There’s been much commentary about video models who are often seen gyrating their ample derrieres in popular urban videos. What’s seldom touted is that many of these models will become successful entrepreneurs or respected CEOs at some point in their entertainment career. One such is St Thomas-born Keyshia Ka'Oir, the self-made millionaire CEO of Ka'Oir Cosmetics who once dominated the rap video scene. Keyshia has left her Video Vixen days behind to focus her attention on making neon lipsticks and nail lacquers at Ka’Oir Cosmetics. The vivacious video model, who made her first million at the age of 26 years old and who continues to defy industry expectations with the consistent growth of the Ka'Oir brand, is projected to make a million dollars in sales per month in the near future, a mere two years after the company started.
Operating out of her hometown of Miami, Florida, Ka’Oir ships her celeb-loving cosmetics all over the globe through her international Ka’Oir website. Co-incidentally, Ka’Oir launched the JAMAICA green Lip Collection sometime ago in celebration of the founder’s heritage and the company is expecting it to make a big impact this year given the 50th anniversary celebrations in Jamaica along with Jamaica’s anticipated performance in the London Olympics.
So, who is Keyshia Ka’Oir? SO sat down with the entrepreneur earlier this week to learn more.)
Heather Elliott (HE): You came across our radar sometime ago in New York City. Your lipsticks were just being introduced and industry people were taking notice. How does it feel for a newcomer in the competitive beauty business to make such immediate impact?
Keyshia Ka’Oir (KK): I feel that my look had a lot to do with it. When Ka’Oir was launched, it was different. As the face of the brand, I was different and unique. My lip colours were bold and bright and avant-garde. You couldn’t help but notice. It was right in your face.
HE: You made your first million in less than a year. Did that take you by surprise?
KK: Not really. I am very persistent and I knew what I wanted. I worked hard to make that happen. I own 100 per cent of my business so it took 100 per cent of my time to make the sales happen. I started out as a video model with a large fan base so they were, and continued to be, my primary customer base. I love my fans.
HE: What was the motivation behind the Ka’Oir brand?
KK: I am a stylist and I have a passion for cosmetics. That coupled with the fact that I have always wanted to succeed at my passion was the main motivation.
HE: What’s a typical day like for Keyshia?
KK: I’m an early riser so I am often up by 6:00am. I religiously go to the gym, get in some interviews here and there, check in with my creative and marketing teams, check my e-mails, Twitter and respond to phone calls. On the weekends, I travel very frequently all across the US to host parties and events. HE: What’s your must-have accessory?
KK: Apart from my lipsticks, maybe my shoe collection. HE: What’s next for Ka’Oir?
KK: We are just about to sign another big endorsement deal. The deal with Trina for the ‘Trina Rockstar’ lipstick was very successful so we are getting ready to launch another exclusive collection with an even bigger star. Can’t reveal the details yet.
HE: What advice do you have for your young fans?
KK: Education first! When I speak to young girls, as I am always requested to do, I encourage them to put the boys last and focus on their education and goals in life. I tell them to never, ever give up and the same success that I am enjoying they can, too, if they stick to their goals to the very end.