Just when I thought I was done making new friends, I met Kiara.
If anyone had overheard Kiara Brown and I’s conversation you would’ve thought we’ve known each other forever instead of meeting for the first time. While chatting over dinner, I got an inside look at the creator and designer behind Sheé Studio. Throughout our conversation you can feel the passion she has for what she does and it shows through her work. On the verge of building a creative empire, Kiara is definitely one to watch.
Saturday School: When did you start Sheé Studio?
Kiara Brown: Sheé Studio was an idea for two years but it became an actual business this past September. I had just started working at Bulletin and I was inspired by the independent artists within the store. When I saw that these women were working full-time jobs while still having their pins and patches within the store I was like ‘oh I can do this too!’
SS: So everyone who works for the company can sell things within the store? Did you have to pitch your idea at all?
KB: I originally started selling pieces on Etsy to see how it did and one of my coworkers told the CEO that I made jewelry and she was like ‘we need to get your stuff in the store, I’ll give you two weeks to have enough product’ so that’s how that started.
SS: WOW that’s really dope!
KB: Yeah I kind of did it a little backwards. A lot of people start with putting their stuff online and promoting but I just put my stuff in stores first without really promoting it. It’s doing really well, I’m selling out of product all the time.
SS: Do you make all of it by yourself or do you have a distributor?
KB: A lot of the wire stuff (like what I’m wearing right now) I make but the gold plated pieces I do get made. I send them to a guy in Texas and they make them for me.
SS: How many styles do you have total?
KB: Right now I have 10.
SS: Is it just earrings?
KB: It’s all earrings right now!
SS: I was looking on the site and I’m definitely going to buy a pair. I’m overdue [laughs]. How do you keep the price point so low?
KB: My distributor in Texas is a friend of my Dad’s and my material is fairly cheap so it literally takes nothing to make them. I try to make it very affordable because I know when I want cute jewelry I can’t spend an arm and a leg on stuff right now.
SS: Yeah some of us are broke but we want to spend money on those statement pieces but it’s not really the first thing you think of when you get your paycheck.
KB: [laughs] Right! But yes I wanted to keep it low to start off. It’s very simplistic and I wanted it to be for everyday wear.
SS: What do you see your company doing next?
KB: Well, Sheé Studio was always supposed to be something bigger within fashion and art. I don’t have it on my website, but I’m a painter as well. At Bulletin where I sell my jewelry I have two of my paint prints for sale. So now I’m working on clothing and bags that will compliment the artwork. I also have a few illustrations too.
SS: In college were you a fashion major?
KB: Yeah I was a fashion merchandising major. I went to Ole’ Miss and I was a fine arts major and then I transferred to Georgia Southern and I changed to Fashion Merchandising.
SS: In college my specialization was fashion merchandising but it seemed so hard to make a career out of it! Like I’m good at illustration but my heart wasn’t in it so I stuck to journalism [laughs].
KB: I actually just fell in love with illustration! It’s so crazy it came out of nowhere and now I’m in love with it. That’s a whole different subject [laughs] but Sheé Studio will be a full line. I’m going to incorporate my illustrations in with my clothing to create a line.
SS: That’ll be awesome! Did you think younger you would think this is where you’d be at this stage in your life?
KB: At 26? No! [laughs] I used to say ‘at 21 I’m going to be rich!’
SS: Shoot I thought I was going to be married [laughs].
KB: I always knew I was going to be creative. My grandma taught me how to sew, I had fabric and dress forms in my room, I went to a performing arts school so it’s always been there. But no one told me that this life is a hard life [laughs].
SS: [laughs] Right! Not for the weak at all. I know you moved here from Atlanta, how has coming from there to New York helped you creatively?
KB: In Atlanta I felt like I was trapped in this hip-hop, southern mentality. It’s still very creative, especially the black people, but I moved to New York because it has everything and it’s for everybody. There’s less discrimination, there’s more diversity so I wanted to come to a place that I could be exposed to all of that. New York has taught me so much and I’ll remember it forever.
SS: Do you think you’ll be here long term?
KB: I don’t know. I just back from Coachella and I’m like ‘should I move to L.A.?’
SS: Noooo booooooo don’t go! [laughs]. I do feel that though, I love New York but I love the west coast as well. Currently trying to create a bicoastal lifestyle.
KB: We’ll see! When I moved to New York I said I’d only be here for two years and then I’m out! But it’s been two years and my feet are just getting wet!
SS: Exactly! I feel like everyone wants to conquer New York because it would be so gratifying. I don’t even know what conquering New York entails.
KB: I feel like being comfortable in New York is conquering it. For me that is what it would be.
SS: That’s a good one. What’s your favorite part about designing?
KB: I think creating something I didn’t even know I was going to create. I can start with an idea and it comes out a totally different way and I’m like ‘oh shit this is dope!’ I’ve done that even with my illustrations. I recently did a Cardi B illustration and then I was like ‘wait let me animate this’ and her record label saw it and said it was dope!
SS: Yeah I saw that on your Instagram, it looked really cool. Earlier you talked about your YouTube channel, what do you want to do with that?
KB: So I’ve been on YouTube since college so I have a ton of videos and a decent amount of subscribers from back in the day. I put it to the side but now it’s going to be a little more lifestyle.
SS: I could definitely see that because on social you have a solid following! I hate using the word influencer but you are an influencer just not in a corny way because you have purpose behind what you do.
KB: Yeah I’m going to do DIY things and just trying makeup and hair things. Whatever I’m doing in my everyday I want to share it.
SS: The video space is truly the future of media. I commend anyone who can get in front of the camera all the time. I’m too awkward for that [laughs]. Do you see yourself doing Sheé Studio full-time?
KB: That’s the plan! To have my own boutique and be an influencer. Make videos, travel and live life.
SS: That sounds like a dream. What advice would you give to someone trying to launch their own line?
KB: I would say make a plan and do your research. Also have your own idea. A lot of people like to bite off of people and do the exact same thing and everyone can see right through that. If you have a unique idea, go for it.
SS: Last question, if you could go back in time what advice would you give high school you?
KB: I would say be more open to friendships and be more understanding and caring.