Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reflecting on this 2017: The Dream World

I listed all that I am thankful for in 2017 in a previous post so I will not be repetitive lol! Instead, I will focus on something else that has made 2017 really significant for me. 2017 is when I entered what I call the dream world. The dream world is the world that I would day-dream and literally dream about throughout my childhood and teenage years. In the dream world, I was successful, popular, beautiful, happy, well-connected, mingling with celebrities, in magazines... you get the picture. The dream world was pretty much the opposite of my reality for the most part. In reality, I was not considered beautiful by my peers (and was even thought of as very ugly by some). In addition, I was dealing with depression and a bullying situation that involved a sociopathic sexual harasser.The dream world was my escape. It did not matter what I dealt with in the real world... I knew that the dream world would inspire me, motivate me, and mend my broken heart. 

Once I turned eighteen, it became evident to many that I was going places and I became more blatantly successful each year. For example, I graduated from Michigan State University in a mere three years, earned my JD at 23 years old, worked for an Ivy League school, traveled to every continent (including Antarctica) before the age of 22, and started my LLM. However, it was not until 2017 that I became unusually successful and joined the dream world.  

In 2017 I started a business. This business led me into the pages of Vogue and on the website of ASOS. In addition, I was also networking, interviewing,  and interacting with people that I admired and looked up to for years. For example, back in university, I was obsessed with Alice Greczyn's hair and style! I thought she had the cutest look! Now, fast-forward to 2017 and I had the pleasure of interviewing her!  

So, as one can see I have entered the dream world has become my real world... so maybe I should stop calling it that!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Muhga Eltigani: NaturAll Club

NaturAll Club hair mask.

Hair products that are made with natural ingredients that are free from harmful chemicals are the best option for everyone’s hair.

However, many hair companies (especially companies targeted toward textured hair) fill their products with mineral oil and other concoctions that make the hair brittle. Also, it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to make your own hair products. That is why I absolutely love NaturAll Club. NaturAll Club is a company that was co-founded by Muhga Eltigani and Sam Roberts. This company is a subscription e-commerce company that offers natural hair products that are marketed towards women of color and customers with curly hair. The products are so rich, thick, and natural that they have to be refrigerated upon arrival! I had the amazing opportunity to interview with YouTuber and a recipient of the  Forbes 30 Under 30  award in Retail and E-commerce for 2017— Eltigani. Enjoy!
Photo of Muhga Eltigani and Sam Roberts, the property of NaturAll Club.
KAY KAY: How would you describe your hair care routine?
Eltigani: My hair routine is simple and consistent. Every two weeks I deep condition with a fresh avocado hair mask and wash my hair. In addition, I dampen and moisturize my hair with various leave-in serums every other day. I believe that the key to great hair care routine is being consistent. Too many people are looking for a quick fix instead of a long-term routine that will keep their hair healthy. 
KAY KAY: How would you describe NaturAll Club?
Eltigani: NaturAll Club is the future of hair care. Instead of waiting for the hair care industry to wake up and understand how these harmful chemicals are seeping into people’s scalps, we are creating a new wave of products. We are the first company to use our manufacturing techniques and innovative technology to bring you a fresh fruit hair care line. Our hair is a part of our body so why not put the same good things we put in our body on our body? That is the mission and reason I decided to start NaturAll Club.
KAY KAY: Your products are so fresh that they need to be refrigerated! Many companies do not go that route. Why did you decide to make your amazing hair products so fresh?
Eltigani: We go the extra mile to hand make products using fresh avocado to ensure that your hair gets the best nutrients. Fresh avocados contain vitamin B, which is essential for hair growth. Fresh avocados also contain vitamin E which helps to repair damage to the scalp that may slow or prevent a person’s hair from growing. Also, when mixed with the right oils, fresh avocados act as a moisturizer for dry, dull or damaged hair!
KAY KAY: What was your background before you opened NaturAll Club?
Eltigani: I was a triple major studying International Relations, Religious Studies, and African Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. My interests stemmed from my interest in learning more about human interactions and what makes us do what we do. While I did not have a traditional business education background, my educational background helped me better understand what customers wanted and needed. Before founding NaturAll Club, I also interned with three startups and one business accelerator. I was hands-on with startups, which prepared me to tackle the many hurdles that come with starting a company.
NaturAll Club
KAY KAY: What made you want to launch NaturAll Club and how did you get started launching NaturAll Club?
Eltigani: I wanted a product that celebrated women’s natural curls. I was frustrated at the current hair product options that left my hair feeling dry, brittle, and unhealthy, so I decided to make a better line. When NaturAll Club was still only an idea, I started a crowdfunding campaign. I was cautiously optimistic we would hit the fundraising goal, but in fact, we surpassed it! It was a surreal moment because for the first time I felt I could truly succeed with the business model I created.
KAY KAY: What was the hardest part about launching NaturAll Club?
Eltigani: The hardest part about launching any venture is mental. You have to shut down that little voice in your head that is telling you that it is too hard. The truth is, it will be hard but if you are passionate enough, working towards what you want is always worth it. As cheesy at sounds, even if it does eventually fail, you gained experience and your next venture will be that much easier.
KAY KAY: Where do you see yourself and NaturAll Club in the next five years?
Eltigani: NaturAll Club is making products unlike anything else on the market. We are scaling up this year and five years from now I see us being a global CPG leader in natural beauty products. Get ready for many new products launching soon! 
KAY KAY: What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
Eltigani: Start now! Do not wait until your product is perfect because there will always be room for more improvement. Think about the time Domino’s Pizza rebranded itself by shedding light on bad feedback regarding its former pizza recipe. Consider the constant influx of new cosmetic products each season or the increased trend of products being labeled organic or non-GMO. The sooner you get your ideas in front of people, the sooner you can receive feedback, keep up with trends, and continue to build your brand.
Eltigani: Being the first black hair product company to make it to the list symbolizes the momentum and influence that black women have. We are constantly overlooked and underserved in the hair care market, so it is incredible and shocking to have NaturAll Club recognized on a national level. It feels surreal and I hope that it opens doors for black-owned companies.
Naturall Club Tonjanika Smith
We would like to thank Muhga Eltigani for taking the time to interview with us! Please CLICK HERE to read my review of the NaturAll Club deep conditioner for damaged hair. Be sure to follow picture_meem on Instagram, @ Picture_meem on Twitter, and @ PictureMeNatural on YouTube. In addition, be sure to follow @ naturallclub on Instagram and @ naturallclub on Twitter.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lots of Love to Metro-Detroit

The beautiful image (that was recently featured in British Vogue) that you see above, took a lot of effort and planning. I want to give credit to several people and businesses (who are all based in Metro-Detroit) who now have their work featured in British Vogue. I have nothing but love for all of these businesses. These businesses helped to make the photo what it is and helped me to achieve my dream!  
·         Makeup and Hair: Stephanie Ford-Umachi
·         Photography: Perfect Touch Productions
·         Lipstick: The Lip Bar

·         Manufacturers of the chokers: Detroit Sewn

The Best Christmas Present Ever

When I say that God is good… I am definitely downplaying how amazing God really is. Let me first put things into context before I spill the real tea.  I legally registered my business at the end of March 2017 and did not have my website complete and up and running until June/July 2017. Then, in October of 2017, I ended up partnering with ASOS Marketplace. Just when I thought things could not get any better… they did. I woke up one morning in November and I opened an email from British Vogue. The email was from one of the executives. The email stated that I was inspirational and that they liked my online presence. The email also stated that British Vogue wanted to feature me in the January 2018 issue. I honestly could not believe it. I ended up having to read the email several times and then do some research to make sure that this was a real email. When I realized that this was real life and that it was legitimate, I felt light-headed. When I went to tell my mother and sister the news they are in shock. When they came out of the shock they became super excited and immediately gave God the glory.

If you are still reading this blog post then you really need to understand where I am coming from. My business is not even up to a year old and I was already being featured in British Vogue. In addition, they were the ones who approached me with the desire to feature me in the issue of Vogue. It is crazy that they came to me and I did not need to send a pitch to them to convince them to feature me in the magazine. Also, I had not had any major press before this. Vogue is the most prestigious fashion magazine and is also one of the most prestigious media sources in the world!Therefore, it was astonishing to me that my first major press coverage would be in British Vogue. 

Stay with me, please. Remember how I told you that British Vogue told me I was inspirational. It made me think… why would they find me inspirational? That is when it occurred to me, that it was most likely because of my social media posts about bullying and even my ME TOO blog post which discuss my past struggles with bullying and how I ended up victorious in the end. I had been led (more like pushed lol) by God to write these posts. Isn’t it funny how when we think that we are helping someone else we end up helping ourselves?!!?? This is why I am so loyal and obsessed with the God that I serve. When God was advising me, he knew all along that what I was doing was leading me to Vogue and beyond lol! God never leads his sheep on any path that is not headed to glory!

Finally, I have to make another point. In college, I remember being super bitter and resentful towards the group of uber-popular students that had bullied me in high school. I remember feeling extreme contempt towards the bully that had sexually harassed me and was a leader in the bullying. I also was angry that I had to be a victim of that foolishness. I would often wonder why I had to suffer from PTSD… it WAS SO NOT FAIR! Then, one day while I was upset and depressed, God spoke to me. He told me that I was meant to go through that situation to be a role model. I was meant to go through that evil to be an example of what God can do and to give a voice to those who experienced bullying (especially give a voice to girls of color who experience bullying etc.). 

I find it ironic that something that I wished could have never happened… helped fulfill one of my wildest dreams. Let me phrase this differently, the people who hurt me were all a part of God’s plan. God used what the devil meant for harm for the glory of his name… don’t you just love when that happens??!!!!?

I understand that I have ranted and raved forever at this point. However, I just have to close with a brief statement. I always told myself that once I was featured in Vogue that I had made it. However, God has recently told me that this is really only the beginning and I have not arrived yet! I give God all the glory! 

This is the January 2018 issue that I am in. I am featured on page 216.

How I Started Kay Kay's World LLC

So, I know that many of you ( about 1.8 million of you to be exact lol)  are new to my blog and came here from seeing me in British Vogue. Well, first of all, I want to say HELLO and THANK YOU for visiting Kay Kay's Way! The story about how I started Kay Kay's World LLC is short, sweet, interesting, and simple. I went to bed one night and had a dream about a dress that everyone was admiring. When I woke up I could not get this image out of my head and I had a strong desire to replicate this dress in the real world. I told my mother about this desire and she said that I should GO FOR IT! So, I had my younger sister draw the dress and I headed to Detroit Sewn to help them sew the dress for me (since I can think up ideas but I am not handy with the sewing machine). 

I started the dress in October 2016 and I finished the dress in March 2017. I then registered Kay Kay's World LLC at the end of March 2017. I named it Kay Kay's World LLC because I don't only own Kay Kay's Fashion but I own Kay Kay's Way. I had a vision of owning and building an empire lol! 

How I Started Kay Kay's Way

So, I know that many of you ( about 1.8 million of you to be exact lol)  are new to my blog and came here from seeing me in British Vogue. Well, first of all, I want to say HELLO and THANK YOU for visiting Kay Kay's Way! The story about how I started Kay Kay's Way is interesting! On a shallow surface level, I started this blog because I wanted to talk about my travels. When I started the blog at age twenty, I had been to every continent (including Antarctica) except for Asia (I eventually made it to Asia in 2014).  However, on a deeper level, I was dealing with PTSD and I NEEDED TO VENT MY FEELINGS. I planned to start off by talking about fashion, travels, and etc. I would then transition easily into deeper topics. That is why I called the blog Kay Kay's Way. It is called Kay Kay's Way because the blog is what I want to talk about. It is not solely a travel blog or solely a fashion blog... it is very eclectic.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

Song of 2017

This is THE SONG OF 2017. When I listen to this song I get so lit.

Alice Greczyn: House of Simpkin

Alice Greczyn

I Love Vintage Fashion!

However, I must admit that finding authentic and affordable vintage fashion can be pretty hard and tedious. Thankfully, House of Simpkin solves this problem for us by offering a wide selection of affordable and authentic vintage fashion from several decades. Alice Greczyn (who starred in the hit Freeform (at the time known as ABC Family) teen drama called The Lying Game) was kind enough to interview with us and discuss several topics ranging from acting to how it feels to work alongside her siblings. Enjoy! 
KAY KAY: How would you describe your style?
Greczyn: My style is all or nothing! When I am running errands or hanging at home with friends, I am usually makeup free in sweatpants or jeans and a tank top. However, when I do dress up, I go for an ultra-femme minimalist style! I do not like to accessorize much if at all when I go out, so I am drawn to pieces that make a statement all on their own. I like my clothing very fitted and well-tailored (finding a good tailor is the best fashion advice I could give) with details that range from sexy to quirky to exquisitely edgy. 
KAY KAY: You modeled before you became a successful actress and you have even studied nursing! I am a recent law school graduate who went into fashion, writing, blogging, and business. I really admire how you also have so many interests and passions. I was wondering when did your love for fashion begin?
Greczyn: I have loved vintage and antique fashion ever since I can remember. Going to the library and checking out books on the evolution of women’s clothing was mesmerizing to me as a kid. The correlation between politics and style fascinated me! Also, I was captivated by the lengths that women went to in the past (and present) to keep up with what seemed like arbitrary standards of what was considered beautiful. As an actress, my dream is to be in a period piece film, ideally in the 1870s to1880s. That is my favorite era in women’s fashion!
Alice Greczyn
KAY KAY: How would you describe House of Simpkin?
Greczyn: House of Simpkin is a vintage fashion store for the girl who likes to indulge her time travel fantasies (they say create what you desire).  I endeavor to offer an inventory that allows our guests to bring a variety of vintage visions to life. The guests will be able to channel a 1950s housewife, a 1980s punk anarchist, and even a Victorian aristocrat! I myself do not like to stick to one style. Even though many vintage sellers recommend that one sticks to a particular era or genre for the best success, I cannot do that because I adore too many different looks! I believe that a look is a feeling (whether that feeling is dreamy Edwardian romance, a 1960s baller swank, or 1940s pinup sexiness) and that is what I hope I am selling.
KAY KAY: I love the name House of Simpkin! What is the origin of the name of the brand?
Greczyn: Thank you! The name House of Simpkin comes from one of my favorite childhood stories, The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter. One of the characters is a cat named Simpkin. The story takes place in 18th century England during Christmas, and I am a sucker for cats and yuletides of olde!
Alice Greczyn Wears Red Coat
KAY KAY: How did you get started launching House of Simpkin and what was the hardest part of starting the brand?
Greczyn: It all happened very quickly! I started House of Simpkin after selling random things on eBay over the years. When I saw one of the vintage items I sold on eBay being sold on Etsy for way more, I was like—I should start selling on Etsy! So, I put a few things up and made my first sale within days. I figured I would list a few more items, and as I kept making more sales, I figured I was doing something right and kept going. I love it! I have always gravitated to self-employment, and with a nerd’s love of historical fashion, I seem to be a good candidate for the hours of research that go into the job. Research is one of the hardest parts. Learning what the name of a particular waistline is or identifying the fabric of an un-labeled dress is time-consuming but very rewarding to my trivia-craving mind. The work I do with House of Simpkin is work that I would do with my free time anyway.
KAY KAY: House of Simpkin is run by you and two of your siblings, Kate, and Teddy. How is it like working with your siblings?
Greczyn: It is great working with my siblings! I do most of the sourcing, writing, modeling, and shipping myself.  Kate is a graphic designer and offers advice on the look of House of Simpkin. She doesn’t love being in from of cameras but she will model when I can coax her into it! Teddy sometimes sources inventory and he has been in the fashion world before selling his own designs. Therefore, his marketing advice and his experience are invaluable to me. I reach out to my siblings for advice all the time and we love doing photo shoots together!
Alice Greczyn red bustier
KAY KAY: What do you love most about acting and running House of Simpkin?
Greczyn: What I love most about acting is the opportunity to be a part of a story that challenges people’s convictions. I love watching shows and films that rattle my preconceived ideas, that cause me to doubt my morals, and compel me to empathize with those I might judge. What I love about running House of Simpkin is the freedom to be my own boss, to indulge in a hobby I have always loved and make a profit at it, and the chance to help fulfill a customer’s dreams of finding the perfect piece that they have been searching for. 
KAY KAY: The fashion world is competitive. The modeling world is competitive and the acting world is competitive as well. You have managed to be successful in all three of these industries. What advice would you give to a high-school student or a college student who would like to enter the fashion industry and/or the entertainment industry?
Greczyn: It is funny because I do not think of myself as a competitive person. However, your statement is correct. Fashion, modeling, and acting are very competitive industries. I think for me the key to fulfillment in these businesses, whether you are “successful” or “still struggling” (which I weave in and out of constantly) is to not take anything personally. Do not take rejection personally and do not take being hired personally. You are not special. You are not unworthy. Either you have what they are looking for or you do not and there is little you can do about it. Always nurture your passions outside of what you hope will get you paid. I think this is very important, otherwise, you may feel too dependent on external factors outside of your control to both pay your rent and bring you joy.
Alice Greczyn red dress
Special thanks to Alice Greczyn for taking the time to interview with us! Be sure to follow @ alicefood on Instagram, @alicefood on Twitter, and @ AliceGreczynOfficialPage on Facebook. In addition, be sure to follow @houseofsimpkin on Instagram and @houseofsimpkin on Pinterest.
Photos – Property of  House of Simpkin