The Re-Sole owner Takiyah "TDUB" Ward


Meet Takiyah Ward, owner of The Re-Sole 206 in the Central District.

For over 20 years, Takiyah “TDUB” Ward has honed her skills in custom sneaker design and care. With an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for sneakers, and a calling to make the things we love last, she turned her side hustle into a full service sneaker design and dry cleaning service: The Re-Sole. Whether your special pair needs a quick refresh or some serious TLC, Takiyah and her team will get your sneakers looking fresh and clean. 


Learn more about Takiyah and The Re-Sole in this week’s Small Business Spotlight Q&A!


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


What got you into sneaker culture?

I’ve always been interested in sneakers and basketball from a very young age. I took up basketball, and of course there’s Michael Jordan, there’s Iverson, there’s all these players with these really cool shoes. So I’ve always really been into sneakers. And you know, my mom being a single parent, she wasn’t always gonna be able to buy me every shoe that came out.

And so she always told us, “you gotta set them out for the year and you better make sure you take care of them.” So that’s where the care aspect comes in for me when it comes to shoes.


How did you get into custom designing?

I’ve always been a creative, an artist, throughout my childhood, and I stumbled upon sneaker customizing while working on a class project in my bedroom. I dropped some paint on a pair of shoes, and that was the sort of moment that kind of sparked that creativity for me. So from there, I just started digging. I was going on the internet trying to find anything I could about sneaker customizing, about painting shoes.

From there, I was trying projects on my own at home and failing, and everything was cracking and falling apart. But I just kept at it, and it became a passion for me. It was a hobby at first. And when I went to high school, I started offering it to my friends, just little projects here and there, and for dances and school events.

I always had my little chunk of change in my pocket from it, so I think that bolstered the entrepreneurial side of my customizing journey. And so that’s what I did throughout my whole childhood.

the resole takiyah panting

Photo Credit: The Re-Sole


How did the vision for the business come to be?

I went to college and tried to have a plan A, didn’t work out. So I came home, was working nine to fives and just really not feeling creative, not enjoying life. When I got to the point of starting my entrepreneurial journey, I knew I wanted to do something that A, I loved, and B, that I could give back to my community. So I took a leap of faith in 2016 and decided to start a business out of my customizing hobby, which I named TDUB Customs. I would offer the service of hand painting or customizing people’s shirts, jeans, hats, jackets, you name it, and I would paint it. And the word spread like wildfire throughout the city and I became known as the customizer, basically.

Fast forward to 2020, I got an opportunity through Midtown Square to open my first brick-and-mortar. I knew that I couldn’t build a business off of just customizing shoes, so that is when I added the cleaning and the restoration services, and how The Re-Sole was born.

With every shoe comes a different challenge, so it’s really been fun for me. I love a challenge.

Takiyah Ward with Geno Smith

Owner Takiyah Ward delivering a custom pair of cleats to Seahawks QB Geno Smith. Photo Credit: Converge Media


What’s the response been from the community so far?

We’ve been open only five months and the response from the community has been incredible. I promise you, every day a new customer, a new shoe that I’ve never seen before. People are pulling some things out the woodwork and it’s really been a joy to kind of see and experience and experiment with all these different types of shoes, new and old.

I’ve seen stuff from as early as 2002 all the way up to now. And so with every shoe comes a different challenge, so it’s really been fun for me. I love a challenge. I love what I do and I love that we can offer this service to the community and that people are really enjoying it. They’re enjoying the space.

We have areas here for people to come and hang out and talk shop and learn from us as well. And so to have the space to be able to offer it in this way has really just been such a joy for me. And I look forward to meeting new people and seeing new sneakers as we’re here in the Central District.

It’s more than just sneakers here at the Re-Sole. It’s really about people, it’s really about connecting with our customers and connecting with our community.


What’s a stand-out customer or sneaker memory from your business so far?

One of my most memorable stories was maybe a couple months in, I had a gentleman bring in a pair of Jordan 12s that were pretty beat. And I was at a point where I was being a bit more discerning about what I was taking in, and what I wasn’t. And so I was leaning more towards, “There might not be much we can do with these shoes. You know, they’ve got this happening, and this wear here that’s just not repairable. I’m really sorry. I don’t think there’s anything we can do.”

And he was just like, “Man, these are the only shoes that I brought with me to Seattle from Hurricane Katrina.”

Hearing that story, and knowing the impact of that event, I was like, “Throw everything I said away, we are definitely going to get these shoes serviced for you.” So to me, that is a great example of how sneakers are more than just shoes.

There’s so many people who have connections, who have memories, who have accomplishments, who have downfalls, or whatever the case may be, attached to a material item. And I think that’s also why it’s important for us to really look at what care means for the things that we own. And that’s why The Re-Sole exists, because I also connect very deeply to a lot of the shoes that I own.

Whenever I have an accomplishment, I might go buy a new pair of sneakers, and that becomes the marker for that great thing. So it’s more than just sneakers here at the Re-Sole. It’s really about people, it’s really about connecting with our customers and connecting with our community.

Custom shoes from re-sole

Photo Credit: The Re-Sole


How does sustainability play a mission in your business?

So sustainability is a huge proponent of what we do here at The Re-Sole. The reason why we actually decided to open a dry cleaner for sneakers was to have that environmental impact on what we’re seeing from the textile industry, what we’re seeing from fast fashion, and how they can impact our environment. We knew we wanted to be a catalyst for something different.

I also wanna show people why it’s important to care for the things that you buy and why it’s important for those things that you buy to have a longer life, and figure out ways to add life to the things that we own and not just be so flippant about throwing things away. And so that’s why The Re-Sole is here.

We also take extra care in using materials and products that are environmentally friendly. So a lot of the cleaners that we use here are made of organic materials, and we try to be very particular about our water usage here, which is why we do dry cleaning as opposed to wet cleaning. We’re always thinking about those things with our business and how to integrate them as the footwear industry changes and grows.

the resole scrubbing shoes

Photo Credit: The Re-Sole


What’s your favorite pair of sneakers, if you had to choose one?

So currently, these will probably be my favorite shoes that I own. And the reason they are my favorite shoes is because I made them by hand. I went to a custom sneaker workshop last March in New York, and spent four days in a sneaker studio with like-minded individuals learning the finer points of making sneakers. And so this is the final product. These are the Midnight Marauders. They are my babies, and they are the most comfortable Jordan 1s anybody has ever owned. If you know anything about Jordan 1s, you know they’re not super great.

But I made these, obviously purple and white, representing the Garfield High School colorway. And I’m very much looking forward to bringing this service to The Re-Sole very soon.

But yeah, I just love the colorway, I love the materials, and I love that I had that experience. I’ve never had an experience learning customizing in a classroom setting. Everything that I learned up until this point was self-taught. So this was the first time I got to be in a room with folks who also loved sneakers as much as I do. And it was just a super, super great experience. So this is something that I’ll always cherish.

The Re-Sole owner Takiyah "TDUB" Ward

Takiyah’s favorite pair of sneakers, the Midnight Marauders, which she designed in New York.


What are you most excited about in your business, moving forward?

I’m really looking forward to more people finding out about the shop and what we have going on here, from the workshops, to the events, to the how to’s and the DIY classes that we have going on. I’m definitely looking forward to connecting with more of our professional athletes, like the Seattle Storm, the Seahawks. I’ve done a couple Seahawks player’s sneakers and cleats already, but definitely come holler at me if you need any customizing services. And yeah, just more people. It don’t matter who you are, or what you do, if you love sneakers, prove it at The Re-Sole.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with The Re-Sole! Check back next Tuesday for another Business Spotlight and check out our past interview spotlights, here. 

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