In July 2011, Kyla began pressing the petals of Peruvian lilies. At the time, she thought, "Maybe I can create jewelry this way?" So, she sealed the lilies in a secure, lightweight material, and voila! Floral elegance in a wearable form. Since then, she has incorporated many types of flowers and leaves, even some herbs. She harvests most of her materials from plants in her Oakland garden and nearby areas. For four weeks, she preserves the plants in handmade wooden presses. When fully dried, she seals the petals and leaves in a thin plastic, which makes the jewelry durable and lightweight. All pieces are then hand-cut to ensure their integrity, and copper metal findings complement the plants' natural tones.
1. What led you to discovering your passion?
IMPRESSED by nature evolved organically from a desire to preserve flowers in a wearable form. After completing my elementary teaching degree in 2011, I received a bouquet of flowers from my family. When the flowers began to wilt and petals started falling to the ground, I was enamored by them and inspired to hold them to my ears as makeshift earrings. At that moment, I decided to determine a means for protecting the petals and preserving their natural form in a fashionable way. I researched the process of pressing flowers, slid the petals in between the pages of some heavy books, and after the first pressing cycle (four weeks), I created my first pair of earrings!
I never expected that those first pairs of earrings would be the catalyst to creating the jewelry line that it is today--I currently create a new seasonal collection twice a year. I always loved creating new things and experimenting with craft projects and I have been a flower lover since I was a kid. It has been a dream come true to be able to combine these into a fun and fruitful business.
2. What is the craziest hurdle you've had to jump and what advice would you have given to past you?
I began my business selling on Etsy and at local craft fairs and art shows. In the summer of 2012, I was exhibiting at a local show in San Francisco. Within the first 10 minutes of the show, I was approached by a prestigious museum store to purchase my work wholesale. It was the first time I had begun to think about expanding into the wholesale market in an official way, but it was the exact push I needed to continue solidifying my brand and making important decisions toward growing a sustainable business. During the following month, I hustled to get photos taken, create linesheets, and present my first cohesive collection. The first meeting with the museum was terrifying, but the hard work paid off and I successfully landed my first big wholesale account.
Looking back on this (and many other turning points in my business), I think I could have been more prepared for that moment--I had been thinking about wholesale for a couple months before that show, but never really pushed to get all my ducks in a row. I have had other experiences that mirror this one--one moment becomes the catalyst for taking the next step in my business--and while I like the organic nature of this process, I also think there is value in being more intentional about the direction of your business.
3. When you aren't focusing on your main hustle, what are you up to?
Currently, I am balancing between business and wedding planning. I am getting married in August and my life is consumed with wedding details. In an average year, though, I can be found doing any of the following things: seeing live music, practicing yoga, hiking the beautiful Bay Area, gardening (veggies and flowers), and enjoying great food and drink at the abundance of amazing restaurants nearby.
4. What is your favorite place in your city (home town, current residence, or both)?
I grew up on the North Shore of Boston, MA. My favorite place to go is Plum Island, which has beautiful, quaint beaches. Half of the island is in Newbury, MA and half is in Newburyport, MA. If you ever have the chance to go, Newburyport hosts a fun Yankee Homecoming week celebration at the end of July each year, filled with music, food, and fireworks.
I currently live in Oakland, CA. My favorite place to go here is the Claremont Canyon fire trail hike. The hike is steep and a great workout, and the views at the top are breathtaking.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ultimately, I hope to be creating unique products that bring awareness back to nature and bring joy to others.
BONUS : What's your favorite song right at this moment?
I am a little obsessed with the new Damien Rice song, "I Don't Want To Change You". I just saw him perform at the Fox Theater!