Valeaka Freeman recently opened Creations by Pure Inspirations at 2015 Ridge Road to bring a unique cultural and inspirational gift store to Homewood residents.
“This was my hobby on the side, and it spun out of control in the best way,” she said.
A native of Harvey, Freeman, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (AKA) for 14 years, and a former Hillcrest High School band director, was not expecting to leave her teaching position to open a storefront.
It started as a hobby. Freeman joined a second sorority, the Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Psi Epsilon, in 2015 and soon learned how little paraphernalia was available.
“It was my hobby, and as a band and choir director, we always needed shirts, so I started making things (and) I knew nothing about opening a business.”
As Freeman joined the Christian sorority, her designated line name was Pure Inspiration. “I did not like it; what is pure inspiration (But) almost immediately, I felt super inspired to do all types of things, one of them opening up Creations by Pure Inspirations.”
Word of mouth and requests for team school shirts for churches and customized events created Freeman’s new idea, “I stepped out on faith, quit my job, and opened a storefront in 2018 in Midlothian; I was officially a T-shirt lady.”
Creations by Pure Inspirations CBPI began in 2018, initially 100% customization only, and has alkylated Sorority House licensing with Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, Delta Psi Epislon, Lambda Pi Alpha for the storefront.
Cultivating relationships and clientele, Freeman wanted to expand by providing items of Fraternities and obtaining licenses for that.
“After five years in Midlothian, I moved CBPI to Homewood because I knew clients of mine who lived there, and I wanted to include fraternities (currently licensed to 3); it’s not just a sorority and fraternity store, but a cultural gift store where you can find inspirational items and black culture gifts.”
Creations by Pure Inspirations opened May 12. Freeman recalls the stroll in the Homewood area to be “engaging” and “walkable.”
“There are already seven black-owned businesses in this space alone, and many of which are in a part of a sorority or fraternity,” she said. “Most of our base is in service; with starting my journey in 2015 to realizing my store address number is 2015, faith has to be intervening.”
CBPI strives to cater to members of each organization’s preference and has specific items that can’t/won’t necessarily be found at Walmart or other chain stores.
The store is open Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. Visit the store’s website here.