We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Making clothes always intrigued me. I used to sketch my own designs as a kid and way before learning to use a sewing machine, my grandma taught me to hand sew. I used to bother her all the time to mend a seam or patch a rip and she would always laugh and say “I taught you how to do this, you do it!” But, everything just feels better when your grandma does it for you. It wasn’t until the middle of my third year of college that I started hand sewing myself. Sewing was peaceful to me so I started making pillowcases. Every stitch was by hand, so they took me about 45 minutes to make and perfect. I got a few orders and I took the money and bought a sewing machine. A year later, I was up late and kept thinking about a certain pair of pants that I wanted but couldn’t find, so I wanted to learn how to make them. I binge watched YouTube videos for hours and hours, night after night for about a week until I felt comfortable enough to try myself. And that’s when everything started moving fast. I made my first shirt and pair of pants in a week, three weeks later I was having a photoshoot with friends to launch my brand,
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, but usually any path worth actually taking is going to have a few bumps and nicks. I didn’t even learn to use my sewing machine until a full year after I bought it because I expected to learn how to quicker than I did. I got extremely frustrated over a relatively simple problem, even though it didn’t feel simple at the time. I feel like this one experience taught me a lesson for the hundreds of thousands of frustrating experiences I was going to have while not just using a sewing machine, but starting a business, and taking my brand to the next level. Not one day goes by where absolutely nothing goes wrong, but I’ve learned to charge it to the game. I’m still learning how to not be so hard on myself when the process isn’t perfect, because it will never be perfect. There will ALWAYS be something more that could have been done, something else that should have happened; but I can only provide my best. My biggest lesson being a perfectionist is that my best is more than good enough.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting the area and I wanted to show her the best time ever, we would try one of my favorite vegan-friendly spots called Pots n’ Wok and take our food to a park nearby and have a cute lunch date. Then, we would head to Long Beach and get on a private 14-passenger speedboat and enjoy the water and adrenaline. As the sun starts to set, we would head to the beach and find a bar where we could have cute drinks while watching the sun fall and planning our next girls trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to all of my close friends, family, and everyone else that has supported my journey thus far. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to give up because I felt that I did not have the strength to keep me going. It is in those moments when you need an extra push from people that have seen you put in the effort, so they can remind you of where you’re headed.
Photographer – @shotbykarra