Santa Rosa resident helps launch Black luxury fashion brand

6 July 2020

Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat

When Santa Rosa resident Andrew Akufo lost his job as executive director of the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, and found himself with a lot more time on his hands, he turned his attention to a new mission: building Black wealth.

Akufo, who was laid off as the Healdsburg nonprofit sought to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, reconnected with Toja Hodge, an artist, singer and music producer he met at his previous job leading an arts center in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Hodge, whose dream of launching a Black-owned luxury fashion brand grew into a budding business, reached out to Akufo over Instagram, and the two reconnected long distance. Akufo soon found himself in a business partnership, putting his social media, branding and marketing skills to use to promote Hodge’s Gapelii Brand.

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