ENTREPENEUR DONNIE KYTE OWNS MOLLY’S WORLD BOUTIQUE
A MAN OF GOD, ENCOURAGEMENT AND COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNIITY
Donnie Kyte is from the Hill District and he is the sole proprietor of Molly’s World Boutique located at 2101 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA. He grew up in the housing project of Warren Court which was in the Hill District. Older men and women in the community enlightened him about becoming a businessman and the importance of giving back to your community. Looking around and seeing things in the community that he did not have, drove him to want to make a change for the better and fill the void. Ike Wear 36 Clothing Store sells a variety of T-Shirts, Jackets, Hoodies, Polo Style Shirts and Fitted Hats and there is much more to come.
Kyte is a firm believer in God and he gives all credit to him. When something comes over him and it is a good thing, he knows it is from God.
“He gives me the intuition to see things in a different light. God is in me so much that he really makes me drive in a positive direction all the time. Every time I’m in contact with people from the community, I always plant seeds to others. Some people tell me that I’ve had a positive effect on them and that is a good thing. They also have a lot of respect for what I’m doing with myself and the community”, said Kyte.
When it comes to being an entrepreneur, Kyte feels that it is always good to have your own business and do things for yourself. You also need to have a great understanding of God and things in life. People have an obligation to give back to the community. It is also important to watch how you carry yourself.
”I do not use curse words and I am very mindful of what comes out of my mouth when I am speaking to others. I also instill that same philosophy to the youth. No one is perfect, but what the youth see you doing, they will follow whether it’s good or bad. When I was younger, I seen people in the community doing things that I knew were wrong and I followed behind them until I turned my life around. I was fortunate enough to learn a lot from older men in the community that seen potential in me to do better. I know it was God and a lot of people told me things and I actually listened” said Kyte.
Kyte was one of the first people in the community with FUBU and Nappy Headz clothing. They were both major clothing lines which originated in the late 1990’s. FUBU, which stands for For Us By Us was founded in 1992 by Daymond John with a line of hats made in his house in Hollis, Queens, New York. Supposedly, John mortgaged his own home for $100,000 and with that seed money he and his three friends Elizabeth Rose, M. Martin, and Keith Perrin, turned half of his house into a factory and the other half into living space. FUBU was national clothing line and Nappy Headz was a local clothing line created by Fletcher and Shenita Jones. Nappy Headz Clothing Line was a major hit in Pittsburgh, PA.
Both clothing lines showed Kyte a lot on how to get started in the clothing line business. When he purchased his first FUBU shirt it was also a major inspiration for him. He seen the card attached to the shirt and it blew his mind because there were four young African-American men on the card who looked like him.
“Back in the day, we bought Cross Colors, Knock Out and Boss and there really wasn’t a clothing line out there from African-Americans. When I see the members of FUBU sitting around a table having a meeting on television, it really made me want to start my own company. I immediately brought it to the hood and let everyone see what was going on because they were not aware of this clothing line. It was Rich Brown and myself who started Ike Wear back in the day. I started with two shirts at first in Warren Court. Brown and I tossed some names around and Ike Wear stuck. Once we showed it to the community, they loved it and received it well. I went to Fletcher and Shenita, who showed me how to place my logo on the shirts and the rest, is history. Ike Wear started in 1998, which is also the year that Terrance Jones passed away. He was a great friend of mine and that is why you the number “36” on all of my clothing to represent him. The name of the store came from friends in the street that I grew up with from my neighborhood.
Alphie Palmer is the person who nicknamed my late friend, Sean Harris Ikey –Dog. People from the Hill District broke down the name from Ikey Dog to just Ike. When Harris passed terminology “Ike” became legend. I came up with the name Ike Wear Clothing 36 based off of the terminology and it was immortalized ever since”, said Kyte.
Kyte started out slow, but now things are great. Some people do not understand that you can get burned in this game. Once he decided to open a clothing store, his long time friend Derrick Dawkins, motivated him to get the word out about the clothing line. Dawkins is the founder of DawkFilmz which is making waves in the Pittsburgh community and across the country thanks to You Tube.
“When I first opened up the clothing store, I tried to give other clothing lines a spot in the store. The community was not buying there clothes as much as they were buying Ike Wear because we have diehard Ike Wear fans. I gave them an opportunity to shine in my store because we are all from the Hill District and we are all black entrepreneurs. I ended just selling my own clothing line as a result. I know that I am a misunderstood man because most people are not thinking like I am. Some people, not all, are content with staying ignorant to be a better life and I’m not. The way the black community is suffering right now, I can not sit back and continue to live that way. I have to do my part to make the neighborhood a better place. You can’t save everyone and I don’t try to, but I am going to be a vessel to always help others. There are some people who say that they are with me when they really are not. At first I wouldn’t see it, but as time went on, I started to see who was really with me. Don’t get me wrong, I am appreciative of everyone’s support but when you say one thing and your actions show another, it gets to me. Whenever I’m doing something for others, it’s genuine and from the heart. I don’t expect that in return because I know it’s not reality, but it hurts”, said Kyte.
Kyte is usually a reserved person, but thanks to Facebook, he is able to be more outspoken. He calls himself a Facebook gangster. There are a lot of things that he wants to say in person, but he chooses not to do so and Facebook allows him to get his messages out very easy. It has become an avenue for voice him to voice his opinions to the community without opening his mouth. It also allows him to help others in the process if they are going through a hardship.
“I do not lead people in the wrong direction nor do I feed into the ignorance of the streets. I have a firm believe that if anything is going to change it is on us to change it. It is our responsibility to take care of our own and stand up and be men. I have children, nieces and nephews that look up to me and I have to be accountable so they can see that there is a better way to live. We need to lead by example in other words. When I am on Facebook, it is promote events and businesses, including my own and to uplift the community” said Kyte.
He is also very heavily involved in the community of the Hill District. When others are speaking about what should be done to make the community a better place, Kyte is going beyond the call of duty by taking action to make things happen.
“The reasons why I started doing kick ball and other activities in the community for the kids are because I want to bring some sense of community back to the neighborhood. Also the children have too much idol time and they need something to do. I see a lot of kids hanging out on the block and the parents are not being responsible. I came from a situation pretty similar to what these kids are going through today. I love my parents, Marell Childs and Danny Kyte, very much and I know they love me, but we did not always have a great relationship in the beginning. Back in the day, I did not have the support that I needed growing up as a child. I also could have lost my life a million times over and God was with me the whole time. My father, Danny Kyte, enlightened me to a lot of things later in life, even though he wasn’t there for me initially. The relationships I have with my parents today are great and that is only because of God. I love both of them very much and we have come a long way. Currently, I make sure my children are not subjected to the same things that I was as a child, so I take them to different events and we go play kick ball and do other activities together” said Kyte.
“We have to make it alright to love each and love ourselves because a lot of people in the neighborhood are making it alright to hate each other and that is not the way to live. I don’t want to see my son on the corner in a body bag. I am doing preventative actions to steer them in the right direction. If we do something now to make our neighborhoods a better place, then the kids in the community will not grow up to be gangsters and prostitutes. Some people may see me as an activist in the community and they may be right because that is where I’m headed. If I was to die right now, it would be for the greater good of the community and black empowerment. Everything that is happening to me is from the grace and mercy of God” said Kyte.
Along with Ike Wear 36 Clothing Line and being a community activist with youth and adults, Kyte is also involved in the music industry. He is creating a mixed tape for the community from a Hip Hop perspective and it’s generating a huge buzz. This is another way for Kyte to be involved in the community and bring the children together.
“I’m involved in a lot of arenas right now because there is so much to do in life. I have a mix taped coming out soon featuring different artist. I’ll admit that I’m not content with a lot of the music that is out right now. Creating this mix tape is a difficult situation for me because I’m against a lot of the lyrics that some of the rappers spit on the mic, but I still give them a platform because we are all on our grind and I don’t knock anyone grind. My whole idea with the hip hop culture is take something bad and make it good. If you generate money from your music, it is great a thing to give back to the community. Even though I like gospel more a lot because it inspires me, I also like some raw hip hop at times. The main reason I like to interact with the hip hop artist is because it gives me a chance to plant seeds and give them something positive to think about. When I’m around the hip hop artist, I tell them how they should become entrepreneurs” said Kyte.
All of things we are doing are a good way to promote market and get the word out about Molly’s World Boutique. If you are interesting in becoming an entrepreneur, I would suggest anyone to do a lot of research. When you have your own, it’s a beautiful thing because you have a lot of freedom. The bottom line is that I’m doing what I’m doing to bring the community together. It is really important for our youth to have love and respect for each other instead of hate” said Kyte.
The Ikewear Store was originally located at 648 Herron Avenue. Now the clothing store is located at 2102 Centre Avenue with a new name. In honor of his younger brother Jamal Kyte aka Bugzy Bandanna aka 3 Card Molly who passed away he renamed the store Molly's World Boutique. Donnie Kyte's business is thriving each and every day. In the midst of COVID-19, Molly's World Boutique started selling masks to keep the community safe, but it also become a fashion statement and BUSINESS IS BOOMING.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
EMAIL: IkeWear36@hotmail.com | firstname.lastname@example.org