What is your name and what do you do?
The answer to this question depends on your angle. (Lol) Today, I am Kendra Grimes, founder of Koko Stylings. Within that capacity, showcasing and enhancing my own, personal knowledge of all things fashion and style are my focal points, while simultaneously doing the same for others.
Where are you from and how has being from there affected you?
I am a “military brat” so we bounced around a lot throughout my childhood. Even still, Portsmouth, Virginia was “home” for my siblings and I. I think the exposure to different places gives me a sense of fearlessness and culture, but being from Portsmouth gives me a sense of pride. A lot of great people and innovative minds have come from the Hampton Roads area (i.e. Pharrell, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, etc); people that I think the world looks up to for their sense of individuality and creativity. That makes me all the more inspired when I think of my own path and the impact that I hope/plan to have on my city, the world and life, as a whole.
As a child, what did you want to be and why?
I’ve always been involved in something art-related, so it was evident early on that I wanted to sing, act or do something within that realm. It just came naturally, so being a “superstar” was always on my career list. As a child, the sky is the limit, so the details of my super-stardom was broad. I wanted to be a singer, a fashion designer, an entertainment lawyer, and the list goes on! I was quite ambitious!
Where did your passion for fashion come from?
My paternal grandmother, mother and paternal aunt always had me and my siblings/cousins in a mall. They are certified shopaholics, so at an early age, I developed an opinion on what I wanted to wear because I was present during the buying process. I think my grandmother’s business-casual wardrobe truly sparked my love for well-coordinated ensembles and clean cut looks. My mother was the black, officer’s wife, so she was always more than presentable. She had to represent! Needless to say, all of those influences birthed my desire to do the same — represent/express myself through my clothing.
What does an average day look like for you?
I work a nine-to-five alongside pursuing my dreams, so the majority of my day consists of doing work for someone else’s vision. (BLAGH!) Throughout the day, I make it a point to show my personal vision some love by updating my social media page and contacting collaborators for upcoming endeavors. Once I get off, that’s when the real fun begins. I try to complete one major task each evening. That can consist of prepping looks for a shoot, shooting, organizing a concept for a vlog, shooting said “vlog”, conducting a meeting over FaceTime with another visionary, updating the social media page (yes, AGAIN), brainstorming, etc. The tasks are truly endless and in the midst of all of that, I have a super energetic four year old on my hands. Mom-ing takes precedent, so there are days when I don’t get to give my dreams all that I’d like to, so the next day, I try to go harder, and so on and so forth.
What has helped your business get to where you are now?
I am truly a novice in the entrepreneurial game, but I think one thing that has been the core of my business operations has been social media. Instagram has acted as my sanctuary. This is where I promote, post, make connections with other fashion bloggers, models, potential collaborators, etc.
What has been a tangible hack or a short cut that has helped you get to where you are now?
I won’t say this is a “short cut” but something that has allowed me to present myself in a manner that enables me to be viewed in a certain/positive light has been my use of a professional photographer. Phone cameras have come a long way, so using one to capture one’s daily outfit can come out looking great and I don’t knock anyone who’s doing it, but I told myself that I was going to offer magazine quality photos from the start. That’s what I’ve done and I think it just gives my grid a sharp look. Your photo grid (the first nine to twelve photos that one sees when they click on your profile) is almost like your social media business card & I simply wanted mine to have a clean look. I think it represents me, well, and leads anyone that clicks on my page to also get a distinct vibe from me.
Random: Favorite music album in the last year?
This is tough. I actually listen to “More Life” daily, just because it gives me a carefree vibe. I love that Hov gave us an album we could listen to straight through, though. So it would be between “More Life” and “4:44” for me. (Kendrick actually re-grasped me as a fan with “Damn.”, though, so I’m just going to say there has been some great music released in 2017! lol)
What is next for yourself?
Getting better. I think that’s my ultimate goal. I won’t limit myself to one direction, but I will say that whatever I do, I’m going to do it to the best of my abilities and do it better each time.
How can people contact you?
I can always be reached via e-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org. I also respond to DMs, so follow me on Instagram: @kokostylings. Let’s converse! I’m always down to learn, collaborate and have my own brain picked!