I found Shakira on Instagram and the moment I started scrolling through her feed I was so impressed by her designs. Her love for bold colors and prints is clearly shown through her work and I am a fan. I reached out to her to answer a few questions to pick her brain and gain some insight on how she has grown her fashion brand. For those who aspire to become a fashion designer, start your own line or just want to know more about this talented designer, you’ve come to the right place.
1.How did the concept for KiraNacole happen?
Kira Nacole actually started out as Joie De Vivre. I came up with the name back in college because I considered it to be ideal. “The Joy of Life” Fun, funky, vibrant clothing is what I have always been known to create. As the years progressed, I realized that the name Joie de Vivre was a little bit too vague and there were wayyyy too many other businesses out there who used the name. As my design esthetic shifted a bit, I decided that changing the same to a more distinctive name would allow it to stand out among the rest. My clothing business started to become more apart of myself. I would think, “what would I wear” if I had to attend a fashion show or an exhibit so I changed the name to Kira Nacole. Kira is part of my first name Shakira and Nacole is my middle name. Every time someone wears a KiraNacole piece I want them to know that my actual blood sweat and tears have been invested in creating this piece that I truly hope they love.
2. When starting a company, what is one thing you would tell those hoping to start a fashion line to make sure they do?
Make sure that you get into the business because you love the business. A lot of the time people get into fashion design because it may look like easy money….its not. Furthermore, getting into a business solely for monetary purposes will only limit you to understanding what’s really going on and what impact it has on your life. Believe it or not, fashion is apart of EVERYONES life.
3. What is your advice to emerging entrepreneurs about overcoming challenges in business?
Refrain from worry about the competition. Or moreso, stop thinking there is competition. Honestly, starting out I wasn’t really focused on competition. I just wanted to make clothes whether people liked it or not. NOW, after being in the business for a few years I do understand the frustration with tying to keep your business in existence. It can be difficult especially when there are so many other clothing businesses out there. However what I can say is I design what I like and what I know will attract attention…whether it be positive or negative. My first collection was my chance to show the world who I am and what I like and do. People were very receptive of course but trust me when I say I’m more than certain that there were some who turned their heads too.
4. What is a book that changed your life and why?
Girl Boss….written by the founder of Nasty Gal. That book changed my entire mindset because at times I swear I feel like I am the only one going through certain challenges when it comes to this business. That book put so much in perspective for me because this women started this multi billion dollar clothing line from absolutely nothing. She went from selling thrift stores clothes on ebay to employing hundreds of people, building a warehouse for production and making millions on a daily basis. I tell you, we all come to a point when we want to throw in the towel because the work we put forth isn’t bringing the results we want. This book…we change your mindset and allow you to keep on pushing, keep on working and in turn become your own “girl boss.”
5. What is the best business advice you’ve received?
Best advice I was ever given…stay focused. Don’t allow people or things around you to distract you from obtaining your overall goal.
6.What is a financial tip you would give to emerging entrepreneurs that has helped you?
Spend wisely lol. I tell you when I was starting out, I would spend money on fabric like crazy. I just wanted to create. But as time went on I realized that it was necessary to spend money on things that would help me advance. Good equipment, quality fabrics, high end machines. They will ALL be beneficial at the end of the day. Also, spend money where its needed the most, like on making your company a legal entity. You must always protect your brand in every way possible so by taking the proper precautions, we can steer clear of any other businesses trying to sue for whatever reasons they may have.
I hope you took away some good advice, which you can apply to any industry really. You can shop Kiara’s designs here. Let me know what your thoughts and your favorite part of the interview? Anything you learned or you can relate to?