Kikay was founded by two Iovine and Young Academy sophomores, Ysabella Delgado and Quinn Jones, and aims to provide high fashion clothing and accessories at an affordable price.
“Our mission is to create easy to wear, affordable and badass earrings. We basically do that at higher quality.” Delgado says “All our earrings are super lightweight, laser cut, low priced at $18 or less, and are gold and silver plated. Compared to us, our competitors often make products with bad metals, take a long time to ship, and range from around $40-50 in the open market.”
In the last few months, the two students were able to showcase samples to potential clients at concerts and events. After hearing positive feedback, they began a marketing campaign for Kikay on social media by connecting with make up artists and sending free samples to create user generated content for brand interest.
“I think one of the things that made a big difference is having business cards in each of the packages that is sent to customers. On it, we’ve included our logo and our Instagram account.” Delgado says. “Our biggest strength in our business is that we really built a community around our earrings by sending it to a lot of influencers and makeup artists that I’ve been following for years. We also put a lot of work into having good customer service.“
So far, Kikay has been in operation on Shopify since July 2019 as an e-commerce business and grown to over 5000 followers in Instagram with a solid revenue profit margin. The business’ main target market gain of young adults and teens aged 18-25.
“In terms of marketing, we look at the makeup industry. Coming from my background, what we notices is that it’s better to follow the trend of the makeup industry, what’s trending etc.” Delgado says “We’ve befriended a lot of makeup artists, fashion people on Instagram.”
In the past Delgado worked as a makeup artist and photographer and contributes to Kikay by doing a lot of the photography, makeup, modeling, and designing the products In a way that complements the outfit and makeup of the wearer. Meanwhile, Jones is responsible for social media marketing, web design, and outreach to potential clients. This year, they’ve converted their garage into a studio to produce earrings by hand and get them ready for shipping the next morning.
One problem though is manpower
“Right now our biggest obstacle is the fact that it’s just the two of us. We’re at a phrase right now where we’re considering hiring or outsourcing work.” Delgado says. “When we’re looking for a new member of the team, we look for people that are opinionated and possess attention to detail, not only in website and marketing but for the actual production of the earrings.”
The two founders of Kikay credit the Iovine and Young for building a community of friends here at USC and for providing a supportive environment where they can run their business and attend classes to learn skills necessary for their business. These skills include designing a brand, networking with clients, creating company values, launching multimedia campaigns.
“Our goal is to establish ourselves here in USC.” Jones says. “Honestly, the coolest part of the whole business to reading customer messages, complements from strangers and how they perceive the brand to be.”
In the future, Delgado and Jones plan to expand Kikay through partnerships with other artists and influencers also expanding into other accessories like handbags, hair clips, and even being distributed into retail at some point.
“The biggest thing I took away from this experience is not to be afraid of your personality and your ideas. I came from a very traditional all girl school and I felt like never fit into that definition.’ Delgado says “When I started this brand, I had a lot of fears. Despite the big learning curve, I just had to put myself out there.”
“For me, it’s definitely that there’s literally always something to do better. And there’s always more stuff that you can do.” Jones says “If I wanted to, I could be working on this 24 hours to make more, design more.”