Claima Stories is hitting the road.
Starting today, the team behind the career-focused podcast will embark on an adventure dubbed “Claima Stories With Bimma: Storytella Road Trip.” Over the next 30 days, they will hit four states on the West Coast and meet with leaders in different industries, resulting in conversations aimed at inspiring young BIPOC creatives.
“We have all have been stuck inside over the last year or so because of COVID, and the BIPOC small business community and entrepreneurs have been impacted disproportionately,” Williams, co-founder and host of Claima Stories, told FN. “In addition to that, we have seen this outpouring from brands committing dollars to these initiatives, but less than 1% of those contributions have gone out. We thought about our platform and how we can do a little bit better, and do what we can.”
He continued, “We were thinking about how the world is reopening and that it would be dope to reconnect with people and lift the spirits of small business owners, go find out what’s been going on.”
Williams was tight-lipped about all of the upcoming guests. However, he did reveal two names to FN: Maurice Harris, who is the owner of floral design studio and cafe Bloom & Plume, and Kacey Lynch, founder of the contemporary streetwear brand Bricks & Wood.
Although centered around great conversation, the trip — which was created in partnership with 99designs by Vistaprint — will yield more than that.
Through the aforementioned partnership, Claima Stories has already delivered more than $250,000 in grants to 12 BIPOC brands impacted adversely by COVID, as well as hate crimes. Williams said Claima Stories will be providing four more grants — $15,000 each — that will be given to people in the four cities they are visiting. Also, the grants will come with design and marketing support to help the recipient recover after a difficult year.
“We’re basically going to turn the people we interview into ambassadors. We’re going to empower them to nominate someone from their community because they know their communities better than we do,” Williams said. “With that, we have criteria [for the grants]. We want to focus on BIPOC small business owners in the consumer goods and products space and impacted by COVID. In addition to that, they have to be a business that is servicing the well-being of their community.”
For the trip, the crew will get behind the wheel of a custom 1993 Mitsubishi Delica Starwagon. The van, named Storytella, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art mobile studio and features interior accented with the podcast’s signature purple hue.
Throughout the 30 days, they will hit San Francisco (July 22-25), Los Angeles (July 25-Aug. 5), Phoenix (Aug. 10-13) and Las Vegas (Aug. 13-16) before arriving back in Portland, Ore. on Aug. 22.
“We wanted to make sure we can go into areas we had a fair chance of being comfortable and safe, and also access from Portland,” Williams said. “San Francisco is a heavily populated area of diverse talent, as well as L.A., Phoenix and Las Vegas. But they all have different types of industries that are more popular in the area than others.”
Throughout the journey — which will be shared in detail on Instagram as they go from experience to experience — Claima Stories will be speaking with people involved in wellness, streetwear, the food and beverage industry, the tech world, the beauty industry, cannabis and more.