Entering the Kloset..
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
Welcome to My Kloset! This post serves to tell you all about my why. Why did I start my business? What compelled me to do so? What battles did I, and do i still face? Why is this brand so important to me? What does it mean?
These are essential questions one should ask themselves when thinking about starting your business. These (and a few others) make up your "why." Your why is the story you tell behind you brand, what attached others to it and helps it come alive. So without further ado, lets enter My Kloset!
The Environment: Why I decided to create my own business and become an entrepreneur.
I actually started selling tutus back in 2015 (that was the very first thing sold, and they're just so fun to make!) So naturally, they were the first product I started with when I started my business. Now, I didn't have a business back then, but I knew I could make a profit from them, so I did. I was 19 at the time. I am now 23, and have subsections of my business:
Kloset by Kenya (Brand) ---->
HEaR (Subsection & Top Seller - Clothing & Accessories) ---->
Kkollection (Subsections - Women's Accessories)
I started Kloset by Kenya officially in February of 2019. It has since been four months, and it has been quite the ride. I'm learning a lot and don't feel as much support as I thought I would, but that only motivates me to go harder; to put in the work, and to inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs.
At the time I started though, I wasn't super inspired. As a matter of fact, I wasn't inspired at all. I was going through the toughest time in my life: I was a teacher, dealing with depression, far from home and no longer wanting to be where God led me. I felt a great lack of creativity and productivity. I was in the midst of moving apartments and it was tough because it was the middle of the year. Not only that, but moving is hard in general. To top it off, I wasn't in the best situation professionally, but I was grateful to be employed.
I started Kloset by Kenya with only my line of tutus in February 2019. One sale. By March 2019, I had 10x the number of products I had the month prior. It took hard work + dedication (shoutout to Nipsey Hussle, R.I.L.) I started working on projects everyday after work. Different designs, hiring someone to create a logo, reaching out to graphic designers, etc.
A friend at the time helped me come up with "HEaR," which is sort of a "Read between the lines" play on words. Pronounced "Hear Her" (Hence, why everything but the "a" is capitalized, and can easily be interchangeable with an ear because of both the shape and meaning). Hear her. Listen to her. Seek to understand her. It was dope in my eyes, so I brought it to fruition. It didn't take me long to come up with either -- it was destined (PURPOSE).
So, long story short: we all know God works in mysterious ways. I was at the lowest point in my life, mentally, and God took that and created something greater within me. He is the one who blesses me and I am beyond amazed to see where he takes me and my brand the rest of 2019!
Below, I'll give you some insight about how my brand came about. This is specifically about Kloset by Kenya. "HEaR" and "Kkollection" will be coming soon (as you can see, this is quite a dense read, as the others will be too). So be on the look out, and happy reading!
This is what I'm referring to as what you're going to name your brand. As you know, you have to first arrive at the apartment complex (or the foundation/title), which is the purpose for the name given on this section.
How I came up with Kloset by Kenya. Despite my brand including my name, I had no idea where I wanted to start with a name. I constantly heard people telling me "Well, you gotta have a name to create your brand." True. But my brand name came to me after the name of my brand underneath my business name - "HEaR." Don't worry, I'll discuss that too.
Anywhoo, Kloset by Kenya just came to me one day, and it stuck. I was trying to figure out how, but it didn't come until I started to get my brand up and running that I figured out why--purpose.
I knew that "Kloset" had to be spelled with a "K," since it not only had a ring to it, but it was also unique. I thought of names such as "Kenya's Kloset" as well, but if you know me, you know that one was a bit TOOOO basic. So, Kloset by Kenya it was, and it stuck!
Welcome to the home of "Kloset by Kenya" Here, we're talking , slogans, brand colors and values. So let's jump right in! The slogan for my brand is "Bold. Blatant. Beautiful." It started with me wanting to have "Black" represented in there somehow, but that didn't exactly work out.
I knew I wanted to have the word "Beautiful" in there because it embodies how I want women to feel when they wear my brand. Whether it be the "Her voice is POWER." tee, a tutu or a head wrap, I want women to feel like their best selves.
Bold. As a youngin', I used to be so afraid of walking into spaces. I'm quite punctual, but being in predominantly white spaces for the majority of my life only added to that fear. Another element of this fear was the simple fact that I was very shy; an introvert if you will. Overtime, I have shaken that shell and become who I really am: a Bold. Black. Woman. I mean this both physically and literally. In the physical sense, people know that I am important when I enter a space. How? Why? Because I know it. My confidence shows it and I believe it. Your demeanor and how you enter spaces is seen and watched by people, everywhere, everyday. To give you an example, think about why it's important to dress your best for job interviews: from your hair down to your feet. Would the conversation be different if you hadn't put any thought into it, and came in beach clothes? Appearance matters. How you show up matters. In addition, when women wear my brand, I want them to feel this -- I want them to feel as if they're the most powerful woman in the room. Not because they're wearing my brand (though that would be more than amazing!) but because their voice matters, they have power and they are more than capable of accomplishing whatever may be on their plate. Now, the literal sense. I haven't always been bold. It took some years of pressure, hurt, heartache and headache -- and I'm still not all the way there. I am bold in the sense that I call to action the disruption of mistreatment of women all over the world. A wise man once said:
"The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” - Malcolm X
I believe this to be true. We see it in the workforce with low pay, with hair, with speech and how they deem us as always having attitudes when we are simply conversing. We see it in households with abuse. We see it in body shaming. We see in in conversation with degradation. We see it just about everyday and everywhere, and IT MUST STOP. I intend to use my voice to work to dismantle the system of oppression against underrepresented women -- especially Black women (though the spectrum is much wider than that).
Blatant. This is the one that came last -- for a couple reasons. The first is that I wasn't sure how it would come off. This was quickly resolved by the fact that it's my brand, and I choose how I am going to use and/or reclaim this word.
Definition of Blatant: /ˈblātnt/adjective (of bad behavior) done openly and unashamedly.
Now, I'm a rebel of sorts. Partly because I owe it to myself. I've spent so many years being quiet AND being silenced, that I had to come to terms with my voice being an essence of power. Just as people say they are "Unapologetically Black," My brand is unapologetically blatant.
I was once asked the question: "What if a guy sees your shirt (CAUTION: Angry Black Woman Tee - $25 on klosetbykenya.com) and takes it the wrong way?" Short answer: Oh well. However, if they were open to discussion, I would explain the meaning behind it. You see, the guy who wants to understand will ask questions, not run away. Based on the same shirt, another guy asked "Is your shirt sarcasm?"
"Yes," I answered.
It can be open to interpretation, but I am also a pretty sarcastic person. Essentially, the CAUTION tee is a reclamation of Black women being thought of as angry for simply speaking up for what it is they believe in.
And lastly, the periods behind the words. Yes, these have meaning too. A graphic designer was applying my design to some clothing once, and forgot them. I fasho asked her to add them, as they are essential to my brand. Small but big. The periods are a symbol of statements.
Read this: "Bold Blatant Beautiful"
Now read this: "Bold, Blatant, Beautiful"
Read my slogan: "Bold. Blatant. Beautiful."
You should get a different read for all three. If you didn't, study the foundations of the English language a little longer (lol). But forreal y'all, punctuation is key.
To close on this section, I'd like to end with a quote:
"Well behaved women seldom make history" - (I'll put unknown here because it's said that Eleanor Roosevelt came up with it, but I question everything nowadays).
So, go out and be Bold. Blatant. Beautiful. (It would be different if it had an exclamation point at the end, you see?)
The Kloset is simply a safe place for your experiences, what you're going through, what you've gone through, what you put on, what you take off and what you bottle up inside. The Kloset is where a lot of fear is kept, and I encourage you to come out of that if that's what you're keeping inside. We often get so comfortable in our everyday lives, that we forget to elevate, to grow, to change and to contribute. Move. Refuse to be stagnant. Use your voice as your best asset, and follow it with action. Remember, once you step out of that closet, out of that apartment, and off of that complex, there is a whole world out there for you. LIVE!
Accent Colors: White, Gold
In all honesty, I'm indecisive and I really couldn't decide what I wanted my brand colors to be. I knew I wanted one of them to be Black (cause I'm Black, duh). But certain colors pair well with certain colors, ya feel me?
Anywhoo, I chose red and black not only because of the boldness, but because of the meaning as well. White and gold are accent colors because I love them just as much, but it wasn't a good fit for my brand as the main colors. Also, these colors are incorporated into my website. [Disclaimer: I'm not going to touch on White and Gold because they are secondary colors].
When I walk into a room, people instantly know that I'm Black and that I'm a woman. Now, if I add those elements of my identity with a red outfit, people are attracted my way, and they know I mean business. This is a little on the softer side of my selection for business colors. Now let's get into the nitty gritty.
Meaning of the color Red: Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, power, strength determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. (This is taken from Google, but it works for what I'm about to explain).
I could've bolded the whole definition, but I wasn't trying to do that. Anywhoo, the few words I want to touch on are: Power, Strength, and Emotionally Intense.
Power: As many of you know, I have a sub-section of my brand called "HEaR - Her voice is POWER." Though this, I want women to know that they have the power to use their voices in spaces that are created to silence them. That there is power instilled in them, not only because of their voices, but in their entire being. In order to access it, you MUST believe it.
Strength: Women are backbones. We built up society, kept it built and are doing our best to keep it from falling apart. We have always been a part of these movements; our voices have just been erased from them. I'm sure you've heard the saying "Ain't nothin' like a mother's love." It's true. Mother's and women in general can and will love you like no other. Women are strong. We go through things that most men wouldn't be able to handle (menstruation, pregnancy, etc.). So ladies, if you're reading this, know that you have strength and own it.
Emotionally Intense: This describes me perfectly. I am fiery, passionate and calm all in one. I'm mad emotional, and sometimes intense. The quote that captures the essence of this statement is by Erykah Badu (a Black woman, YAYYY!!!): "I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my s*%!" (Tryna keep this G-Rated, ya feel?) But yes, I am emotionally intense, and so are my products. It'll definitely strike up a few looks or even conversations. All you need to know is this patriarchal society we live in IS GOING TO be disrupted by Black women facing oppression due to white men's intentions.
Meaning of the 'color' Black: Black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation of hue. The black 'color' is the absence of color. Black is a mysterious color that is typically associated with the unknown or the negative. The 'color' black represents strength, seriousness, power, and authority.
Well there you have it folks..... (There should really be a mic drop here).
Alright, the words and phrases I'm going to touch on are bolded, so let's jump right in.
"Black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation of hue." Y'ALL HEARD THAT?! If there was no black, NO OTHER COLOR WOULD EXIST! If there were no Black people NO OTHER PEOPLE WOULD EXIST! Y'all see where I'm going with this? Black is the foundation. It's the supreme basis from which all other colors are formed. Black is rich. It is beautiful and it is exceptional.
Seriousness: If you ain't know, now ya know. But on the real, I'm a somewhat serious person (at least that's what my faces shows). I'm actually really goofy and laid-back, but I'm serious about my brand. The 'color' Black drives that for me, it's the epitome.
Authority: In my opinion, authority and power go hand-in-hand. Head-Hancho. In charge. When Black shows up, IT'S OVAWIT! Black is a leader, it's a blueprint, and there will never be any other color like it.
So there you have it folks, the meaning of the colors behind my brand!
I wanted my brand to embody three key values -- so here they are:
- Empower Women
I'm not going to go into too much detail because if you've read this far, you kinda have a sense of why. However, if you are still curious, shoot me a comment below or email me!