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Retail Learning Laboratory

Retail Development Program

SOKONI is a turnkey, plug-and-play program that helps product entrepreneurs reduce the risks of scaling into retail storefronts & wholesale. 

We create a pipeline of educated, prepared & experienced retail business owners that are ready to launch sustainable businesses within your community.

Our programming combines our SOKONI storefront design +  37 Oaks University courses + 1:1 coaching. This turnkey, plug-and-play storefront laboratory gets the kinks out of entrepreneur's marketing & operations before investing their own time, money & resources into scaling through storefronts & retail. 


To deliver this program, we work with public + private organizations across the country that focus in driving economic development by investing in small business owners. Our turnkey SOKONI storefront design make it easy to fit into vacant storefronts in your commercial corridors.

Candle Store Owner

Small Business Profile

Thrift Shop Worker

The SOKONI Retail Learning Laboratory is designed for entrepreneurs aspiring to grow and diversify through storefronts and/or wholesale.

  • Currently do not have a wholesale or storefront business. 

  • Aspire to grow & diversify through small, medium and large wholesale accounts and/or through storefronts.

  • At least 3 years of business growth through e-commerce and/or pop up markets. 

  • Experience in selling product both online and in physical locations.

  • Committed to significant growth through wholesale and/or storefronts within the next 1-3 years.​

  • Packaged, shelf-stable, consumer goods that can be mass produced.

  • 3 month membership

  • Administrative: Item set up & maintenance

  • Collaborative marketing support 

  • Ecommerce promotion management

  • Customer service

  • Coaching

  • Order & fulfillment management *

  • Product photography *

  • 37 Oaks University Ecommerce + Strategy & Innovation Courses

    • Intro to Ecommerce

    • Intro to Ecommerce Shipping Strategies

    • Intro to Ecommerce Marketing

    • Elective Course


  • SOKONI Storefront Marketplace Manages
    • Staffing & Operations 

    • Merchandising & Design

    • Fixtures & Displays

    • Technology & Software

    • Inventory Management

    • Data & Reporting

    • Collaborative Marketing

    • And More....

* Some limitations apply

Program Outcomes

Sam Hines | Owner, Hines Brines  

"Here at Hines Brines the Winter Artisan Market (SOKONI) has been AMAZING! Our product is in front of so many more people than we could reach on our own, and the marketing collateral developed for us to use has not only saved me time, but money. I’m so honored to be apart of the market and can’t wait until next year. I know it will be bigger and better for my business.

- D. Gallardo  |  Owner, Beauty Brand  

Working with SOKONI was a joy! They was accommodating and creative! I would recommend this for artisans, especially new ones who are looking for inspiration and ideas to move forward with their businesses.

We create a pipeline of educated, prepared & experienced retail business owners within your community.

  • Understand impact of promotions on sales and margin

  • Tested product pricing strategies

  • Defined or narrowed target market

  • Understand visual merchandising & in-store display techniques

  • Learned & applied customer service & sales tactics

  • Experienced staff training, development & management

  • Defined ideal store location &  account profiles for success

  • Learned how to assess product & customer data for growth 

  • Understand retail standard operating practices

  • Anticipate costs & budgets retail growth

  • Planned & optimized product assortment for retail

  • Experienced inventory management

  • Understand necessary marketing practices for growth

  • Experienced omni-channel sales development & management

  • Tested & applied business development tactics

  • And more...

Current Programs

We will be back soon with a fresh group of

SOKONI Retail programs. 

Previous Programs

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Winter Artisan Market
Collaborators: QCDC, BACP, The Coleman Foundation + Navy Pier 
SOKONI Location: Navy Pier (Chicago, IL)

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Collaborators: Village of Matteson, Core Acquisitions + Opportunity Works
SOKONI Location: Matteson, Illinois

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SOKONI Holiday Market
Collaborators: Lighthouse Place Premium Outlet (A Simon Property)
SOKONI Location: Michigan City, IN

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