When I moved to Kansas City, one of the woman that I met in my church community was Kilee Nickels. After a few weeks of walking around liberty and Kansas City I started to recognize a very specific leather tear drop earring attached to everyone's ear lobes. It seemed like everyone and their 12 year old daughter had a pair and I wanted to know where they came from! Come to find out Kilee Nickels, co-owner of Nickel and Suede and blogger at One Little Momma was the maker and mastermind behind the earrings and she had some big things in store!
I had the opportunity to get to know Kilee more for this blog series and I have to say that i'm so impressed at the footprint that she's making in Liberty and Kansas City. She is a hard working mother of four adorable boys and she rocks it!
Whats Nickel and suede's background? Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
My husband Soren and I both own Nickel & Suede and we've been working together since we started in 2014. We have four little boys between the ages of 10 months and 7 years old, so we're never busy. ;) We spend most of our time either working together or doing things with the kids. An occasional date night is a treat. Before starting N&S my husband worked as a CPA and I wrote (still write) my blog One Little Momma while staying home with our kiddos.
What brought you to the Liberty Missouri?
I grew up in Missouri and I never imagined coming back here to live and raise a family. I went away to college at BYU and met Soren while at school there. We got married and ended up taking a job in Seattle out of college. After we had our second baby we decided to try and move closer to family. We were looking for a place to raise a big family and to be able to afford a house, neither of which was really possible in Seattle. Because my parents are both still here in Liberty, and we knew we could afford a house there, it quickly became the best option to relocate to. We moved back six years ago and have loved it ever since.
Why did you choose to open an online and brick and mortar location?
Well we definitely didn't mean to, but it's been a wonderful and exciting things! We started off and continue to be mainly an online business. My blog One Little Momma gave us an instant audience to share our products with and N&S continued to grow outside of that. We ship all over the world and the online orders really are the majority of our business. For the first two years of N&S we were operating out of our basement and although that was convenient, it wasn't the perfect set up. As word of mouth grew our following locally, many women wanted to pick up earrings from us in person. We tried to accommodate that by offering local pick up at our house, but it began to be too much. We knew we needed to open some kind of retail store just to save our neighbors from having to order our products online. What we thought would be just a place for a few people to come pick up earrings weekly has turned into it's own beast. The store makes up a big percentage of our sales now and I didn't see that coming! We do love that it helps us to be closer to our community and really interact with our customers in a way that is different than online sales. (Nickel and Suede's Brick and mortar store is located at 111 N. Water St. Liberty, MO 64068)
What's your favorite thing about working with women?
I love helping women stretch and to become more. That may be through reading an uplifting or incredibly vulnerable blog post I've written or by wearing a pair of big earrings for the first time in their life. Both situations push down walls inside of them and allow them to gain the confidence that taking risks can bring. It's really rewarding to be a part of helping someone to feel less alone, to gain self confidence and to help them feel empowered in some way.
How do you feel like your business has empowered you as a mother and the women around you?
I'm amazed at how many ways starting and growing this business has stretched me. There are some days where I can't believe it is the same day because of how many things have move forward and gotten done. Other days it's the opposite. But I am still amazed at how many ways I've changed for the better because of the demands on me, whether from work or from being a mom. I always tell people that the reason I get so much done (although that is all relative to the day) is because of my kids. Being a mom and a wife has really takes so much of my time and energy that it could be my full time gig. I love being both of those things, but I have found that I also need my own creative thing in order to be a whole and complete me. Finding time to create and build something outside of motherhood has forced me to be very efficient and organized. I say organized, but that's not really true either. I have learned to prioritize and where to carve out little chunks of time and energy. If I were just me living alone, there is no way I would be as motivated or as thankful as I am to have this working gig.
What do you see for Nickel and Suede's future?
We really see big things in store! When we started it was a big leap of faith, and we continue to live that way day to day, but the farther along that we get in the business, the more we see the potential it has. We're building a brand and we plan on that brand being something that has it's own life and it being able to live on past just one product. Our earrings are what started it all, but we think there is a lot more to N&S and a lot more to us than just earrings. We're excited ourselves to see how it all unfolds!
Photocredit: Anchor & Spire Photography