Disclaimer: While you are reading this post, I will be on the floor furiously hitting 50,ooo situps (you’ll see why in just a sec!)
Today’s MITM entrepreneur spotlight features Kristen Wiggins, founder of Royal Waistbeads, a company that offers handmade, luxury, made-to-order waist beads. I met Kristin at the June Mogul Meetup, and after just one conversation, I was really impressed by this young lady’s drive and determination. She made a bold and fearless move to LA from DC to pursue her dreams and quickly found herself immersed in the entrepreneurial scene. Not only does she design beautiful jewelry, she also documents her fun travel experiences in Peaches, Beaches, and Urbanistas, a travel blog she started with her best friend.
Check out her story…
Name: Kristen Wiggins
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Years in Business: Just over a year officially
Are you a full or part time business owner?
Part Time. I’m currently a full-time public relations assistant for a luxury cruise line, and during my time away from the office, I handle all things “side hustle.” I update and maintain Royal Waistbeads’ Etsy and independent website, respond to customer support messages, promote on social media, and touch base with my mom daily about our business.
I’m also spending a lot of time working on my other online based business, Peaches, Beaches, and Urbanistas, a travel blog recently launched by my best friend and I. We share our experiences in the post-collegiate world as we embrace new cities while reaching our goals. Our aim is to help inspire young women to step out of their comfort zones, make the most of their city, and to travel more. We are both big on travel; we share our travel tips and stories, and also plan on bringing on other guest writers to share their travel tales as well. Ultimately, I plan for this blog to aid as a segue to both launch an online travel store, and to serve as a platform for a podcast that will highlight young African American world travelers and entrepreneurs on the rise. I’m making the most out of my transition to Los Angeles so that I’ll have great content and insight for the blog!
Do you have a team or are you a one man/woman show?
I work beside my business partner, who also happens to be my mother! Well, we used to work side by side. Now, we are bicoastal since I moved away from home in Maryland to California.
Why did you start your business?
At first, I started wearing waistbeads because they were a really cute accessory that helped me feel confident in my body. Then, my mother and I started to learn and appreciate their cultural significance, so we created our own waistbeads. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate ancient African innovation, and make a connection with a tradition that our ancestors likely practiced as well. We’ve always been creative and good at crafting, so we tried our hands at jewelry making. The first waistbeads I bought weren’t the best quality, and popped easily. We wanted to make ones that would last, and we wanted to design patterns that would stand out. Our friends and family admired our handwork and encouraged us to make them available publicly online. The more we made, the more we loved it, and we noticed a lot of interest in our items. We became fully dedicated to sharing our modern spin on this wonderful form of jewelry.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of having your own business?
All of the positive customer feedback. It’s truly gratifying when women communicate the sense of empowerment they feel simply by wearing our waistbeads. We’ve had women order custom sets to wear in private for their significant other, complete with gemstones representing love and sensuality. One might tell us how much her husband loved them. We also have a lot of women ordering waistbeads for their vacation. We love to hear how excited they are to show them off with their swimsuits at the beach. Probably the most rewarding feedback we receive has to do with our customer service and the quality of our work. We put A LOT of effort into those aspects, so it feels great when customers take the time out to mention that. It’s an invaluable feeling to know that you have the ability to produce something special, and that your vision is well received.
What are your biggest challenges?
It is very time consuming to produce custom, handmade-to-order items. It’s definitely difficult to scale, as we’d have to compromise on the availability of styles and customization — which is what we pride Royal Waistbeads on. So right now, I’d say the biggest challenge is figuring out how to expand and open a second, scalable business, while still maintaining the growth of Royal Waistbeads and completing orders.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve heard countless beneficial gems of advice, but here’s a chunk of what I think is most important:
Find a way to make your passion profitable. You’ll be working hard day in and day out; you’ll get burnt out by doing something you don’t enjoy.
You don’t have to be perfect to START.
Create value and focus on your audience in everything you do.
Make sure you have a unique approach!
Where do you see your biz in the next 5 years?
Going beyond just Royal Waistbeads, my true vision is for waisbteads to become a staple piece of jewelry on girls and women across the world. It is still a relatively little known about practice, but I believe one day it will be just as common as wearing bracelets and necklaces. When people here in America, or even as far as Australia and Japan, see waistbeads, they will see a confident woman, and they will know the story behind this beautiful African tradition.
What advice would you give to other Moguls in the Making?
While you are building your brand, make sure you accomplish something every single day that helps you reach your goals. Continuously seek opportunities to better yourself as an entrepreneur — watch Youtube videos, read business blogs, listen to Podcasts, and take lots of notes. Prioritize. Never stop building, and never stop learning.
For more information on Kristen Wiggins and Royal Waistbeads, check them out online at:
If you would like to be featured in the MITM Entrepreneur Spotlight, please email your request to email@example.com
To Your Prosperity and Success,
Business Success Coach | Marketing Strategist | Motivational Speaker
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