By Ezra Firestone and Vivian Kaye | 9/30/2020
Want to see more of Vivian Kaye? Then don’t miss her session at Smart Traffic Live 2020! Join Ezra, Molly and 30+ other experts for 3 days packed with the latest strategies in paid advertising & digital marketing — all from the comfort of your home.
Too much competition? Can’t compete on price?
Here’s how to use brand story to stand out in a saturated market.
Vivian Kaye (@itsviviankaye) is the Founder of KinkyCurlyYaki, a Black-owned ecommerce brand that sells handcrafted hair extensions.
She recently spoke to my Blue Ribbon Mastermind to share the marketing strategies she’s using to build a strong brand story and compete with bigger corporations in a crowded niche dominated by low prices.
- Choosing a Product
- Building a Brand
- Creating Content
Now I’ll pass it off to Vivian to walk you through her strategy:
1. Choosing a Product
Hair extensions and wigs is a niche that’s currently valued at $10 billion dollars.
It’s a niche market and to get a piece of that market share, I zeroed in on a sub-niche product. Within the one niche of hair extensions and wigs there are all these different textures. So when I created a texture, I created a niche that didn’t exist.
“In 2012 when I started this company, there were no companies just selling kinky hair. I created that niche.”
And because of that KinkyCurlyYaki became an O.G. of the textured human hair extensions niche.
2. Creating a Brand Story
I am one of the few 100% Black-owned companies in the niche.
This is really, really important in our space because a lot of Black beauty supply stores, Black haircare brands and Black hair extension brands are actually Asian owned — and they use Black girls as fronts to market to Black women.
Black haircare brands have a history of not being Black-owned and operated. So as one of the very few companies who are, I make it a point to include that in my brand story.
The customer that’s buying from me knows that a Black woman created this product. It’s for us, by us — I am the customer.
“I can’t compete with Chinese companies on price, but where I can compete with them is on my story.”
We don’t have the history of having Black-owned hair businesses, so I used that to my advantage. That’s how I win. I can use my personal story to create an emotional connection with my audience.
Here’s a photo I posted on our brand feed with me and my son last Christmas.
Unfortunately, the single mother thing is quite prevalent in the Black community — I’m not saying I’m using that to my advantage, but it is part of my story, and it’s a relatable one.
“I always make it a point to show my customers who they’re supporting.”
At KinkyCurlyYaki, you’re not just buying random products off the internet; you’re supporting me and my son, and I thank [my customers] profusely for that.
Because if there’s one thing that happens a lot in our community, it’s that we don’t get a lot of thanks from our own businesses.
3. Creating Content
So what content works best for me?
- Instagram & Instagram Stories
- Product Tutorials
- Influencer Marketing
We do a lot of face-to-camera videos and Instagram Stories of me in my bathroom.
@kinkycurlyyaki has over 5,000 posts on Instagram and has built an audience of 78,000 followers through content marketing.
“How to” videos, product demonstrations, and before-and-after videos all really resonate. Since 2012, we also worked with up-and-coming vloggers and influencers who were committed to growing their brand. And because we built relationships with our influencers and grew up together in this industry, we’ve been able to help each other do great things.
I also collaborate with other Black-owned brands, and then of course that expands both of our audiences because we want to support people who look like us:
To see more of Vivian Kaye’s branded content on Instagram and Instagram Stories visit her page at @kinkycurlyyaki. It’s a great follow!
Ready to Build Your Own Shopify Store?
Check out Vivian Kaye’s Shopify Prep Academy for live coaching to help get you started! In this series of 4 webinar trainings, you’ll learn the essentials of setting up a successful Shopify store from a founding Shopify Compass Instructor.
You’ll finally get straight answers to questions like these:
- What is Shopify and can it actually work for my business?
- How do I manage shipping, create products, set pricing and get paid?
- How do I create a branded experience with their platform?
- Can I customize Shopify to match my specific business and scale?
Vivian Kaye spent 8 years building KinkyCurlyYaki into a 7-figure Shopify store and now she’s going to teach you exactly how to navigate the process for yourself.
Are you ready to master Shopify and start selling online?
Vivian Kaye (@itsviviankaye) is the Founder of the ecommerce brand KinkyCurlyYaki. She has been featured on Shopify’s Expert Academy Series and on Shopify’s Vanguard Podcast, as well as in digital publications such as Black Enterprise, Ebony Magazine, Refinery21, and Blavity.