“Bloom where you are planted”. We have all heard that statement a thousand times. Be above controversy and do your thing no matter what tries to thwart your plans. It’s a wonderful quote that I have said to myself many times.
If we can bloom where we are planted can we flourish more when we are poured into, celebrated, encouraged, and empowered? When women stand behind other women what could be the outcome?
I decided about six months ago to start thinking about the women I knew who are doing great things. Women in my community who have an amazing personal style and are making things happen. Women who are doing it while raising kids and helping their aging parents or supporting their husbands careers. We look to role models that are bigger than ourselves but what about the role models that are sitting in our own backyard? The ones we sit next to in church and pass in carline. The women, next door.
This series, Flourish, is dedicated to those women.
Fun Story. When I was in college I worked at Hobby Lobby in the fabric department. I met Kayla when she was just starting out making bags. She had this effervescence about her and I drank in everything she said. It’s so interesting to me the things that spark your own personal creativity. Unbeknownst to her at the time she sparked a love of fabric and textiles inside me. She is also the reason I learned how to sew. I used to collect tiny remnants of the fabrics she chose.
Today not too much has changed. Kayla is still a visionary and I still hang on her every word. I glean so much creative energy from her I probably should pay her. Kayla is just one of those people you want to know what they think about everything. Which is what made her perfect for this piece.
When you see Kayla the three words that pop into my mind are cool, fresh and vibrant. I always wonder if her mind ever turns off. She is one of those people where you can always see the wheels turning in her mind.
Q and A
Me: What time do you wake up in the morning?
Kayla: 5:30 or 6
Me: What is the first thing you do in the morning?
K: I get my phone and immediately do my devotion then I get up and do my routine with my animals. I walk 3 miles every morning with Zoe.
Me: How did your business start?
K: I have always had a creative spirit and wanted to do things with my hands. I did a lot of art and collages when I was a kid and then I was an art major in college. I have this need to create. I started by adding floral arrangements to premade bags which transitioned to me designing the bags.
Me: What is your favorite thing about having a side hustle?
K: People don’t know that I have more than one side gig. I do wedding calligraphy, wedding planning, bags and other art. A lot of inspiration from my bags and being able to create a vision that manifests into something else. My art is an extension of my personal style. So it keeps me inspired in other aspects of my life.
“I feel like my bags are special and desired. I want people to have me in their collection. A LV and a Kayla.”
Me: Hat or scarf?
Me: Big Pearls or brooch?
K: These are too hard! Brooch.
Me: Describe your style in a few words?
K: Classic. Boho.
Me: What is a word you wish people would stop using?
K: I wish people would stop saying yummy. I also wish people would stop backing into parking spaces but that wasn’t the question.
Me: What is an accessory you love the most?
K: I love the leather collection I did in 2017 and this red patent leather bag. Also, my stack of rings from my Grandmother.
Me: What is your favorite thing you have ever created?
K: My Leather bags. Making and creating handbags out of loved ones clothing. Red patent leather clutch I made for myself.
Me: Fur or lace?
K: Fur but only vintage or recycled. I won’t buy new.
Me: Heels or flip flips?
K: The lady in me wants heels and the hippie wants flip flops. So both.
Me: Wigs or costume?
Me: Guilty pleasure?
Me: Coffee or tea?
Me: Yoga or spin?
K: Equal loves
Me: What is something you would never wear?
K: Over the knee boots. I don’t hate the trend but I hate them on me.
Me: What is the first thing you notice about someone?
K: Their vibe.
Me: What do you think is your best quality?
K: I am an emotional investor and very loyal.
Me: What do you admire in someone else that isn’t a strength of yours?
K: Letting it roll off my back. I am very tender hearted and I take things personally that aren’t personal.
Me: What are three things you always have in your bag?
K: Five tubes of lipstick, my Kayla hand bags id holder, krewe glasses
Me: What is the best part of your job?
K: Hands down my clients. I work in a very creative industry that centers around fashion and hair. I have met some really influential people who have helped me grow and stay inspired.
Me: Tell me about life with your goldens?
K: I have a fondness for fluffy dogs. I have had three goldens. I lost two last year and then adopted my newest dog Zoe who is a good combination of both of my older girls.
Me: Tell me about Pippa the kitty?
K: Pippa was a stray that came on my back deck after Lollie died. I saw her and she jumped in my lap and took a selfie with me. A friend said I think this is your cat. She just became mine. Very needy with treats and keeps Zoe on her toes. Cutest little white paws. Eats eggs. Very demanding. Loves the Christmas tree.
Me: Tell me how your style has changed from 20 to 30 to 40?
K: More basic with color selection with tops and jeans than when I was younger. I do more solids and less prints. I spend more money on things like jeans and shoes. I still like classic but adding that little punch.
Me: What is a signature piece for you?
K: Big rings. You can wear a lot of a look but it doesn’t look like a lot.
Me: What is something about you that would shock people?
K: I have never lived in a big city. I love to travel but I don’t want to live in one. I also have an older sister.
Me: Biggest disappointment?
K: I am not super disappointed much. I wish I had renovated my quaint little house already but all in due time.
Me: What is a good thing about not being married?
K: I get to be fully committed to myself to explore all of my creative sides. I think that having time to work my Kayla handbags brand was really important at this point in my life. Being single I am don’t have to care for someone else’s needs so it has allowed for time to grow personally and my brand.
Me: What is the best decision you have ever made?
K: Building a brand from scratch.
Me: What is one style you wish would come back?
K: Anything from the late 40’s to the early 50’s
Me: How would you describe your line?
K: Functional, affordable, eclectic, original.
Me: What is something that would surprise people that you are doing for spring?
K: More limited edition so you have to get it when you see it. A lot of artistic pieces, hand painted, custom bags for special occasions. I am also working on designing my own signature fabrics.
Me: What is something you would never design?
K: There isn’t anything I wouldn’t design. I would love to design mens clothing.
Me: What is the most important item in dressing?
K: Accessories can really make or break and outfit. Anything from necklaces to bracelets. Just always add something fun to your outfit.
Me: What is the hardest thing about being a woman owned business?
K: I don’t think there is anything hard about it. I feel like sometimes people want to look at your business like it’s a hobby but I can’t focus on that. I am offering a product to people and that is where I focus myself. I am the only one who can hold my business back. The rest is just pushing through.
Me: Tell me something your parents taught you?
K: Work ethic. Being true to your word. Doing the right thing.
Me: What do you want people to know about you as a designer?
K: My background is in art but it is also in business. Day to day I am working on Kayla handbags but I am also an executive at my marketing job. I need to have my hand in a lot of things to feed my creativity.
Me: What is the hardest thing about working two jobs?
K: Feeling guilty when you want to take a night off. Sometimes I want to rest and watch tv and I start feeling guilty about not getting up and working.
Me: What mistakes do you think people make in business?
K: You need to have a lot of gratitude to the people who are buying from you. Most customers will be repeat buyers if their experience is good. I really remember every bag that is purchased and I love my customers.
Me: What advice would you give a young women about being in business?
K: Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Don’t assume you know everything either. Be ready to be inspired and learn from other people. Finding a mentor will really help you too. Find something who you can learn from their mistakes and their successes.
Me: What do you think about people stealing intellectual property?
K: It of course bothers me because your intellectual property is more than a design, it’s the way that you do things. It is something that you originally created and thought of and someone is taking that from you. I struggle with it but don’t dwell on it. I try to focus on being flattered and then staying true to my brand. At the end of the day people want the original. I am confident in me and my label so no one can do what I do in the way that I do it so I just choose not to give it any energy.
You can connect with Kayla on Instagram, Facebook and her website!