You are going to looooove this next Mom-owned Business as much as we do. Kikki and Franki has really become a household name in the Kids Industry, and with this interview, you’ll get a little glimpse of why, as well as what goes on behind the scenes.
**To find out more, click on their social media links at the bottom of the page
- Tell us a bit about yourself and what motivated and inspired you to start Kikki and Franki.
I have been a fully qualified Graphic Designer by trade since 2003. In 2012 I purchased a very popular kids retail franchise and decorated my store with the gorgeous vinyl and wooden laser cut pieces I had designed and manufactured. A lot of moms would walk in and want exactly that. So, we decided to expand our design side and not only come up with a standard, off-the-shelf, retail range but to also customize things to fit perfectly with our customers decor. Because we love the baby and kid’s industry so much, we decided to start with that.
Passionate is an understatement when it comes to my brand, I truly walk into my studio every single day feeling excited for work. I just LOVE what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Kikki and Franki comes from my kid’s nicknames. Kikki being my son and Franki my daughter, who will always be my number one job and the centre of my universe. I am the luckiest Mama in the world to have these two Hooligans in my life.
- What type of products do you sell?
Kikki & Franki is a proudly South African, woman-run, small manufacturing business, empowering previously unemployed ladies We manufacture 99% of our products in house from beginning to end, from design to packaging. Our bespoke range of wall art and other accessories will captivate your imagination and put the finishing touch on just about any room. We are also home to the original Milestone Muslin Blanket which is a memory keepsake that is just too special not to have.
- What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
I spent 6 months solely designing my range, my online store, the branding & packaging and of course manufacturing a stock pile before my launch at Mama Magic in December 2016. I concentrated on what I knew my customers would want judging by my experience in the market but something a little more different. Then I stressed myself out… A LOT! About things like “What if the market does not like what I have to offer?”, “Is this box eye-catching enough?” or “Which boob did I feed Frankie on last?” You know, the usual Mom-Boss juggle. I had sleepless nights long before the launch and I over thought EVERYTHING and definitely drove my family crazy. I made sure I had a solid business plan and concrete goals & targets that I forced myself to reach every single month
- How has being a Mom changed the way you think about your business?
It hasn’t really, my family has always come first so when my babies came along it was a no brainer that they would be put before everything and anything. Having said that though I am extremely dedicated to work and Kikki & Franki is definitely my 3rd baby. The only thing having kids might have affected is my design work for nurseries. When my son turned 3 and I had to go through the costly expense of changing his entire room because it was too “babyish” for a “big” boy I swore I wouldn’t do the same with my next kid. So I do nursery/room designs that will last them until they are at least 10, if not 30. LOL.
- Tell us about how your children have inspired you.
Their stories and little creative imaginations take me to far away mystical places every day, so that really gets my creative juices flowing. Also just looking at them every day and knowing I want to give them everything they could ever need just inspires me to work even harder.
- Tips on keeping the spark alive in your marriage with your own business and family?
I know it sounds cliched but honestly it is the truth… Laughter is by far the best medicine. So thank God, I have a really hilarious husband who helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel… Sometimes the tunnels are really dark and really long but he gets me there. Also having the kids in bed by 7 gives us some sanity and alone time.
- What types of marketing strategies have worked best for you?
Definitely our social media platforms and my dear Blogger moms I work so closely with help soooo much. Of course being listed in retail stores also gives our brand some shelf life.
- You often do markets. What type of advice can you give other small businesses in regards to type of markets, decor setup, or marketing?
Stand out, make sure your products are well presented and your stand neat and beautiful. Connect with the public and listen to their needs, it is usually what your target audience wants from you. Pick your markets wisely, they are not all great. If your clientele is high end, make sure you pick high end markets or you are just wasting your time. Markets are hard work so be prepared to be standing for 8hrs a day, 3 or 4 days running BUT they are also so rewarding when the public takes to your range so well.
- Who are 3 of your own Mom-run Business you love?
Oh my goodness, I have so, so many! A few of my favourites though are Lullaby Rock, Little, Tiny necessities, Rose & Vickory, Charlies boxes, Baby Couture. I could literally go on FOREVER! I love too many to only decide on 3. I am a BIG supporter of local and even feel guilty when I shop at big retail stores.
- What are you currently working on?
Oooo, I am so excited for our new range. We are working on a Proudly South African range but with a real twist, not your average African look. It will be launching in March and we have things like beautiful Protea water colour wall art & sketched rhino’s. I absolutely love it and I cannot wait.
- Where do you see Kikki and Franki in 5 years?
I would like to see Kikki & Franki as not just a place to shop for kids but for the entire home. We want to be everywhere and the one stop shop for your “Pinterest” perfect look. 😊
- Do you have any advice for other moms who run their own business?
YES! Do not quit your day job unless you have done your market research. You will not have a salary for at least 6 months, make sure you have the capital and support you will need to grow. Have a solid business plan and targets you need to reach. If you think it is easy, it is far from that, so be prepared to work weekends and overtime. If you are not doing the work, no one else is going to do it for you. When you take a sick day, your business comes to a standstill, so you have to know that time away is money lost. Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing, if you do not love your products, chances are, no one else will. It is hard work BUT it is super rewarding.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES:
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is… Trusting my staff to do things the way I expect them to be done. (Yes, I am a control freak) Teaching unemployed ladies how to do my job and giving them the skills they wouldn’t have otherwise had also took a great deal of will from my side, I am so protective of my brand that it is hard to let go.
If I could go back in time to when I started by business, I would tell myself… That everything is going to be okay!
My favourite business tool/resource/book/podcast is… All I can say is “Thank goodness for social media and online shopping” It makes a big world a little smaller.
My favourite quote is… “with God, all things are possible”- Matthew 19:26 and “Kids are like suppositories, they are always up you’re a$$” -Bryerly Nassif
My greatest fear is.. Failure
Myself in one word… Real
Something few people know about me is… I love watching people fall, I know its horrible but I am so clumsy that I get a little satisfaction out of seeing others the same way. LOL
My very first job was… I was a waitress at Calisto’s Portuguese Cuisine
My biggest pet peeve is... incompetence and laziness
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be... Ray Kroc (to learn how to be ruthless in business) and Gerard Butler (So I can stare at the beauty of “I am Spartan”)
Visit the site to see all the other special goodies Kikki and Franki have to offer:
And follow us on Instagram
and on Facebook
and Website to see more of their custom made items.
Would you like to win a FABULOUS Kikki & Franki milestone muslin blanket? Easy! Head over to their Facebook page, make sure you like/follow both Kikki & Franki, as well as MonaLisa Mamas. Then seal the deal by commenting what your (other!) favourite Kikki & Franki product is, and you may just be walking away with one of their GORGEOUS Milestone Muslin blankets!
Don’t forget to share the love!