicated. Everything we do, we
do it with soul.”
Gordon said

Atomic Soul originates from Catelayah’s talent of dressing her hair with headwraps. Her community admired this skill and wanted to learn for themselves how to wrap their own hair. Therefore, ‘Atomic Soul’ starts with Catelayah’s headwrap classes. One of her first headwrap courses was with six to seven of her closest friends that spread the word about her brand. Catelayah eventually purchases merchandise from black-owned vendors in Nigeria, China, and Thailand so that her community can dress like her from head to toe.

‘Atomic Soul’ Head Wrap Classes 7/16 flier

Atomic Soul’s clothing designs are inspired by Catelayah’s admiration for African and Indigenous American cultures. Consumers often don’t know about the Indigenous influence since both cultures, as far back as ancient times, influenced each other.

“ I wear a lot of African and Indigenous themes. People won’t know the difference because the cultures are so similar.” Gordon said.

‘Atomic Soul’ has a range of product options. The shop offers bonnets, headwraps, custom jewelry pieces, and African clothes. Catelayah looks forward to changing ‘Atomic Soul’ from a fashion brand to a jewelry store.

Catelayah custom jewelry pieces

Catelayah emphasizes that although buying products helps black-owned vendors in different countries, purchasing African fabrics and materials can become very expensive. The change will also, generate more revenue for ‘Atomic Soul’ Catelayah believes.

“From a business standpoint, my customers are willing to spend more on the $40 to $30 jewelry pieces.” Gordon said.

There is also a lot of hard work that goes into ‘Atomic Soul.’ Catelayah encourages those who are pursuing retail to make sure they do research. She stresses that research is required with unpopular trends like African and Native American regalia.

“I try to not only make it about Africa, I try to market in a way where the options are modern and up to date,” Gordon said.

Additionally, Catelayah stresses the importance of networking. Networking was the number one way she got introduced to her vendors from different parts of the world.

Put your name out there.

Catelayah Gordon

Participate in different vending events. Also, have a website or social media where you can showcase your product. Catelayah uses her social media to get to know her consumer audience.

“ 90% of my consumers I know personally.” Gordon said.

Catelayah also encourages retailers to test out their products for a few weeks before selling.

“You would not want to sell something that is not quality.” Gordon advises.

Catelayah vending at Iniko’s Summer Solstice Event 626
Pearland, Texas

The reviews for ‘Atomic Soul’ are phenomenal. Brittney Okwumabua, an attendee at Catelayah’s headwrap event, expresses gratitude for ‘Atomic Soul’s’ services in teaching women how to adore their crown.

“ Schooled by the best headwrap Queen in the game.” Okwumabua said.

Jessica Larimore, who was also a guest at one of Catelayah’s hair care events, states that she enjoyed the educational experience of learning the history behind the headwrap.

Thank you Catelayah Gordon for this beautiful headwrap. So fun.” Larimore said.

Catelayah’s work recognized and featured by
musical artist Lavva (left) and Iniko (right)

Apothecary Thamani, a participant at Catelayah’s vending event, expresses appreciation to her community and Catelayah.

“My favorite part of being a goddess is meeting other goddesses like this one.” Thamani said.

Catelayah’s work has also been recognized and featured by Project Smith Designs, an online service for growing businesses; they applaud Catelayah for her entrepreneurial growth.

“This girl is fire. I am proud and happy for my client Catelayah Gordon,” Project Smith Design writes.

In the future, Catelayah is looking forward to designing her own merchandise and having models showcase her newest products. Gordon is also a model herself and a conscious speaker for the black community on Youtube by the name of ‘Layah’s Commentary.’ Purchase ‘Atomic Soul’ online today: