How Vivian Kaye earned her first million with KinkyCurlyYaki
Mar 19, 2019
Vivian Kaye noticed early on that black women in Canada weren’t being served in the hair-extensions industry. Conventional wigs and weaves didn’t embrace textured hair, until Vivian developed KinkyCurlyYaki, her best selling brand of premium hair extensions.
She has single-handedly built the company to over $1-million in revenue, and is a business coach to other e-commerce companies. We chat with the vivacious Vivian Kaye, the founder and CEO of KinkyCurlyYaki about her passion for business, and her secret sauce for success.
Q1: Vivian, how did the idea of a hair extensions brand come to you?
I was running my first business, Vivian’s Decor, and I wanted my hair to look ‘presentable’ in meetings. But there was nothing in the beauty supply stores that looked authentic on me or suited my busy lifestyle.
I wanted it to look like it grew out of my head. But most hair extensions are in silkier textures, and don’t blend with kinky or curly hair. That’s when I had a lightbulb moment. I realized, there’s an entire market of black women who would buy kinky textured hair. And that’s how KinkyCurlyYaki was born.
Q2: What were your hopes for KinkyCurlyYaki when you launched it in 2012?
I didn’t start the business because I wanted to make money. I started it because I had a passion for solving my problem. And then I thought, if I could solve my own, then I can help other women too.
The business took off immediately after I launched, because there was nobody else back then selling kinky textures. In the first year, I had made about just under half a million. I hit the ground running. I didn’t realize that the market was that hungry. Today, this is a seven-figure business that I built from the ground up.
Q3: You worked solo on KinkyCurlyYaki for many years. What did you learn from that experience?
You need systems and processes! When I hired my first employee in June of 2016, I had to offload everything in my head. And that was really tough. I tell everyone who is starting a business to document everything, so that when you do scale, it’s all written down.
Q4: Along with two successful businesses under your belt, you’re also a business coach for other entrepreneurs. What do you advise them?
I don’t have a college education or industry experience. I grew this business from nothing, and I figured it all out as I was going along. This is not a sprint. Running a sustainable business is a marathon. Take small steps for big results. Also, work on something you are passionate about. I found success twice focusing on my passions.
Q5: You’ve used Ownr to incorporate your consulting business. How would you describe that experience?
I saw an ad for Ownr on the web, and I wondered, was this even available in Canada? I click on it to discover, ‘Oh! This is a Canadian service!’. I’d been through the government process previously, but Ownr made it super easy. I was really surprised at how simple it was. I remember thinking, ‘This can’t be real. Oh, but it is!’
Q6: How conscious are you of being a female entrepreneur?
I wear that badge with pride. There’s a very small group of female entrepreneurs in Canada, and this number is even smaller for women of colour. And that’s one of the reasons why I started my coaching business. It doesn’t matter what your race, background or gender is. Or who you identify with. You too can be successful.
Ownr’s here to help you start your business today! If you have questions about how Ownr can help you register or incorporate a business, or any of our promotions, give our customer success team a call at 1-800-766-6302. We’re available Monday through Friday 9am-5pm EST.
Alternatively, you can book a free 30-min session to ask all your questions 1:1 with a member of our customer success team. Schedule a session here.
If you’d rather email us, no problem you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to start your business? Ownr has helped over 40,000+ entrepreneurs hit the ground running quickly—and affordably. If you have questions about how to register or incorporate your business, email us at email@example.com.
This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.