We interviewed the charismatic and passionate founder of Kiya Cosmetics Kay Amoah. Kiya Cosmetics a skincare brand that specialises in high quality natural hair and skincare brand products derived from authentic ingredients. The brand was first conceptualized back in 2013 which started on her YouTube channel and documenting her then natural hair journey even with the help of her husband to shave her head! A few years later her two daughters reinforced her passion to change the narrative of natural hair and the misconception of natural hair for her daughters as they once yearned for straight hair like their friends. We discuss entrepreneurship and why natural hair matters to her!
What inspired you to create Kiya Cosmetics and how did the idea come about?
I was inspired to create Kiya Cosmetics by my daughters and having a passion for hair care for many years which lead to me starting a YouTube channel. Over the years of researching different hair products and techniques this lead to me deciding to return to my natural hair. I had been relaxed since childhood and was clueless about my natural texture or how to care for it. My husband helped me to big chop in June 2017 by shaving my hair off.
I noticed after big chopping that my eldest daughter now 7 instantly became happier with her own natural hair and asked me to style it in a variety of natural styles, whereas before she would always ask to have a pony-tail similar to her straight haired friends. This encouraged me to really embrace my journey, and as I delved deeper I began to really experiment with different natural ingredients such as shea butter and various oils. I came up with a whipped shea butter recipe that was very moisturising and worked amazingly well with not only my hair but my daughters also. Soon after, Kiya Cosmetics was born.
What is your career background?
I started out my career in the administration field, with a few admin roles, my last being an executive assistant at HSBC. Not long after finishing that contract last year, I got pregnant with my third child and so I’ve been at home full time since then. She’s now 9 months old.
Describe the life of an entrepreneur in three words?
Busy, exciting, rewarding.
Can you tell me about your products and what distinguishes you from other skincare products at the moment?
I offer a range of four products.
The first product I came up with was my Whipped Shea Butter which comes in four different scents; The Original Whip, The Peppermint Whip, The Citrus Whip and The lavender Whip. Each of my Whipped Shea Butters have been enhanced with specially picked oils which boast a range of benefits to the hair and skin, all of which have been listed on my website.
The second product offer is Kiya’s Hair Growth Oil. It is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients that effectively stimulate stronger hair and faster hair growth.
The the third is my Aloe and Lavender Hydrating Hair Mist. This is a natural hair mist that is extremely moisturising and truly hydrates your hair. It delicately freshens your curls and is particularly effective on dry or curly hair.
My fourth product is my African Black Soap. It is truly authentic and comes in a brown, marbled colour. This is the key way to tell if black soap is authentic or not, it should not actually be black in colour. Our black soap has the ability to help lighten and reduce dark spots and marks on the skin, and even out blemishes and discolouration whilst fighting against acne. You can also use it to cleanse your hair and scalp.
A lot of thought and research has gone into the formulation of Kiya products, ensuring that they are full of rich natural ingredients that are not only healthy, but actually beneficial in terms of improving the quality of the hair and skin.
We have also taken care to list not only the ingredients on our website but also information about how the ingredients can work and benefit you in order to educate our customers about what they are using and why they are using them.
Each of our products are good enough on their own but they also work amazingly well together as a range in order to leave your hair and skin more moisturised, and to also encourage hair growth & length retention.
Are there any other female entrepreneurs that have inspired you during your entrepreneurial journey?
I have definitely been inspired by various female entrepreneurs on my journey so far such as Courtney Adeleye the founder of The Mane Choice. I love her story of how she started out and grew her business to the large empire it is today. Closer to home, I have also been inspired by the likes of Sandra Brown-Pinnock who is the owner and founder of Xsandy’s afro hair and beauty supply store, and also Jamelia Donaldson who is the founder of the subscription box, Treasure Tress. They have both worked really hard to not only create awareness that there is a need for beauty products that cater to curlier and more textured hair types within the UK beauty industry, but they have also set out to fulfil that need which is what I also aim to do with Kiya Cosmetics.
What advice would you give to other women that want to start their own business?
I would say just go for it. Thinking and planning is good, but the longer you take, the more likely you will end up talking yourself out of it. It is such an exciting journey and definitely worth the risk.
What has been your biggest achievement during this journey?
My biggest achievement so far was actually launching my website and being blessed with multiple sales from day one. It was a stressful journey just getting to launch, dealing with different suppliers, getting the packaging just right and the actually building of the site itself so I was really proud of myself for sticking it out and getting the business up and running.
What is the greatest risk you have taken so far?
I would say just investing in the initial start-up costs, equipment, ingredients etc. I had no idea if anyone would even be interested in the brand or the products but I just stepped out in faith and went for it.
Where do you see Kiya Cosmetics in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years by the grace, I see Kiya Cosmetics being an international brand with a much larger range of natural hair and skin care products. I would also like to explore customised products where we offer a few products that customers can customise to suit their own preferences.
You can find Kiya Cosmetics by clicking here!
All images courtesy of Kay Amoah