Although the barrier to entry into the fashion industry is low, it’s also fickle and highly competitive. Yet, when Kevin Afuwah and two childhood friends started Royal Kulture, their unique spin on dashikis took off! Soon, they found themselves relocating from NYC to L.A. for cost-efficient production. In this episode, Kevin reminisces on how they scaled their brand, attracting celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyonce, only to shut it down. Find out why.
141: How I Scaled & Why I Shut Down My Critically-Acclaimed Fashion Company featuring Kevin Afuwah
Special Guest: Kevin Afuwah, Co-Founder & CEO – Royal Kulture
Location: New York City, NY USA
- The Dashiki Strikes Back…with Royal Kulture: an article about Kevin and Royal Kulture by Andrew Asch for California Apparel News.
- Meet Two Emerging Designers Who Used Instagram to Start Their Businesses: an article featuring Kevin and how he leveraged IG to build the Royal Kulture brand – by Ariana Marsh for Teen Vogue.
- BigCartel: an e-commerce platform dedicated to helping “…artists, makers, and small brands open a store and start making a living doing what they love.”
- Shopify: an e-commerce platform that enables entrepreneurs to create online stores to sell their products.
- United States Patent & Trademark Office: the primary source for securing intellectual property protection for copyrights, patents, and trademarks in the United States.
- Kiva Zip: an online crowdfunding platform by Kiva “…dedicated to reaching new types of borrowers and funding 0% interest loans for people who have been unable to access other sources of credit to live their dreams.”
- Fashion Districts: if you’re interested in starting a fashion company or getting involved in fashion, Kevin mentioned seeking out the nearest fashion district where you live. As he mentioned in his interview, in these districts lie invaluable information you simply won’t find on Google. As an example, these are links to a few fashion districts in major cities around the world: Los Angeles New York London Paris Milan Tokyo Hong Kong Johannesburg
The Law (or Principle) of Diminishing Marginal Returns (or Productivity) Explained in One Minute: this video explains part of the reason why Royal Kulture ultimately decided to close their doors, despite phenomenal success:
Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
Podcast Editor: Olanrewaju Adeyemo
Sponsor: Equilibria, Inc.
More About Guest, Kevin Afuwah:
Kevin Afuwah’s journey into the digital media industry began after launching the successful e-Commerce apparel brand, Royal Kulture. By heavily leveraging social media, he was able to successfully place his designs on a litany of A-list celebrities and fashion icons, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyoncé, Zendaya, Angela Simmons, and many more–allowing his brand to go viral and attract significant media attention globally. Kevin was featured in Cosmopolitan & Teen Vogue magazine in April 2015, highlighted as one of the top digital entrepreneurs utilizing Instagram to grow his robust start-up fashion brand.
Kevin has also worked at the global ad agency, Initiative, where he managed digital media activation for various brands such as FDA Multicultural, Trane American Standard, and MillerCoors. He was also an independent digital marketing consultant for the Japanese tech giant Fujitsu, uniquely chosen to manage large digital transformation projects for Moody’s Analytics and the Government of Alberta Canada.
Kevin most recently worked at Publicis subsidiary, Spark Foundry contributing to the integrated media strategy/planning process & overseeing digital activation for Comcast Xfinity Retail efforts nationwide.
More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc.. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu™ framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success. It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 38+ countries.
More About Sponsor, Equilibria:
Equilibria, Inc. is a 15-year-old boutique operations management consulting firm. We build the business infrastructure necessary for fast-growing businesses to scale with less pain. With a range of services and products, entrepreneurs can get the operational support and resources they need on-demand.