Episode 237

Authenticity in Marketing with Vivian Kaye of KinkyCurlyYaki

July 21, 2020

Live from the “Make Time to Shine” Being Boss Conference, Vivian Kaye of KinkyCurlyYaki joins Emily and Kathleen to explore the topics of personal branding and marketing with authenticity. The three of them also talk about finding gaps in the market, battling fraudy feelings, what’s changing in the world of ecommerce, and so much more.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"If you speak to a very specific group of people and you sell them a very specific product, they will be your most loyal fans because you know more about them, especially when you already are them."
- Vivian

Discussed in this Episode

  • How Vivian became an entrepreneur
  • Seeing a gap in the market and solving a problem with your offering
  • Why Vivian stayed on a niche path instead of expanding her products
  • Why authenticity is so important to a business
  • Battling impostor syndrome and fraudy feelings
  • Using yourself as a tool for growth
  • What's changing in the world of ecommerce
  • Getting back to basics during the pandemic


More from Vivian Kaye

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:02
I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:05
And this is being boss. In this episode of being boss, Kathleen and I are recording live surrounded virtually with our community of creative business owners for the beam boss conference.

Kathleen Shannon 0:21
What's up bosses, we are so excited to be here.

Emily Thompson 0:26
So excited. So this is actually day three. So this is actually our last session last like official session, we do have a social zoom social this evening is their last official session. And the theme of this conference has been making time to shine, which we chose because it brought together two of the biggest struggles that so many of you face as creatives and as entrepreneurs, both time white management pulled off, both time management and marketing, about the time that I was coming up within saddling on that theme, which was a direct result of the listener survey that we did pass on this past summer. So if you ever seen those coming through your inbox or on social go fill that out because they actually use that data. But about that time I decided to sit down in a webinar that was hosted by Shopify, about preparing your e commerce business for the holiday season. So I show up for this webinar. And I found today's guest is the host of that webinar. She was this vibrant, enthusiastic business owner with a massive personality, some mad business chops and a story that I found inspiring. And about halfway through the webinar, I had sufficiently online stalked her as much as I could. And I knew that I could not do a conference about shining without having today's guest be Vivian KV. nk is a 14 year veteran entrepreneur who has bootstrapped two companies from the ground up. For the last seven years she has strictly focused on the e commerce world where she built Kinky Curly yackey, which offers textured hair extensions for black woman to over 1 million in annual revenue. Vivian has been featured on Shopify expert Academy series, Ted conferences, the way we work, and has been featured in digital publications such as black enterprise, Ebony Magazine and refinery 29. Vivian Welcome to being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 2:31
Thank you for having me. It's such a pleasure to be here. Vivian, we've gotten to know you a little bit over the past couple of days, you've popped in on some of our sessions, you've been offering us so much guidance and radiance, and your smarts and all of the things. So now I'm dying to hear your story like can you like, Can we let's rewind a little bit. And we're gonna get into all of the wisdom that you have to share. But I want to know more about your entrepreneurial journey. So tell us like, where did it begin? How did you get to where you are now being on Ted and refinery 29 this morning, I saw on your Instagram, you're on somebody's vision board, like talk about goals. How did you get there?

Vivian Kaye 3:19
You know, honestly, I really don't know. Because it's not like being an entrepreneur was a big thing. Right? So, you know, back when I was growing up being an entrepreneur was for people who didn't have jobs. And so I kept, you know, I was always in jobs where I was the one person department, one person marketing department. And then, you know, I was at a job one day and decided to start side hustling. So I started out my first business as a side hustle. And then while I was running that side, hustle, I got fired for Sorry, I got laid off. I got laid off from that job. And then at that point, I said, You know what, let me just let me just go for it. Let me just go for it and do whatever I need to do. Because I'm young, I'm free. And you know, I can I can do whatever I want. And while I was running that business, I started running. And then I had I started a side hustle with kinky, curly Yaki. So it was like I had two businesses running at the same time. So it wasn't something that I set out to do. But with both businesses, I set out to solve my own problem. And at the time, I didn't realize that that was the best way to start a business. But that's what it was I set out to start to solve my own problem, or to solve a pain point that I felt people were having. So so that's how my entrepreneurial journey began.

Kathleen Shannon 4:41
What was the first side hustle?

Vivian Kaye 4:43
The first side hustle, I was a wedding decorator. So all I would do was go in and decorate people's wedding. So instead of being an event planner, like doing, you know, doing all those little things, I focused on one thing, and what it was was I decided so there's a whole story behind that. So I'm one of four girls, and I'm the second. I'm the number two. So my older one was getting there and my oldest sister was getting married. And she hired a decorator who, who said she would decorate the wedding for, say, $1,000. Right? So she paid her deposit, everything was good. But two weeks before the wedding, she came back and said, I need another $1,000, but didn't have a reason why. Right? So I thought, well, you know, of course, she couldn't have paid for she couldn't afford to pay her. So she end up having to hire a different decorator. And that decorator did a craptastic job. And so then I'm like, man, why is it so difficult? Why can't decorators just say that they're going to do x y, Zed. And this is what it costs. And that's what they do. And keep it simple. So then I thought, well, I'm just gonna, I've always been into decor, and HGTV, and not when TLC used to be more home decor than reality. So I would. So I started, I decided I wanted to be a wedding decorator, I wanted to create weddings that were simple, but fabulous. So I would ask My Brides like, okay, so do you remember the last wedding that you went to? And they would say, Yes, I was like, Well, do you remember the centerpieces or the decor, they're like, I remember it was pretty, I'm like, that's what we're going to do. So instead of spending, you know, mortgage down payments on decor, why not create something that is memorable, but affordable, and people will just remember it was pretty, and that's it. So that's what I set out to do. And it was a it was a great success. And this was a business that I started with no prior knowledge, like, I just figured it out as I was going along.

Kathleen Shannon 6:37
And so I can tell that you're a branding lover at heart, because you're like, forget pretty I want memorable. And I think this is going to be a thread that we weave through all of your stories. But before we get to connecting those thoughts, I want to hear more about kinky, curly, yucky. So what was what was the problem that that was solving? And how did well I, I'm the worst at doing this. I always do this, I always ask two questions in a row. So question one is more about kinky, curly yaquis. What problem did that solve? And then I'm really curious to hear a little bit more about how I do think that whenever we have side hustles, and even day jobs, and we're trying on a bunch of different things, they all start to tie together in some ways. Like we are always learning lessons from one thing to the next. So I'm also really curious to hear what lessons did you learn from wedding decorating that you're able to take to kinky, curly Yaki?

Vivian Kaye 7:35
That's a great question. Okay, so the first question was, how can you currently act even started when I was about problems? So the problem was, I was a wedding decorator and so I'm, I actually live in Toronto, so it's one of the most toronto canada and it's one of the most diverse cities in the world. So I was doing everyone's wedding from you know, the the Muslims to South Asian to Indian to everyone, I was doing everyone's wedding. So this is going to be a bit. I'll explain if anyone really wants to know the real detailed answer. I could always do that at a later point. But for black women, we have to present we have to show up in the world in a certain way, which is quote unquote presentable. So most, a lot of times wearing our hair as it is naturally, with kinky, curly, with like, you know, with kinky hair. It's not professional, quote, unquote, professional. So I wanted something that looked like my hair, but would protect my hair because our hair is not suited to this North American environment. It's it, there's not moisture, it dries out really quickly. But anyways, I wanted something that looked like my hair. And no one would ask me where I bought it, because I didn't want that whole Nicki Minaj 32 inches of blonde weed down to my but I wanted something that looks presentable. So I searched and searched and searched for something that looked like my hair. And then when I found it, I went to a meet up, you know, it's just like a general networking event. And another black woman came to me and said, Who is your hairdresser? And what is your regimen for keeping your hair like that? And I said, girl, this is a weave. And she was like, I would buy that. And this was in this was in 2011. So I thought, well, if she would buy it, and I bought it, there's got to be at least a dozen other women who would buy it to now when I was looking to solve my problem I saw like I saw the gap in the market. I thought there are no companies just selling kinky hair. But I was already running the successful decor business. I was buying my coach bags, I was going on vacation, I was happy with that. And then I decided then I thought well, you know, you know weddings have a down season. So I was like, You know what, I can't like it. It kept pitching the back of my brain. So then I said to myself, you know what in the Down season of what Vivian's the core, I'm going to launch this company and I've literally made up the name while I was in the shower. Like I was like Kinky Curly Jackie. Oh, okay. And I bought a domain name. And I launched it in December of 2012. And it immediately took off.

Kathleen Shannon 10:17
Okay, so I actually do want to hear the details about the actual hair. If you don't mind, no, no worries, because Okay, so I remember talking to Emily in the early days of Almanac Supply Company, which is her business, and she was trying to find very specific candle containers to pour her candles into, and we talked about some deep googling, like, how you just have to search and like, get really good at searching. So how did you? Well, I guess my two questions are, it was a weave, but it looks natural. So I think this goes back to that almost that branding conversation of like, it doesn't have to look quote unquote, professional, let's make it memorable. Like, let's just make it bigger. Let's make it more of a statement, which I think is so cool. So I guess I have two questions here. One, how did you find the natural hair? If there was that gap in the market? How did you find a weave that had the natural texture? And then and that might be giving away too much of your secret sauce? Like, you might not have to answer that one. But like, how do you how do you find the materials? And then I guess my next question is, how did you start to then scale and expound upon that not having any experience in that industry?

Vivian Kaye 11:33
So how we sold the key was that I was trying to solve my own problem. So what I was doing is I would I was doing that deep googling, I was in Facebook groups, I was on hair care, black hair care forums, just you know, just talking with other people. And people. Of course, at that time, a lot of people were sharing, okay, well, I bought this here. I bought that there. And so then I would, of course, make note of that. Because again, at the time, I was not looking to start another business, I was just looking to solve my own problem. So I wrote, you know, I would contact every single factor every single manufacturer, every single website that said that they would do kinky hair. And then once I found the one, I was like, wow, this actually is pretty decent. I would ask them to tweak it a little bit just to suit my needs. And they did it. And I was like, Huh, okay, and then I thought, Well, after the girl confirmed my idea, I decided, Okay, well, let me see if the same factory can still do it. And I would order the same product under different names, and ask them to do different things to it, and they would do it. So I thought, okay, okay, I'm onto something here. And so that's how, that's how I was able to, I guess perfect the product, because again, I like to say I get high on my own supply. So that's the beauty of the business is that I am my own customer. I know what I'm looking for, I know what problems I'm looking to solve. I know what my pain points would be and what other black women's pain points would be. And the only person who's able to address that is me. So of course I use that to my advantage, you know, to tell my brand story. But at the time again, I listen, I'm an immigrant. I'm a college dropout, and I'm now a single mother. So I had no clue about all these, you know, storytelling and branding merch, I had no clue. I just thought that what I was just doing what came what came naturally to me. So, so how I scaled that business? Well, I think one of the mistakes that a lot of people are making in starting businesses is that they don't have an audience for the product that they have. And so then what I had done again, I had inadvertently created an audience by part by being on those facebook, facebook forums, or Facebook groups that have black haircare forums because I was shining and just being Vivian online people remembered me. So then the funny thing was, what i when i when the business launched, no one knew it was me. I didn't It's not like I wasn't my face wasn't the face of the brand. It was just like, here's some products, you guys will love it. Oh my gosh, and people bought it. But what happened was, I was in a Facebook group. And someone I didn't do the who is on the back end of my website, I do the Whois privacy on the back end of my product. Someone in one of the Facebook groups created a fake Facebook profile and posted all my information in those Facebook groups saying this is the person who owns that brand. So what she meant to to like to help me to make me fail actually was what turned my like was is what actually skyrocketed my business because once people found out that I was the person behind that brand they were like, well shoot I'm gonna I must support her because she's this she's that I remember She's great, she's awesome. And that's what took off. So I realized then that my brand, my person, like who I am, is what is going to help me succeed in business.

Kathleen Shannon 15:11
Amen. I, I resonate so much with what you're saying. And I have a branding agency as well and really focus on personal branding. And I, I feel like one a lot of people always tell you, you need to identify your customer and what they need. But I always think it really does start with you, if you can start with what you need and what you like, you can trust that we're not all that different. And that if you can just get specific about yourself, you're going to be getting specific about your dream customer. So we are so aligned there. And then the fact that I mean, it was an unfortunate and you know, really inappropriate way to learn the power of personal branding, but you did learn the power of personal branding. So that is incredibly exciting. And I we're gonna dig into more about like, how you leverage that and who you are and what you do, and how you bring it into your business and draw boundaries and all of the things. But

Emily Thompson 16:13
we do have an attendee question that I want to slide in here, if we may. And this question is from Meredith and I think especially for creatives, who is, you know, most of our crowd here, then we, I'd like to hear your hear your thoughts on this. So here's your question. Um, so Vivian said she had the hair problem herself and chose to solve it. But what kept her on that path, instead of ending up as an all purpose, beauty guru or similar.

Vivian Kaye 16:45
You know, to be honest, hair is not my jam. Um, so really what I, how I think of it is just the ends to a means way or a means to an end. It's the means to an end. So my real goal is to give black women confidence to show up as they are in the world. So hair just so happens to be the means to that end. So how I just stick to hair, you know, I'm pretty I'm pretty good at focusing on the one thing, like it's got what I've learned is, you know, niche, and that's my I will preach about I say niche, but it's niche,

Kathleen Shannon 17:24
you know what, it's either we can use them interchangeably.

Vivian Kaye 17:28
Potato potahto. Okay. So with Nish, I find that if you speak to a very specific group of people, and you sell them a very specific product, they will be your most loyal fans, they are cheaper to market to they are, you know, you know more about them, especially when you already are them. So for me, that makes it very easy to stick to that one thing, because I know that very well. And I can speak to it. Now let's just say if I started venturing into I don't know, say makeup girl, I don't even know how to put on eyeshadow, right. So it wouldn't, it wouldn't I wouldn't have that authentic voice. I can't lend that authenticity to that product. But what I do know is hair. I'm not a hairdresser. I'm not a hairstylist, but I had because I had a passion for solving my own problem. So that I could show up as quote unquote, professional in the world. I can solve that I know what looks professional for me. And if you know I learned if you don't like it, that's your problem, not mine. Right? So we as a black women were what started in 2000, I want to say in 2011 2012 is that YouTube, we started all jumping on YouTube and teaching each other how to care for our hair, we stopped putting because before we used to put chemicals in our hair in order to straighten it to look to fit that European standard of beauty. But then we were like, you know what, I'm tired of that crap, we're tired of that. We don't want that. That's not how we're the hair grows out of our heads. You're either going to accept this as we are or not. Right? So um, so the goal of, of making black women confident and how they show up in the world is really what keeps me focused on here. There's other people and I realized I'm really good at that. So if I just thought if you just focus on the one thing, that one goal, you're Why then you're able you're not going to get distracted by all the shiny mirror all the shiny objects that are floating around because yeah, I could make some easy money doing makeup, but I'm not passionate about that. That's I don't, that doesn't that's not my jam.

Emily Thompson 19:30
I love that what you did was instead of doing the shreds or what people may have expected, you just stuck with a thing. I think oftentimes people in this crowd see either see someone who have sort of diverged from that path or so they're thinking okay, I should, I should diversify as well or they, you know, sort of get these little inklings of like going to different things. I love that what you've done is just focused, you focused on doing the one thing amazingly well,

Vivian Kaye 19:56
exactly. And that's, and that's the one like if I had to give one point piece of advice to anyone is do that one thing and do it really well before you move on to anything else. Because, you know, doing that one thing really, really, really, really, really we really I know I'm really, really, really emphasizing that really, you do that one thing really well guess what, you can do anything, you can apply that same. So that's what I learned in Vivian's decor. I learned that if I kept it simple, and I just focused on providing My Brides with this one product and do it really well, it would speak for itself. So I took that same simple yet fabulous, and I applied it to kinky, curly Aki. So people are like, oh, what's kinky? I'll explain the name so kinky, curly yaqi What is that? So it's kinky. You know, for kinky hair, then it's curly for curly hair. And then there's yaqi. So yak, so yaqi actually is short for Yak or, I guess the long form for Yak. So, back in the day, when they wanted to mimic black women's hair straightened, they use hair from a yak, the animal. So the industry just put an eye on the end and called it yaqi. So you would know what yaqi was, if you were a black woman, so any black woman be like, Oh, girl, yeah, you got that yaqi in. And so it's a sort of tongue in cheek. So you would have to be the part of that target demographic in order to understand the name of the name of the brand. So yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 21:23
I love that. You're very specific about your dream customer to exactly because I was her I get high on my own supply. So at some point, did you end up closing the decorating business?

Vivian Kaye 21:36
I did. I closed it. I shut it down. Back in 2015. And the only reason why I did is because I got pregnant.

Unknown Speaker 21:48

Vivian Kaye 21:50
Yeah, so I launched Kinky Curly Aki in December of 2012. By July of 2013, I was, you know, the business was doing really well. At that point, it was, I was just doing just under $400,000 in sales. And I found out in July, I was pregnant. And so I was like, Oh, gosh. And so but you know, with my industry, you know, with wedding decor, I had brides booked a year out. Right, so, so I was still doing those weddings, you know, still going to the still going to meetings, breastfeeding, doing weddings, that type of thing. And then I started and I wasn't really paying attention to what Kinky Curly Yaki was doing. I didn't know all these numbers until later on, because I was doing it just because like, I just loved it. And I was learning about HTML and marketing and SEO and I just, I just threw myself into it, but wasn't paying attention to the numbers. I just knew it was doing well. But then when I found out I was pregnant, I was like, Okay, okay, then you got to chill, you gotta chill, you can't be can't be doing everything. And then, in 2014, march of 2014, I gave birth to my son, and he's been wonderful ever since he's six now. And then I saw what Kinky Curly Yaki was doing, I thought, Man, I'm really half asking it. What happens if I put my full ass into this? And once I did, again, it took off. So Oh, yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 23:21
Okay, so I know that whenever entrepreneurs are listening to this or side hustlers or listening to this, they're like, Wait a second, she accidentally created a half a million dollar business and wasn't even paying attention. So how does that happen? did was that like word of mouth or referral? Did you have launches? Do you have specific marketing plans? What did that look like for you I

Vivian Kaye 23:45
had none of that what I had was what people knew me from in the Facebook groups and and because I was also I'm also the OG of the niche so there was this niche of just selling kinky hair did not exist before I started before I created my company. So because I saw a gap in the market, I'm a I pioneered that. So any other company that you now see selling kinky hair is because of me. And so then because I was first to market with that bat just exploded because that's what women were looking for. I was solving their problem. And on top of that, I looked like that. Right. So it's like, they were like, Girl, you know, because one of the things was be like, Girl, I was tired of the whole African in the front and Indian in the back. If you're a black woman, you know what that means. So what that means is, you know, we're all from, you know, black women or from, you know, the African diaspora. So we had these tight kinky hair, and then we were putting on these silky weaves that didn't blend with our hair. So I was tired of the whole African in the front and Indian in the back. And that resonated with people so it just and I didn't do i didn't i. Here's another thing. I just literally launched with one product. Launch with one product. And if I only had three legs, I only had three links. I remember at the time and someone would buy one, I would take that money and go and buy two. And that's how I built my business. I didn't I bootstrapped it. I started from zero I have I took no outside capital. I didn't have any debt. I literally started from the bottom. And was it easy? No, no, it wasn't. Is it possible? I'm so freakin lovely.

Kathleen Shannon 25:32
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Emily Thompson 26:50
Nice job, Kathleen.

Kathleen Shannon 26:52
And we're back. So I want to talk a little bit about authenticity. Because you I feel like that's like the core of who you are as being who you are. Even whenever it's not. By Design, you know, it just kind of showed up that way. You are your own client. And I think that's one of the greatest ways to be authentic whenever it comes to creating what you do. So, let's let's talk a little bit about that. Um, why do you think that authenticity and being true to yourself and using your own personality is important for anyone who is building a business or a brand?

Vivian Kaye 27:34
Because people don't necessarily, one of the biggest things people need to keep in mind is people aren't necessarily buying the product. As you can see, it sounds like I'm the first person to ever sell kinky textured hair extensions. In fact, there were tons of companies that had it but they what they did is they buried it underneath the silkier texture. So I'm not the first person to sell kinky texture, hair extensions. But what people don't realize is that people aren't necessarily buying the product, they're buying the person, or they're buying the emotions, they're buying the lifestyles behind the product. So brand is where you can tell that story. So branding will help you to help you stand out in the crowd. It will help people remember and especially when you have a story that resonates with someone, that's what they're buying into. They could care. I mean, yeah, you could you could be selling something that's more expensive and more you know, has less tools unless this unless that, but what they're buying is the person or the idea or the emotions behind it. So I that's what I realized very quickly, is, you know, especially in the wedding decor business people be like, wow, Vivian, you meet me, you made it feel so simple. You made me feel so comfortable. And you made this process so easy for me. And I realized it doesn't I could go learn how to do all the fancy, you know, all the fancy do decor, all I want. But that's not what they care about. They care that I made them feel good about the money that they were spending and made their wedding feel pretty like I made them feel that way. So that's that's really what you should focus on.

Kathleen Shannon 29:08
I love that you said that you're not the first person to sell kinky or natural hair extensions, but that it's been buried and so you took a product, you nition on it, and then you highlighted it, and it's beautiful. And you're owning it and you're helping other women own it. I'm curious a little bit with some of the activism around natural hair, California has banned hair discrimination. It's something that I was so excited to see and want to continue to see. Are there any levels of like activism, or do you think that even products like yours have helped create that kind of activism? You know, do you think they it's like, no, this is who we are, and this is just as professional as any other hair?

Vivian Kaye 29:55
Well, I think the problem was, was that we were letting you know black women in general Were we were letting the world tell us what was beautiful. And, you know, YouTube and you know, the beauty of the internet was us being able to see each other people outside of our own communities, and how they look and how they rock their hair, and all that jazz. So I think really it it just helped people just be who they wanted, like just to be who they are like, just to be their authentic selves. And truth be told, and this is just women in general, because even society tells us women what we're supposed to look like, like, I'm pretty sure after this quarantine thing is done, there's gonna be a lot of people who were blonde that aren't blonde anymore, right? But you know, with black women, we're we're especially, you know, we're especially, I don't want to say I was to just say hate it on, because of how we look. And so then this I feel loves just the way to just be like, Listen world, we have to teach, we have to teach the world, this is how we are if they don't like it, that is their problem, because this is how my head this is how the hair grows out of my head naturally. Yes, it's curly, it goes, it goes to the heavens, because that makes me closer to God and the sun, right. And so if that's not something you think is professional, then I think you really need to re examine what your idea of professional is Karen, sorry, Ken.

Kathleen Shannon 31:24
It just goes to show that Chad, representation matters. Absent that is what the internet gave us. It gave us access to each other and to, to all kinds of beauty and bodies and ways of being right. And it allowed us to see ourselves in others, and we can't help it but need permission, you know, and that permission. Sometimes there's just simply in representation. I have so many role models, where I'm like, Oh, I didn't know I could do that until I saw them do it.

Emily Thompson 32:00
Yeah. And you're providing tools for that awareness as well, which I think is like that's an important part of this too. It's not only having access to the vision, but it's having access to the tools to and that's even what you've done.

Kathleen Shannon 32:15
Okay, Vivian youare, you just radiate confidence. We all see it we all feel it over these past couple of days. Do you want some of our listeners or our attendees here today? Want to know Do you ever doubt yourself? Like do you ever have what we call here at being boss Friday feelings? I mean, especially going into industries that you didn't have experience in

Vivian Kaye 32:39
the freakin lately. Um, you know, I battle with imposter syndrome Friday feelings all the time. But then, I think to myself, you know, what, if I don't do what I'm put on this earth to do, then nobody will. Nobody will be able to do it either. Because people who need who look like me, or even in the same situation as me. So like I said, I'm a single mom, I've been through depression, I've been suicide. I've been through all the things that tried me, and I came out gold. So if I don't tell that story, if I don't tell people how it's done, then everyone's just this is going to be one hell of a boring world. So if I let that imposter syndrome eat me eat away at me, then that's not that's not fair. It's not fair to anyone. Right? So I shine so that everyone else can shine too.

Emily Thompson 33:35
Right? That's like holding your purpose higher than your emotions.

Unknown Speaker 33:39
Absolutely. Thanks for the eyebrows, Kathleen. Sometimes I say things. She's like, yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 33:47
You know what, with this quarantine, my Botox has worn off so you can see my reaction. That's right, that's gonna do my eyebrows moving now. I love it. I'm cackling

Emily Thompson 34:03
right. I'd like to bring this to some personal branding things, which you've talked a little bit about in the conference. But not everyone has been a part of the conference like listening to this, we have so many more people who have been who have been here with us for the past couple of days. So I want to talk about this personal branding piece. And if you have any sort of top tips for anyone who's looking to infuse more of their personality into their brand, how can just any old person and by any old person, I mean, everyone is a snowflake? How can anyone shine in their business and use themselves as a tool for growth?

Vivian Kaye 34:40
Well, what I want to remind people is you don't need to be me. So you you know either hit if you think about people, like if you think about gems, right there's different gems gems, Ruby shined differently than a diamond and then emeralds than that. So you need to be exactly that. So be yourself because Cuz the minute you start being someone who you're not, it's going to feel like work, it's going to feel you're going to hate it, people will see right through it. So you really don't have any choice but to be yourself. And so sometimes that means you being quirky, or it means, you know, maybe you do more blogging than you do video, or you know, whatever the case may be, but you just need to show up as yourself in whatever platform and however way you want to do it. And the people who it will resonate with will find you, they will find you. So don't be, please don't be anybody else you don't. That's not what you were put on this earth to be to be someone else like and you're just doing yourself a huge disservice by not being yourself.

Kathleen Shannon 35:49
How do you When do you feel the most yourself Vivian? Like, sometimes it's hard to know, like, what what is me? What should I be sharing? Where do I draw these lines?

Vivian Kaye 36:00
You know, what, you know, you know, where the lines to where to be drawn? Right? You You know, you know, like you and we women, that's one thing I find with, especially with women, I know, there's a lot of things I'm finding, but I know with women, we need to trust our guts, we're always second guessing ourselves. And we're always doing all these things. But you just need to trust yourself. Because you know, what, you know where that line is, you know, what you should be sharing and what you shouldn't be sharing.

Kathleen Shannon 36:29
Someone was just commenting that I'm like, very existential with my questions, which is basically sums it up. I'm like, but but what even are we but a bundle of cells? What is time? What is personality? What is money? So sorry, asked me. So the question again, so I can say it all night. So the question is, when do you feel most yourself? Like how do you know like, what is authentically you? Because I think that all of us want to show up as we are and who we are. But we can start to like second guess ourselves. So you were saying like, we as women need to listen more to our guts, like, we know, it's in our guts. But how do you tune into that? Like, I

Vivian Kaye 37:12
know, like, let's just say I remember doing a couple of years ago, I did a hair like I was I was asked to speak at a hair, like a beauty hair brand thing. And I didn't like it. Because hair was not my passion. I could kid I could give two kicks about hair. But put me on a put me in a forum or you know, an opportunity like this. This is where I shine. So I know, you know, you know, like, you know, like, you know, and so that's the only way I can explain we know, you know,

Emily Thompson 37:42
you know, my and I think even what you're explaining is that, you know by trying things, and then like listening to yourself, right? So you did the hair thing, or you went and spoke at the hair thing. And you were like, yeah, this feels gross. Like it but you wouldn't have known that if you hadn't tried it first.

Vivian Kaye 37:59
Exactly. And that's the key to life too. You gotta try. You gotta try, you gotta try you gotta try cuz that's the only way you're gonna find out what you like and don't like you can apply that to life. Like you know, you don't know you like kale until you try it. You don't know you like guys that do this until you try it. You have to go through and try a bunch of different things. And then and you know, one of the things I started to realize because I'm I'm 42 so at 40 I was like, You know what, I'm done trying to live in this box. Like, I'm done. It's over. I'm you know, Vivian means lively one. Right? So Vivian, you just need to go about living your best life because but you know, all before I was 40 I kept trying to be strike. Everyone kept trying to put me in this box. So you know, be a box, go in the box. But you know what I discovered? I discovered that I was a parallelogram. You know what a parallelogram is? It's a sideways box. It's a rectangle that has a side it does the Google it. Okay, I was a parallelogram. And I was tired of being put into the box. And so once I turned 40, I just flipped the bird to everything and said, You know what, again, if you do not like it, I do not care. That is not my problem. You can go kick rocks, with an open toe shoe. That's it, period. My gosh.

Emily Thompson 39:13
Okay, with that we're taking another break. You also have so many Hold on. I have to read this thing over here that Tasha said before we take a break. So Tasha says no, this is great. My filter Fox has been reached and there are none. On

Vivian Kaye 39:27
Oh, I okay. I was I won't curse because my son is here. But yeah, just imagine that filled with curses.

Emily Thompson 39:37
Alright, one of our very favorite ways to show up from a place of authenticity and market who you are is by teaching what you know, we all have subjects, where we are an expert from setting up a new e commerce website to how to bake the best cookies and selling that knowledge through online courses. digital downloads and memberships is how we can add revenue to our bank accounts while sharing what we know The world. But how do you sell these things, especially if the technology freaks you out? Check out podia a hassle free platform for creatives who want to earn a living from their passion they make creating and selling online courses, digital downloads and memberships easy, and they have a soft spot in their hearts for bosses today would not be possible without their help. So hop along and go create the course that you've been dreaming about. You can get 14 days free with no credit card required by going to podia.com slash bosses. Poor Cory sometimes has to listen to me read an ad like four times before I can get the whole thing done. It is everyone send some love to Cory right now.

Kathleen Shannon 40:46
Cory, we love you.

Emily Thompson 40:47
Right? All right. So in this next little segment that we have, I want to talk about e commerce, because that's one of the things that sort of connected us through that webinar months and months ago. It's something that most of the bosses here are familiar with or in, and it's something that you are an expert at. So as an expert in the e commerce I got this guy's as an expert in the e commerce industry and as a coach, because we know that coaches are having conversations with lots of kinds of businesses. What do you see happening in e commerce right now? And what do you see changing?

Vivian Kaye 41:30
Oh, that's a good question, too. So what I see happening in e commerce is focus on brand I would say, because the markets been pretty flooded with the drop shippers. So the people who are just peddling, you know, the products from China and don't even have eyes on the product that don't tell the story behind it. And then of course, Amazon Amazon has had a huge impact on e commerce. But then people I think are tired of the consumers tired of that? No Name, no experience, no emotions behind purchase. style, I guess you could call it. So what's emerging in e commerce is a more personal a more focus on personalization and more focus on brand storytelling, a more focused on supporting the little guy, right? Because Am I mean, listen, during this whole COVID situation, Amazon's gonna be okay. I, you know, I think the other day I read that he made like, whatever billion dollars in a week, but can't afford to pay the warehouse workers. But you know, that same money that you spent on Amazon, you could spend it on a small e commerce business that would carefully package your product and write a thank you note and give you a more you know, more emotional purchase, I guess, for lack of a better term. So what I'm seeing is brand brand is becoming a focus storytelling is becoming more of a focus your why telling your customer your why you're doing is becoming more of a focus for e commerce.

Kathleen Shannon 43:12
I have a confession to make. I really loved my two day prime. And I became hooked on it. You know, like Amazon became a drug. Right? And I, I felt bad about it. And I knew I should be doing better. And of course, with some of the, you know, artists and stuff, I was getting that direct from my friends who have brands and businesses. But for some of the general stuff, I was like, why not prime it? Well, now that it's taken two or three weeks to get my stuff from Amazon, and I feel guilty buying non essential stuff from Amazon, because I knew about the warehouse workers is shining a light on what was kind of already wrong with it. And I, I don't have too many opinions. I'm not well informed enough on Amazon. I'm not trying to be a hater right now. But what I am is now a lover. I am a lover of the small businesses. I'm going back to finding Okay, who's offering the alternative? Where can I get, you know, the face masks sewn by the artisan and it's also going to take a week to ship but in some sense now it's faster than Amazon. And so it's really helped me reorient my values and reorient me to the brands and businesses that really care and are really making a difference. And like you said, Vivian, that they have a story and supporting each other. It's so huge right now, I think the market was flooded before. But now more than ever, we had to step up for each other.

Vivian Kaye 44:43
Yeah, and even now, it's like, people are now understanding that sense of community. Right? It's like, okay, now they understand like, because that's the, I mean, this is terrible to say but the beauty of COVID is that everyone is in the same situation. So now it's making you take a better Look at how you've been living. So yeah, you got used to Amazon Prime and you were doing Botox and you were doing this, but now you're realizing, oh girl, I look fine without the Botox. I can wait a week, if I if that means I'm supporting, you know, a friend that or you know, someone, a friend of a friend or a friend that's doing this business selling the exact same thing. Yeah, I could have got it from Amazon within two days. But did I really need it in two days? No, because like you said, Amazon created a drug. And it made it hard for us smaller e commerce businesses to keep up with that. So now it almost feels like we're on the same level as Amazon. Right. And we can compete with that, and how we can compete with Amazon is with brand. And what also people old people also forget that Amazon started out as a niche product. All they sold was books before, but they got really, really, really, really good at selling books. And then they expanded the market. So they went deep before they started going wide. So that's a threw in that, during that little tip to

Kathleen Shannon 46:00
be real clear. I don't get my Botox from Amazon.

Unknown Speaker 46:07
Don't worry about that.

Vivian Kaye 46:10
Oh my god, I love it. I say You look great. Like I don't like it like Gary, you don't need it. Come on. Now.

Emily Thompson 46:17
I will say do I love this drug analogy because whenever Amazon first came up, that's what I was thinking about is like Amazon has become a drug that we just like, by now by now here two days by now like, get those little hits of Amazon. And now those hits hit different. And where the good hits come from is from buying local and buying small. We definitely feel it is so much more meaningful to us now. And that meaningfulness more so than the immediate. What is that immediate gratification? immediate right? immediate ha, favorite? Maybe

Kathleen Shannon 46:52
it's like poppers versus I don't know my drugs well enough to go deep into this analogy.

Vivian Kaye 47:00
You know, what's forcing you to do it's forcing you to get high on your own supply on your own face and except your face for what it is and the beauty that is Kathleen?

Kathleen Shannon 47:12
Right? No, but it's true. I think that there is something too It's so funny with this whole I wasn't planning on the conversation going here. But with this whole COVID thing. I feel like I've turned into like my world war two grandparents, like I am saving my tinfoil. I am checking in on my neighbors. I mean, we're all sewing, we're also doing our own masks. I mean, we are getting crafty, and we're getting resourceful. And I do think that on the other side of this, we can hold those values in place. And again, it really does come back to shopping small because these problems weren't. It's not that they weren't there before they were there before. This is just shining a big old light on all the inequities on all the broken systems that were already in place that so many people have already been trying to scream about for years, and nobody was listening. So I you know, this has forced everybody to listen and everybody to reevaluate what really matters. And it's these small brands, it's creative entrepreneurs, because I think we're also going to see that we're the ones that provide the soul, and the beauty and the like, what makes life interesting. Big Box is not interesting. It's not coming back. Vivian.

Emily Thompson 48:30
It's not memorable. You say that, but I'm also like, I can't wait to go to Target. I totally agree, though.

Vivian Kaye 48:40
That there's balance right there's there's a balance to be had. Because Yeah, you can go to Amazon and still get your essentials right. But you know, if you like girl if you just want to buy you know some candles, then maybe you should support the girl but you know, that you saw at the farmers market? Maybe you should support your friend of a friend of a friend or whoever the case may be Yes, creativity is a cat swear. But yeah, you know, it's it's, it's, it's a beautiful thing.

Emily Thompson 49:07
Yeah. I love this. Okay, so now that we have slipped into COVID a little bit I would love to hear just to work briefly without getting heated. Because I think we can all get really heated really quickly. Just as someone who's in e commerce in this time, and you go to help everyone to hear what sort of shifts you're making in your business. What sort of plans are you laying in place? Or are you just like chilling and waiting? Because I know plenty of people who are doing that too.

Vivian Kaye 49:35
Yeah, yeah, I'm basically just floating just because you know, to be honest, hair extensions aren't an essential it's more of a luxury and especially because I sell a premium product. I don't want to sound tone deaf and saying hey girl, you know take your still like Fashion Nova. Hey girl, take your stimulus money and buy my product know that I don't want to be that company. That's takes advantage of people I understand that what I sell is, it's, it's an assess is it is essential now, I guess at the present, or you speak to, but I'm just using this time to just float, I'm taking this time to lean out my business, because now I've got the time, right, so I'm looking at all my apps, I'm looking at all my subscriptions, I'm looking at ways I can cut, you know, cut my, my money, because the same, I don't have the same revenue coming in as I did, you know, a year, a year ago. And so that I'm, I'm taking the time to get lean again. Because of course, you know, over time you get bloated. So now it's like I'm doing a business detox, you know, getting rid of products that aren't moving and focusing on what will move, you know, providing more value for my customers and, and creating content that that will help either be, you know, a resource or relief to them. So that's what I'm focusing on.

Kathleen Shannon 50:57
Do you feel like in some ways, Vivian, you're kind of rewinding to whenever you first started kinky, curly Yaki, because for me, I'm coming back to the basics so much. Like I'm coming back into niching down, because I did get deep, and then I widened out my customer base, but I'm finding myself coming back down to niching. down and that education piece, like, Oh, I could create some really cool content for this specific person. I'm gonna get back to that. Are you doing some of that too?

Vivian Kaye 51:22
I am. I am, and especially, especially in Vivian Kay. Because of course, it gets really it gets really exciting to want to do all these things. But then, you know, just the other day, someone from Shopify reached out and said, we have a lot of brick and mortar stores that need to get quickly get online quickly. And we're getting overwhelmed with that. I think somewhat, I think, and you know, they're like, wink wink, I would love to see someone create something to help these brick and mortar stores get up and running. Right. So that made me realize I need to just get back to basics. Like, you can go learn SEO, you can go learn that stuff. But people are looking for basic stuff. So that's Yeah, it's just the perfect, now's the perfect time if you can. And that's, I hate to say that COVID is this making that possible, but take time in your business to detox it. Because over time it will get it will get bloated, it will start to have acne and you don't know why will girl just sit down, drink some lemon water and see what happens.

Emily Thompson 52:23
I love it. Okay, we have two listener questions that I would like to throw out here to sort of wrap this up if you don't mind. One is even if you are being yourself, you still get vulnerability hangovers. How do you deal with those

Vivian Kaye 52:38
vulnerability hangovers? Um, honestly, I don't I don't I don't think I've ever had that happen. I you know, I show up, honestly, because I show up. Like, if I don't want to show up and like, you know, I usually show up online like on my Instagram stories. If I don't want to show up, I just don't show up. But then there's some times when I'm going through something. And I feel like you know, what, is this a teaching? Would this help someone that's watching me? You know what, I think it will so then I'll share that or when I'm ready. I will. So I've never had hangovers, like, I've never been online been Oh my god, whoa, I've never done that. If anything, what I do is I I'm okay to not be okay. And I will sit in that not okayness. And then when I'm ready, I come back out. And I'm like, Hey, guys, I wasn't okay. And I'm okay with that. But here's how we got, here's how I got through it. And here's how you can do it too.

Kathleen Shannon 53:29
I've also noticed a couple other things that you've mentioned along the way that probably helped with this vulnerability hangover, which I do suffer from. But here's what I've learned from you, Vivian. One is make sure that you're showing up in the places that are your jam. So you were like this here is my jam, speaking at a beauty conference about hair extensions, not my jam. So really knowing what's for you and what's not for you what you like what you don't like it goes a really long way in avoiding vulnerability hangovers and then to being okay with people not liking you. And again, maybe it's something about turning 40 I'm a couple years away, but I'm looking forward to it because no fucks given you just stopped giving him a hook. Right. So I think there's that as well. And then also just the clarity on who you are and what you do and what you don't do. All right, next question for you.

Emily Thompson 54:24
What do you love most about what you do?

Vivian Kaye 54:29
So much, so much like, sorry, I'm about to get emotional. So like today, I had I got a comment on a post that I made. I will though, actually is a couple of things. A post that I just made recently where one of my followers sent it to me and I was on her vision board. I was on there with Oprah. I was on there with Michelle Obama and there was little Oh Vivian. The college dropout single mother that had Everybody counted out. And even, even last night, someone made a comment that, you know, they were looking for a sign, they wanted to start a business, but they had that imposter syndrome in their, in their brain trying to eat away at their idea. And she decided she wanted to go register this business and this business happened to feature me on their website, and she went to the website issue, ask God for a sign, that's what happened. She asked the universe for a sign. And she went to this website to go and register her business. And there I was, and I looked like her. So to the people who are like, you know, who feel like, you know, oh, it needs to be inclusive, it needs to be this, it means that when you've been living in this world, without seeing yourself for so long, and when you start to see people who look like you who resonate with you who have your story,

Unknown Speaker 55:52
you just, that's what I've lived for. I

Vivian Kaye 55:56
want everybody to know, it doesn't matter what your background is, what kind of circumstances you've had to overcome. representation matters. It really does. So whether you're skinny, you're fat, you're this you're that you study, like you're black, you're white, whatever it is show up and I'm so very, very, very proud of all the ships that I've gone through because I say that ship is maneuver manure, they use manure to grow things, right manure helps you thrive, it helps you flourish. So think of all the shit that you go through as manure. And and so I take that manure and i and i and i tell everybody Listen, I got I got speckles of shit all over my face. This is how I look. You don't like it? That's your problem, but take me as I am. So that's what I find. Great. That's this is what I love to do it I wouldn't do anything. I wouldn't trade it for the world that wouldn't

Emily Thompson 56:59
Well, you have all the bosses crying now. Over there and read the chat they're giving you hugs we have I sweating. People are offering to take your shit for you.

Kathleen Shannon 57:14
I know we're all like we take you as you are come live with us just come move into my house because you're the best.

Vivian Kaye 57:22
Okay, just curl like we only have one life to live it would be such a shame to not live it because you were so busy worried about your frown lines and what someone's what so and so things and girl like

Unknown Speaker 57:37
live your life.

Emily Thompson 57:40
I love it. Okay, last question. First. Thank you for sharing. Oh, sorry, I started went all over the place with that, but I was okay.

Kathleen Shannon 57:49
I feel like that was a good ending. Okay, now we're gonna bring it back practical, I

Emily Thompson 57:54
guess. No, actually just just closing question. The usual being boss podcast closing question, Vivian, when maybe this even answered it, but we'll see. What makes you feel most boss.

Vivian Kaye 58:09
Makes me feel most boss is when i when i when i just say something that someone had hadn't even thought of. And if they say that it changed, it inspired them. It changed their life. And to me that's I could care. Honestly, money comes and goes. Money comes and goes, people come and go. But how you make people feel is what makes me that's what that's that boss that boss shit right there.

Kathleen Shannon 58:42
Agreed. Well, you've certainly made us feel so inspired. Thank you so much. Vivian. It has been such a pleasure having you on the show. Oh, yeah,

Vivian Kaye 58:52
it was it was I really appreciate you ladies. It's been an absolute pleasure. And you are absolutely welcome.

Emily Thompson 59:00
All right, I'm going to wrap this up with a shout out to our sponsors that we have fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to podia and shop good and Oklahoma City. I also want to do a shout out to our swag bag contributors. Thank you to Banda weirdos Andrea Holmes art studio, metal Marvel's his social granola denisa art a free period press. Chicken Coop botanicals, a hawks and doves, modern mystic and Almanac supply co You can find links to all of those and all of the resources and mentioned in today's episode at WWW dot being boss dot club. Thanks for listening. And hey, if you want more resources, we're talking worksheets, free trainings in person meetups and vacations and more. Go to our website at www dot bien boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 59:52
Do the work the boss