As the founder and CEO of fashion brand Rook and King, Jeremiah Allen understands the power a simple accessory can hold—especially one with a handmade touch. Through Rook and King’s handcrafted lapel pins, Allen has not only brought a unique accessory to Charlotte locals, but has also made a name for himself as an artisan along the way.
“In my opinion, the details are everything,” notes Allen. “They’re one of the essential things that define anyone’s style.”
As a Charlotte local himself, Allen has been immersed in the city’s fashion scene for years. When he found himself craving a versatile piece that showcased strong details, Allen set his sights on lapel pins. He couldn’t find any that captured a unique look, Allen began handcrafting his own. By drawing inspiration from history, culture and even performance artists, he began to create pieces that were truly one-of-a-kind.
Now, 5 years in to his business, we’re catching up on what he’s learned, what’s next, and what advice he has for us all.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned through the years of business ownership?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is, the path in business isn’t a straight one. It has a great deal of twists and turns, and it’s important to remember to just keep moving forward. Times get dark, but the blessing you need may be right around one of these tight bends on the path, but we won’t know if we give up. I’ve also learned, the value of giving more of myself to the people that have joined my community. In addition to releasing more complex designs, people seem to gravitate towards Rook & King because they want to actually hear from me more often.
Biggest challenges you’ve encountered?
Taking things to the next level is a life goal of mine. Entrepreneurship is an evolutionary journey in life, I hadn’t exactly planned on embarking on, so I’m learning as I go. When I envision where I desire Rook & King going, I see more big brand partnerships. The goal is to have the name on other things like clothing, homeward, etc. Getting there is a riddle I’m still working on solving. In the meantime, my aim is to lead with love and remain organic. I believe people can feel the authenticity in what I do.
What style of pin is your own personal favorite?
Lately I’ve been exploring pins built from themes rather than a single stunning focal point. For example, Guns & Roses references and is intended to actually celebrate the duality we all have as human beings. Often I feel, we’re forced to hide in plain sight, which gives off the impression of being a monolith. The thing is, when you really provide a person a space safe to be who they are, often all of these vibrant wonderful layers are revealed.
For someone who has never worn a pin or isnt familiar, what should they know?
In my opinion the pin should be statement. It should be an intimate reflection of your personality, rather than a mere decoration. My goal is to provide you jaw dropping pieces that draw others in and start conversations.
Are there any shifts or changes happening for you?
I did a Kimpton Hotel location in Atlanta, which makes 3 total between Palm Springs and here in Charlotte. That relationship has continued to provide me the opportunity to stretch in ways I didn’t even know would benefit me. People that have followed Rook & King, know it all started as a way to cope with depression, but it has since become such a joy filled community that I am deeply proud of.
When did you make your first pin? Did you sell it to anyone or keep it?
I made my first set of pins in the middle of winter, almost 5 years ago. I had been up late. It was after midnight, and I was at my dining table. I was tired and thinking, I’d just get started and would then finish later, but once I got into it, I just couldn’t pull away. I ended up with about 6 very simple pieces that really filled my spirit up upon completion. At that point, I knew I had stumbled into a part of my purpose. I still have 2 of them in their original states. The others were broken down and revised as my skillset grew.
What’s next? Anything we should know?
The celebrity support has continued to slowly grow, which is always fun to see. Actor Sterling K Brown, soul singer Anthony Hamilton, former NBA player now analyst Richard Jefferson, Cam Newton, etc have at least one of my designs. I would love to see one of my pieces worn on a TV show or movie. That would be super cool. My prayer is for my pins to open up much bigger opportunities for design and collaborations. I feel in my heart, that I’m here to positively impact the world, and I’m eternally grateful for the people that continue to support and believe in me, which most definitely includes QC Exclusive.
Where can people find you, and where can they shop?
People can find me on Instagram @rookandking and view my online shop at rookandking.com