We had the good fortune of connecting with Sevana Dimijian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sevana, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I grew up watching my parents start and grow their business and knew I would one day do the same. I understood that it would mean long hours and hard work, but it seemed worth it to have ownership of my creative output.
I started out in the corporate world and eventually landed a job that many would dream of- but all the while entrepreneurship was always in the back of my mind. The corporate environment and workplace politics left me extremely unhappy, so I realized it was time for a change in direction.
I set out to New York to study hat making with an experienced milliner. Soon after, a family member returned from our ancestral homeland with beautiful fabrics that I began to hem and sew around hats. That’s when KIYL’s mission came to life. My goal was to create a line of thoughtfully handcrafted hats while empowering artisan women in various rural areas around the world.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We currently partner with women artisans in Guatemala and Peru and collaborate on designs for our bands. Each one is handwoven and uniquely made for KIYL hats. Purchasing the bands from our artisan partners directly supports them, their families, and their communities. We have two new partnerships coming soon, and our aim is to expand with more artisans across the globe.
There are many steps involved in the making of each style; from creating the bands, to designing the hats in my LA studio, to then having them hand-made in New York in small batches. It takes a lot of time management and attention to detail, but it’s extremely rewarding to see the end result. I’m grateful for the various women who are part of our KIYL community that help keep the brand moving forward. Launching during the pandemic was tough and the challenges are constant, but focusing on what I’ve accomplished creatively keeps me grounded. For me, it’s about patience, consistency, and loving what you create.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
LA is the perfect city for whatever you’re in the mood for. I usually fill my free time catching a show at one of LA’s many venues like The Fonda, or Resident in DTLA. I also like to take advantage of our weather and go on hikes at Griffith, venture into nurseries, or sit in outdoor restaurants like Salazar for tacos and drinks. A desert trip to Joshua Tree is also always a must.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My friends and family have been vital in keeping me sane and moving forward. Their encouragement and support gave me the confidence I needed in moments of doubt, so I definitely wouldn’t be here without them. My family was my backbone when I decided to leave my job, and my friends were a phone call away when I needed guidance, or someone to talk to. I’m constantly grateful for their love and support!
Katherine Afifi Arali West Threads of Peru Mark Van Wormer