Kaylar Will DGAF About Being Seen As Too Ambitious
Kaylar is only 24 and has one business under her belt, with another on the way. The Illinois native moved to LA to pursue her dreams of creating beauty and fashion brands that catered to women of color, but fitting for women of all races. Check out our interview with her to learn how she did it and tips for women looking to do the same.
What made you start your own cosmetics line?
When I began to notice the difference in the selection of products for women with fair to light complexions vs. the selection for women with medium to deep complexions. There were brands with entire lines of foundations and concealers with none for deeper tones. I’ve always wanted my own business, and since I was so passionate about makeup I decided to combine the two. A professor once told me to find a void in an industry and fill it, so that’s what I plan to do.
When did you become interested in makeup and what made you join the beauty industry?
Since I was little girl I was playing with my mom’s makeup collection. I’ve always been creative, very interested in art, and makeup was a form of art to me. As a little girl, I felt like makeup was paint and my face was a canvas. Toward the end of my high school years I started receiving a lot of attention and compliments about my makeup, and I was encouraged to start doing makeup on others, so I became a MUA.
Are you still a MUA? Why or why not?
No, I’m not. I stopped doing makeup professionally around the time I launched Kaylux Cosmetics because I had a lot going on and it was too much to juggle. I moved to Los Angeles around the same time as well.
Why did you become an entrepreneur and what has been the most challenging thing about that?
Representation is so important. I want little brown girls to look at me and think “I can do that too.” I have a niece who is 10 years old and my sister always tells me how she’s obsessed with me and she wants to be just like me. I want her to grow up and see her aunt as a successful business woman, so that she knows she can do that too. I want her to know she can be whatever she dreams to be. Being an entrepreneur has its challenges because you really have to have a lot of self-motivation. There isn’t a boss over your shoulder making sure you’re doing what you need to do, so it’s easy to slack. It’s also challenging because in the beginning you’re doing everything yourself, you’re wearing 10 different hats and you’re working through the night and you’re forgetting to eat, but if you’re truly passionate about it it’ll be worth it.
How did you grow your social media following and what are some tips for young women looking to grow their social media following?
The best tip I can give is be consistent. You have to stay on people’s minds. Post often, and post quality images. Invest in good cameras and lighting, those things are more important than you may think. Engage in conversation online, sometimes you’ll be networking and not even know it, you never know who works where or who knows who. And carry yourself well online, I really try not to engage in anything negative online because people won’t forget it, trust me.
Did you start off having a big social media following or did that come with the success of your business?
I started off with a big social media following, which I believe is why my business has been a success.
For young women starting out, what type of lighting/ camera do you suggest for beginners?
I was fortunate enough to have people around me who really believed in me, so my lighting equipment and cameras were gifts. I suggest getting your lighting from Cowboy Studios, which is a really affordable online website that has tons of lighting and camera equipment. They are a little expensive, but I really recommended a Canon or Sony camera. Sony cameras are my favorite for pictures (I have the sony a5100). Canon is my favorite for videos (I have a canon t5i) since I also film beauty tutorials on YouTube. Save up, and get a quality camera. You’ll eventually make the money back with the sponsorships and opportunities you’ll receive from producing quality pictures and videos. Trust me.
What do you pride yourself on as a business owner and what are some mistakes you’ve made thus far?
I pride myself in being a business owner who truly cares about satisfying my customers. To me, customer service isn’t something, it’s the only thing. Especially when you have a business like mine, that’s pretty much alive because of social media. If my business gets a bad reputation online because of how I treat my customers, my business will fail. I think a mistake that many business owners make, especially in the beginning, is not being as organized as they should be. Being unorganized will cost you a lot of money, and could ultimately cost you your business.
For anyone looking to start their own business, what are some tips you have for them?
I think it’s really important to understand how to run a business. Take classes, read books. Start writing a business plan, especially if you plan on getting a business loan. Remember it’s not a race, quality always comes first. It took me years before I was mentally and financially stable enough for work for myself.
Once you started your business, how long did it take for you to make a profit from it?
I made a profit immediately. Before I could get on Twitter and Instagram and announce my website was live, I was getting sales. Having a big following and people anxious to support you is such a blessing, but don’t be discouraged if you’re starting off smaller.
What or who motivates you to never give up or settle?
My niece and my dad. I’ve always wanted to make my dad proud. I was pretty rebellious as a teenager, I’d work a job for two months and quit just because I didn’t care to work anymore. I’m a college dropout. I moved to New York out of nowhere, with hardly any money and against my dad’s wishes. I’ve done a lot of things that I feel like made my dad very disappointed in me, whether he said it or not. When I talked to my dad about launching my cosmetics line, he was so proud of me and that’s something I hadn’t felt from him in so long. I don’t want my dad to feel like he didn’t do a good job as a parent, and I don’t want my niece to see my quit and think it’s okay to fail.
For young women who want to just “pick up and move” somewhere new, what advice do you have for them?
Don’t “just pick up and move,” life isn’t that easy. Plan your move, save money, visit the city you want to move to, do it the right away. I was able to make it work for me but, barely. I struggled financially for almost a year and a half, and it wasn’t fun. I could’ve avoided that if I had done things the right way.
Where would you like to see your business in the next few years?
I want a full line of products– foundation, concealer, blush, everything. I want to be in a few stores. I really want to be in Ricky’s NYC, and of course one day Sephora, ULTA, etc. I want to participate in trade shows, I want my brand to exist outside of social media and I want to be a recognized beauty brand.
What’s an interesting fact about you that your supporters may not know?
That I’m a designer also, and in a few months I’ll be launching a clothing boutique as well.
Why did you decide to start your clothing line and what type of line will it be?
Well I actually wanted a clothing line before wanting a cosmetics line. I would be in middle school/high school, sketching wedding gowns and dresses. I also really wanted to design swimwear. When I got into makeup, I feel like I almost had to choose what I liked more. I felt like I couldn’t be a makeup artist and a clothing designer. I was almost afraid of being seen as too ambitious. Now I’m mentally in a different space and I know I can do whatever I want, and I’m going to do just that. I am passionate about both, and if I find myself interested in something else I’ll do that too. I say as long as your heart is in it, do it.
Will your line carry plus sizes right away or further down the line? Why or why not?
If it’s my decision, it’ll be right away. When my boutique launches I’ll have exclusive pieces that I’ve designed and wholesale pieces. This will just help the startup be less expensive. So hopefully the wholesale vendors I work with will carry plus sizes. Eventually, hopefully in a year or two, I’ll be the designer of everything my boutique carries, and I will make sure to include bigger sizes. I created Kaylux Cosmetics so that everywoman, whatever color, can feel included, so I want my boutique to be for every woman of any size as well.