Why an Atlanta-based Black influencer collective swapped their collab house for a studio

The new studio could help energize a cohort of creators that has found success despite serious hurdles.

Black influencers and startup founders alike face systemic barriers to their growth. In the same way that Black founders are

From Los Angeles to Silicon Valley, a trend emerged among social media influencers and startup founders alike: move into a mansion with 10 or so collaborators, work day and night together to build fame and wealth, and hope that your new roommates do their dishes. But across the country in Atlanta, a fast-growing tech hub, a cohort of Black creators reimagined that idea. What if an influencer collective could be truly collaborative, rather than fodder for a depressing Netflix reality show?

A well-known influencer collective, Collab Crew (formerly known as Collab Crib) has had a turbulent few months since TechCrunch met them at VidCon. Founder Keith Dorsey stepped down to focus on his mental health, appointing Robert Dean III (@robiiiworld) to take the lead. Why the name change? Unfortunately, they’re no longer a “crib” — their Atlanta area house was sold, so they couldn’t renew their lease.

Now, Collab Crew is trying to make the most of the situation. Instead of living together outside of Atlanta in Fayetteville, Khamyra Sykes (@queenkhamyra), Chad Epps (@chadio), Kaelyn Kastle (@kaelynkastle), Tracy Billingsley (@traybills) and other collaborators are launching Collab Studio ATL. A few minutes away from downtown Atlanta, Collab Studio ATL describes itself as “a tech-based one-stop shop for content creators, HBCU students and young entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals.”

At just 16 years old, Sykes has already been honored on the Forbes 30 under 30 list alongside fellow Collab Crew members Theo Wisseh and Kastle. But because she’s so young, she didn’t live in the collective’s house. Now, she’s excited to work out of the studio, which is more specifically dedicated to business than a house that doubles as a living space.

“My company Putta Crown On It has the opportunity to have a place to do classes, promotional shoots and more,” Sykes told TechCrunch via email. “I feel like the studio has the potential to be a great place for creators like me to thrive. The productivity at the studio is much better than the house for business and content.”

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