Austin, Texas native Kisa Williams is the Founder of Kisa Kisa Fashion whose designs are in the shape of sickle cell blood cells to bring awareness to those affected by the inherited disease. She encourages those living with an illness to ‘take it one day at a time and push through’ to live their dreams. Read more of her interview here ↓
You are a fashion designer living in Houston, born with sickle cell disease. How did you get started creating your business?
I took a handbag class at Houston Community College (HCC) where I currently study in their fashion merchandising program. I’ve always had an obsession with handbags and would actually buy a handbag before I buy shoes.
How long has your business been established? Who are your customers?
I sold my first handbag nine months ago so I’m fairly new to the industry. However, I’ve been working on the logistics side of the business for a while to make sure the design of the bag and fabric is just right. My customers are the modern woman who is bold and not afraid to take risks. She likes classic pieces and steps outside of the box and has lots of fun with style and fashion.
Photos courtesy of Kisa Kisa Fashion
How to do you market your brand?
My biggest market campaign is social media. I get the majority of traffic from Facebook and Instagram. I create content for the majority of my post on Instagram and doing so takes a lot of the traffic right to my website.
What would you say has been a challenge and reward of the business?
The biggest challenge is doing everything myself. It’s my baby and when I started out I didn’t want anyone else to touch it because they didn’t know my passion or understand my vision. However, the biggest reward is meeting my fans at social events. They come up to me and say, “I love your bags!” and “I follow you on social media and my sister has one of your handbags.” It’s good to know that all of the hard work I’ve been putting into the business is paying off.
What’s next for Kisa Kisa Fashion?
I am going to move into other accessories; necklaces, bracelets, and earrings using the same fabric I use on my handbags making the designs cohesive.
Where is the Kisa Kisa Fashion brand sold?
I’m in several boutiques around Houston such as Melodrama, Xpozher, Chloe Dao and a few others. I also have my online store and I do several pop-up shops in the city throughout the month. Up until recently, I realized the importance of my work in the handbags I design. I was speaking with a friend over lunch by the name of Sarah Shah and she mentioned a significant meaning behind my bags. The shape of my bag is my sickle cell. When I open the bags up it represents a red blood cell which is circular and when you close the bag it represents a sickle which is a sickle cell. I was completely blown away and realized that’s why I was so drawn to the circular shape of the bags. It completely blew me away and everyone I come in contact with loves that circle shape because it’s unique and different.
Photo courtesy of Kisa Kisa Fashion; Top (l) model; Top (r) Ekiuwa Otote
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with a sickness and who wants to step out on faith and do something bold, but they lack the confidence?
Take it one day at a time and push through what you’re going through because at the end of the day it’s about your passion—and your passion will drive you. If you really love it and it’s close to your heart…just do it! You have to push through the pain, the fatigue, and medical treatments. I’m definitely a living testimony, but I am blessed because I know that I’m here for a reason. I’ve had two hip replacements, I’ve been in a coma and experienced pneumonia several times. I truly, “Thank God!” and I’m grateful for it all because I’m able to bring awareness to sickle cell.
Connect @ Kisa Kisa Fashion
Images: Instagram|Kisa Kisa Fashion
Interview by Shadana Chaney
Kisa was recently selected to become a vendor at Essence Music Festival this upcoming July in New Orleans, La. She is currently raising money to participate in the event which is a once in a lifetime experience and can possibly take her brand to new heights. If you are interested in supporting her campaign online you can do so at gofundme.com/kisakisafashion.
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