Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Wilford.
Hi Kayla, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In 10th grade, the year 2020, out of nowhere, I came up with the idea of wanting to create an earring business. I wanted to handmade earrings. I told my mother and friends about it and they told me to do it. Here in Baltimore City, we have a program called YouthWork where youth from 14-21 can get summer jobs. Since we were virtual, we just had job coaches and not actual bosses. My job coach’s name was Brian. Brian told us to think of a business idea that has a meaning. I thought that was my moment to create the earring business. My initial idea was to create earrings and have enough attention to reach cancer centers so I can give the patients my earrings to wear. I believed that them wearing my earrings was going to brighten their mood and their life. So, once I got my first check, I went to Micheals the craft store and bought beads, storage for the beads, wire, and tools to make the earrings. I sat down with the beads and attempted to craft what I watched the people do on Youtube do to make the beads stay on the earrings. Whatever they did, I could not do it. For months, I tried everything to make the ends of the wire stick; I tried bending them and I bought dozens of glue even glue for cars. My mother told her aunt, my great-aunt, Nadine, that I needed help making jewelry and she makes jewelry. She taught me how to bend the wire, and she told me what materials to get. She told me about the other jewelry I could make. I basically owe her half of my business.
After I found out that I could make earrings, I tried to see what else I could do. My mother bought stainless steel bangles because if I could not wear fake jewelry why would I sell it? After she bought the bangles, I bought charms. Then, I started making bracelets. My mother’s clients come to our apartment when they get their hair done, so I kept getting customers that way. My mother would always promote my business. Since I made bracelets on a string, I said that it was going to be the same with waist beads but just with a longer string. It takes a long time and it’s a longer process making waist beads than making bracelets.
One day, we, my mother and I, got our hair done in Laurel, Maryland, and our hairstylist told us that she was having a popup shop. A popup shop is an event where different vendors come together and sell their products at the same place. She told us in February of 2021, and the popup shop was on April 10, 2021. February through March I had to make my business legal with the help of my father. At the pop-up shop, everyone was so supportive. Some of my family members came to support me. Men that came with their children and wives even stopped at my table to buy bracelets.
Fast forward to February 2022 It came to me that everyone wears necklaces. I decided to buy chains and charms without knowing how to make them. I figured that it would be as easy as making bangles because you have to use most of the same materials. The process of making necklaces is very tedious; I have to make sure the chain is the right length, the chains can get tangles, and my wrists start to become sore faster making necklaces than bracelets.
My business started because I believed in myself and because I had support from family and friends. Many friends and family have brought jewelry from me, which I appreciate. My business would not be possible without the support from my parents and sister.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road whatsoever. In the beginning, I couldn’t get the end of the wire for the earrings to connect for months. I bought dozens of different types of glues and they were not helping me get the ends to connect. Also, at every popup shop I work, I don’t make much. There are times I go to a popup shop and the most I make is $10. But someone told me that that happens at times. There are times when I don’t make money from my business for months. I need to promote myself more.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
My business has your accessory needs. I make handmade anklets, bracelets, bangles, earrings, necklaces, and waist beads. I make custom jewelry. If the customer wants a specific color, charm, theme, or zodiac sign I will make it for them. The materials I use are stainless silver and elastic string. My prices are very reasonable. I offer delivery and pickup. I am proud that I am almost a full year with my business.
Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I think that the fact my mother really loves her children plays a really big factor in my life and business. She always talks about how her daughters have their own businesses. She always wears her bracelets and tells people that I make jewelry. She has gotten me, customers, from her job, the market, her own customers, and her family. She was at a get-together and was talking about me to the people there and she called me and told me to bring my jewelry bag. I bought my bag and most of the people there bought jewelry.
- Bracelets: $7-15
- Bangles: $12 for 1, 2 for $20
- Anklets: $5-10
- Waist beads: $18-25
- Earrings: $12-20
- Email: Thekaysdynasty@gmail.com
- Instagram: @thekaysdynasty