Mom On The Move: Vivian Kaye Of Kinky Curly Yaki, Part 2

May 24, 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: What was the beginning of your business like for you?
Vivian: At the time I started I was solo, so I was able to put all effort and 110 percent into it. Like I said, I had already started another business, so I just basically applied the same premise from my other business which was: keep it simple. You have to gear your business towards your audience and what you’re selling so because my product is natural textured hair, girls with natural textured hair aren’t necessarily high-maintenance, so I didn’t want to go for that glamorized, face down up 24/7 type of look and feel. And then in 2013, as the business was really starting to grow, I found out that I was pregnant, so that sort of threw me for a loop. I worked all the way up to the day before I had my son  took a month off, and then started back up again.There’s a photo of mem with him on my chest and I’m at a computer answering questions and everything. So, I was in a service industry before and now I was selling a product so I had to change hats a little bit. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a lot of blogs on just running a business. I did a lot of bootstrapping in the beginning, I made my own logo, I did my own graphics…at the time I wasn’t so hot, but you know what? I did what I had to do with the budget I had.
How has it been balancing motherhood and being an entrepreneur?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s easy. Being a single mom and starting a business has got to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I say this, like, on the brink of tears. It’s not easy but my son makes it worthwhile. I’m blessed to have the support of my parents and my sisters because basically once a month I’m out and traveling for four days out of the week, so they help me take care of him. His father is still around but he lives in another time zone so it’s kinda difficult to coordinate with that, but I mostly rely on my family and without them, my business wouldn’t be where it is.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a business woman?
Well, one of the things I overcame is people inquiring, why would I buy hair that I can already grow out of my head? Or why would anyone want to buy kinky hair? It was a question I had to answer a lot, but no one questions why some chick is wearing 22 inches of Brazilian hair? First of all, just because it’s not silky doesn’t mean it’s not good hair. Another challenge was business growth and scaling; I started in my little apartment with those little plastic cubbies you get at Walmart and now I bought a house and it’s my whole basement. And now I’ve got to get it out of my basement and put it in a warehouse and hire a fulfillment staff and that’s hard. This is my baby, I don’t want to say it’s my first-born, but it’s hard to give it up.
So one of the challenges I’m facing now is that I need to get out of the business so that I can work on the business. Especially as a mom, it’s hard because you want to see your baby every step of the way, make sure it’s ok and do it the way you would want to do it, just like raising your child. But if you want help, you’ve got it let go and let them do it. I have a lot of good problems though, that’s how I know I’m successful.
What do you see next for your company?
We’ve got wigs, we’ve got frontals (closure pieces for sew-ins and wigs). We’re going to France in June to do the natural hair show. We do a lot of international shipping, and those are the next markets we’re going to focus on…we’re also working on a wholesale product for salons who want to sell our product.
What makes your brand stand out from the rest?
I like to say that I’m a pretty down to earth person and I focus on the for-us-by-us motto. I created this because I have a need, so I know that you have a need. You and I are the same, so we speak to you directly. It’s not, ‘oh I’m a fancy girl, with a fancy purse and I have fancy hair.’ Girl, I’m wearing my sweats, I have a few pounds on me and I have a son, I’m basically just like you. So I think our appeal is that we’re very down to earth, but up on the newest technology and we offer a variety of product. Everytime we try to take something out of stock, people are demanding it. Our brand is strong and we try to keep it 100.
Kinky Curly Yaki is not only about looking good and being fly, but it’s about feeling your best and helping everyone. I talk to moms-to-be and they tell me they’re having a baby soon and ask what should they do with their hair. I tell them about my own experiences– I lost a lot of hair in my crown, so now I wear wigs, and I had a lot of breakage and this is my texture now. We appreciate and love the support and we’re getting bigger and better.
Read Part 1 of our interview with Vivian here.

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