SDH224: Following Your Gut and Taking a Chance with Vivian Kaye

SDH224_Vivian Kaye.png

Where do you find support for your business? How do you speak to the customer with your personal brand and not your product? What was the response? How did it affect customer engagement? 

In today’s episode Vivian Kaye shares her insights on those matters and more as she tells us about KinkyCurlyYaki, a textured hair extension company for women of color! In her previous business as a wedding decorator, she said she needed something easier to do with her hair, but she wanted it to look authentic, and protect her hair at the same time. She began wearing wigs and other extensions, and tailoring them to look like her natural hair, and would be stopped by strangers who were in love with her hairstyles. Once they found out she was wearing a protective style, they were eager to buy it. She said that’s when her light bulb went off, and she decided to take on the hair industry herself, and launched in KinkyCurlyYaki in 2012!

She was hesitant to launch a second business at first though because she was so content with her wedding decorating career. But because she was initially trying to solve her own problem, her passion for the hair industry had already been planted. She said she was heavily engaged in forums and Facebook groups and was gaining feedback and knowledge on hair textures, and other aspects of the industry. So when wedding season wound down, she decided to go for it and gave her little side hustle a shot. 

Loaded up with five rubbermaid drawers of inventory in her apartment, and a website, she launched and notified her networks in forums and Facebook. Everyone was quick to support her because she had built such a following and personality through her chat rooms, and she was also one of the first businesses to tap into influencers on Instagram. She said she would ask some of her followers to test her products, and in turn, they would make reaction videos or a post, and she said her customer base grew from digital word-of-mouth. To her surprise, business began to flood in, and in 2016 she made her first million dollars and is now operating out of a 1,500 sq. foot warehouse with a shipment team! 

Stay tuned and hear more about how she learned how to market her business, hire her first staff member, and more about the elevation of Vivian Kaye!

In this episode you will…

  • Know how to market through chat rooms and social media

  • Be able to add a personal touch to your brand to edge out the competition

  • Learn how to figure out your price point and inventory according to a finicky market

  • See how to trust someone else with your business, and hire your first staff member

  • Know where to look for reassurance and guidance

  • Begin to trust your gut more


“What a lot of people fail to realize is that [customers] buy you, they’re not necessarily buying your product. When people ask me for advice now, I just say be yourself because people…want that personal touch, they want that human that had that same problem.” -Vivian Kaye

“At a certain point you just have to trust people, it took a while for me to hire my first person because I had to learn to let it go. I couldn’t grow my business, I couldn’t scale my business if I couldn’t trust anyone.” -Vivian Kaye

“You always think that you’re  alone in this journey, and being an entrepreneur is one of the loneliest things you can do…so I would seek out [entrepreneurs] online and meet up groups…it’s really reassured me that it’s not just me.” -Vivian Kaye

“A lot of people think they don’t know, but you do, but for some reason, you don’t trust yourself…I’m a big follower of listening to your gut…and we as women, we need to hone into to that, because that’s what it’s here for. It’s here to help us through all these decisions, and help us through the self-doubt, because we’re a pretty strong gender…and we need to rely on ourselves to bring ourselves together.” -Vivian Kaye


Vivian Kaye Instagram

KinkyCurlyYaki Instagram

KinkyCurlyYaki Facebook

KinkyCurlyYaki Twitter

Myleik Teele’s Podcast

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson

MotivationAmanda Boleyn