Mom On The Move: Vivian Kaye Of Kinky Curly Yaki, Part 1

May 23, 2016  |  

Vivian Kinky Curly Yaki

Vivian Kinky Curly Yaki

Mom On The Move is a weekly profile of a mom mover and shaker. Women we admire, who inspire us and who have amazing stories to share, oh and they happen to have kids, too! While we love to talk about celebrity moms and their fabulous lives, we also love (and need) to know about real moms who are out here doing it all, just as fabulously. This week we’re profiling Vivian “Queen of Kank”, the founder and CEO of Kinky Curly Yaki.

Mommynoire: How are you, Vivian?

Vivian: I’m great, I had a hectic morning like you. I just finished a spin class and I’ve been up since 2:00 in the morning. I went to bed too early , the same time as my son. I said “ok, we’re gonna go night night” and then fell asleep too, so that was around 8:30 p.m. And then I woke up at 2:00 am like ok, good morning. And then my son decided he wanted to start minding my business at around 5:30 this morning, so we were making pancakes at 6:00 a.m. and it was a whole thing. So I’ll probably start crashing at around 3:00 p.m. (laughs)

So lets get this interview in before you need a nap! Tell me about Kinky Curly Yaki, and how it got started. Do you have a background in beauty or hair? 

I don’t have any background in hair, I don’t have any background in anything but I guess motivation and ambition. I had a previous company as a wedding event decorator and I needed some hair that looked like me. I needed it to look professional, but not 30 inches of Brazilian hair down my back. I was tired of that whole ‘African in the front and Indian in the back’ thing, so I was looking for something that would work for me and look natural for me. In the course of this, I was going to networking events and people would ask me what my regimen was for my hair and I wouldn’t say specifics but I’d say it’s a wig or it’s a weave, and people would say “Oh my God, I would totally buy that, you should never tell anyone it’s a weave.”

And how long ago was this?

This was 2011. I was still working as a wedding decorator and because it’s a seasonal business, I thought, ok, I will start this up in the winter, just to see what it does.

So basically you found this hair that matched your own and figured out how to install it? What was your initial experience with the hair?

My initial experience was a weave, so I went to the hair dresser I used all the time back when I was relaxing my hair. I would just bring everything to her and she would install it. That was my 4th time going natural and I was like, I’m not doing this relaxer thing anymore, and that’s why I needed to find something that looked like my hair. So I brought this hair to her, she installed it, said it was gorgeous, I was like, thank you and then I put it in a ponytail and left.

Then you knew you were on to something?

From there, at the time, I was the only company that only sold kinky hair, and if other companies sold kinky hair it would be buried under the Malaysian, the Brazilian and the exotic texture du jour. No one else then was selling kinky hair, so I thought I should just go all out and sell just kinky hair and it absolutely took off. At the time, there was only one other company selling kinky hair and even then I was ahead of the game because I had five textures: two curly and three straight and since we’ve added a sixth texture. But man, it blew up. I pretty much had to put my other business to the side and focus solely on this business.

How did you get the word out that you had this great product?

V: I was a hair connoisseur before I started Kinky Curly Yaki, so I’ve always been interested but not necessarily doing hair but just how to be a lazy natural, I guess you could say. There’s this one woman who I e-met and I said, ‘Hey, I see you love big kinky hair and I have some big, kinky hair. How about I send you some and you tell me what you think?’ At the time I really didn’t think she was going to take pictures and post it all over social media and forums. And I was like, ‘Oh wow, oh ok, wow wow wow. So I guess you could say she was my first promoter. She posted photos and everyone love it. It didn’t just take off, it really took off.

KW: And you’re like, oh shoot, let me get rolling…

V: Yes, exactly, let’s clear out some space in my house and do it. That’s pretty much how it started.

Check out part 2 of this interview with Vivian of Kinky Curly Yaki.

Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN