We had the good fortune of connecting with kyLA Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi kyLA, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My entire career is built on taking risks. By day, I work in corporate America for a major player in the beauty industry, and by night I own my own lifestyle brand, called Apartment 119. Working a 9-5 and a 6-10 is tough, but it is 100% worth it. Apartment 119 is my way of investing in myself and expressing my creative side, which is a fairly large pivot from my job in the makeup world. My career was built my career from the ground up, and it has been nothing but risk-after-risk from day one. I began as a makeup artist-by-day, who was moonlighting as a creative entrepreneur at night. After several years working around the clock, I also found myself in a long distance relationship. I made a giant move across the country for love and in the process, it also jump-started my career. I was able to maintain my job, and grew leaps within the company over the next few years. From there, my company asked for another big jump and my husband and I made another cross-country move. I’ve grown from makeup counter mall employee to AVP of Global Marketing in 10 years, all while under 40 and still growing Apartment 119. The biggest risks for me have been not been the cross-country moves, or even the double dip between my day job and my side hustle. The biggest risk has been the enormous leaps of faith and personal commitment to believe i am worthy of the growth I achieved. It’s not letting imposter syndrome knock me down, and knowing that if i take a flying leap, that even if I don’t land flawlessly, I will land it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve created under many monikers over the years, all of which led to the starting a lifestyle brand called APARTMENT 119. 119 is a home decor hub for homies with good vibes, and a way to share messages of positivity and snappy one-liners in unique color combos that elevate your every day life. Through social media and in our online store, we share our wild, artsy style of home design and give our followers daily glimpses into our real world. Many of our products and sayings are inspired by things that happen in the moment, such as a fan favorite that reads “DON’T MAKE ME HAVE TO ‘PER MY LAST EMAIL’ YOUR ASS”. Our 119 Homies hang with us because what we present to them is real, authentic, and in tune with every day happenings. What we are learning (we is my husband and I) is that people love to see and connect with others who feel ‘real’. Our business is very much connected to our consumers and is spreading by word of mouth quickly, because people feel like they are a part of 119 too. Every piece we design and every item we sell is seeded in real experiences, and make our brand feel super relatable to any one who stumbles across 119. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would go to the DTLA Arts District immediately! The Arts District is a huge source of inspiration for APARTMENT 119, and was where my relationship with my husband came to be. About 12 or 13 years ago, our entire aesthetic was born at a time when I lived in a tiny 1-room studio on Hewitt Street and my husband would fly in from Detroit to visit me. He would walk around Little Tokyo while I went to the mall to sell makeup as my day job, and then we would meet up to eat street food and create all night every time he was in town. That little strip of neighborhood, though so close to skid row, is the most comforting place I can go to get inspired and feel connected creatively. I would tell anyone who comes to town to walk the area, take it in, breathe the city air. Go over to Little Tokyo and eat your way through all of the great little spots they have to offer, then go to the market inside the Little Tokyo Mall and buy goodies that Whole Foods has never heard of. Then take yourself on an art tour, find a great coffee or cocktail in one of the little annexes, and just vibe all the way out.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
constantly inspired by @downtownpepper, who’s journey from makeup artist to crystal shop owner and guru gives me life!
Other: personal IG: @callmekyLA