Ladies, if you love upscale human hair, gorgeous fashion jewelry, and trendy accessories then Minktresses will be your best friend! This Baltimore-based boutique offers everything a girl needs to accessorize fabulously.
IP: Start by telling us more about yourself and your business (educational background, hometown, age you started your business, how business came about, etc.)
Originally from NYC, KiaNoir has always had a passion for the arts and fashion. Growing up in Baltimore she attended the Baltimore School for the Arts for theater and decided to return to New York to further her education at New York University’s Tisch School of Performing Arts.
While pursuing her dreams of becoming an actress, KiaNoir discovered that her love for fashion was growing even stronger. Working in upscale boutiques, interning for The Marvet Britto Agency, and traveling overseas, KiaNoir was able to make significant connections that would later prove to be beneficial for future endeavors.
Upon graduating NYU, KiaNoir’s life plan took a turn when she selflessly took on the ultimate “role” in her career as mother to her 2yr old cousin. Realizing that she had another life to care for, KiaNoir instantly began mapping out a plan to provide for her child while doing something she loved.
In 2004, along with the guidance and partnership of her best friend and mentor, Toni James of The Katwalk Boutique, the duo collaborated with the comedienne, Sommore, in opening a high end shoe boutique, Dutchess & The Queen, located in Adams Morgan, DC.
Later that year, KiaNoir launched her own upscale human hair company, MINKTRESSES. The company was the first human hair distributor in the Baltimore area that offered high end unprocessed human hair from various countries. It became a success overnight. What began as a word of mouth business, quickly grew to having over 1,000 customers without having to use any other form of advertisement.
With it’s continued growth MINKTRESSES has expanded by opening a brick & mortar location this year in Mt. Vernon. The boutique not only offers human hair but also beauty products, jewelry, and other accessories. Being a pioneer in the human hair industry, MINKTRESSES’ success to date has led the way for many others to follow.
Even with the success of MINKTRESSES, KiaNoir continues to seek out new business ventures, which led her to join 5linx. She is determined to help other women become independent and find strength in themselves through entrepreneurship. It is her belief that anything is possible with an open mind and belief in self. An open mind with the vision to see an opportunity, seize it, and the belief in self to know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!
IP: Quote that keeps you motivated?
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower,”~ Steve Jobs.
IP: What has been your biggest obstacle being a young entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
I would say my biggest obstacle has been keeping my brand original. With the onset of so many newcomers in the human hair industry, I have to continuously reinvent my business. However, I have learned that I am my best under pressure & thus, welcome the competition.
IP: Describe a day in the life of (company name)?
My day usually begins with phone calls from customers placing orders. I check emails, my social media, etc. Head to the bank, post office/UPS etc to ship goods or pick up inventory, then I’m off to the store where the magic happens. 🙂
IP: Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years my company will be global. Currently I am working on expanding my brand to other aspects of the hair industry. There is much in store for the MINKTRESSES brand, stay tuned.
IP: What advice would you give up and coming entrepreneurs?
Find your niche, and stay true to it. And NEVER quit! Quitters never win & Winners never quit.
IP: What blogs and publications do you read to get guidance as an entrepreneur?
I read a lot of self-help books. I’m a big fan of The Secret, authors like John C. Maxwell, and others who motivate you to find your inner strength. I subscribe to publications such as Black Enterprise, Forbes, Inc. 500, etc. Of course I also read blogs that are dedicated to beauty & hair to stay up on trends and the next big thing in my industry.
IP: If you could pick a celebrity to be the spokesperson for your company/brand who would it be and why?
It would definitely Beyonce. She is just the “It” Girl and is known for her hair, hair extensions, etc. So, she would be the ideal spokesperson from my company.
IP: Outside of your business, what are your other interests?
My favorite thing to do is to travel. Fortunately, this goes hand in hand with my business. I feel that you grow as person when you travel. Exposure to other cultures, etc. broadens your horizons and makes you more well rounded. As a result, I am more confident with dealing with all types of people.
IP: Anything else you would like to add? (pictures of merchandise or logo, additional facts about your business, links, upcoming events/promotions, etc.)