One of our most popular programs is the business training for local entrepreneurs through our partnership with Spring GR. Participants are mentored and attend regular classes in order to move their business idea from concept to reality. Recent Spring GR graduate Rhoda Klomega has a vision to see her original fashion designs bring confidence and joy to each client.
What does a fashion show have to do with community outreach? Everything, in fact, when Rhoda Klomega is involved.
Born in Ghana and raised in Michigan, Rhoda’s story of grit and creativity has led to the growth of her own fashion e-store, Delasie. This ethically-sourced, African-inspired custom clothing line has flourished through the entrepreneurial training she received at the Streams of Hope campus through Spring GR. Today, Rhoda is excited to propel her business to new heights, all the while giving back to the community that got her started.
“It was a series of ripple effects that led me to Delasie,” says Rhoda. She hopes to keep the impact of those “ripple effects” spreading through her business in order to positively impact her clients and neighborhood.
Rhoda credits the Spring GR training with much of her business success.
“Those resources are invaluable. The reason I utilize my [Spring GR] coaches a lot is because they hold me accountable. If I tell them about it, I better be able to follow through. They keep me sharp,” she says.
As a child, Rhoda was interested in math and science, and she’s currently studying at Grand Valley State University’s School of Computing and Information Systems.
“My parents didn’t like giving me toys because I always tried to take them apart,” she laughs. But one day Rhoda asked one of her school teachers for a sewing machine, and the inspiration for Delasie was born.
This fashion-forward business is more than just another clothing store, however. There is a deeper vision to see lives uplifted and transformed through the confidence and positive self-image that comes from wearing a custom-made, unique outfit.
“The main purpose of Delasie is to have you feel good. Because when you look good, you feel good, and you do good,” shares Rhoda. “I love working with clients. The most fulfilling part of my job
is when I make the outfit and the client is wearing it for the first time. It’s the first time they’re wearing something they feel really good in, something that makes them feel amazing.”
Growing out of this effect, Delasie’s motto is “Wear your story,” echoing the founder’s belief that every person has a story as unique as their style. “Every single piece tells a story about you. We all have a story. Every fabric means something,” she says.
One person’s story had a strong impact on Rhoda–her friend and business colleague, Kyra Crandol, the founder of the Grand Rapids-based store Studio Thrift. Both women went through the Spring GR training together, at Kyra’s insistence.
“Kyra’s been a sister, comrade, and confidante in this business journey,” says Rhoda. Not only did Kyra bring Rhoda to the Spring GR class, but she also gave Rhoda what she considers now to be the best piece of business advice she’s ever received–to treat Delasie like her full-time job, giving it no more and no less than she would any other employer. This advice has allowed Rhoda and her business to thrive in the bustling West Michigan community.
Apart from bringing joy and self-confidence to clients, Rhoda is always looking for other ways to give back. Delasie’s upcoming fashion show on Friday, July 28 at the Downtown Market not only serves to increase awareness of her brand, but also supports the local nonprofit organization Arbor Circle.
“Arbor Circle is an organization that offers a variety of counseling, education, and prevention programs to the Grand Rapids community. A portion of the proceeds of the fashion show will go to Arbor Circle’s programs like art therapy and services for immigrant women here in Grand Rapids,” says Rhoda.
Overall, Rhoda is grateful for the support of friends like Kyra Crandol and the inspiration and education she received from Spring GR at the Streams of Hope Campus.
“I really appreciate Streams of Hope and Spring GR doing this for us. What they’re doing is really beneficial and important to the community. The environment they have at Streams of Hope of just wanting to help other people is remarkable. Wanting to be very Christ-like and further grow Grand Rapids whatever little way they can–it’s creating a great ripple effect.”
To keep up with Rhoda and her business, visit her online storefront at Delasie.com. To learn more about Spring GR, visit springgr.com.