LOS ANGELES — In Kenyan, the name means "a hard-working woman in the sunshine," and, fulfilling her destiny, Nyakio Kamoche has become just that.
With the launch earlier this month of her namesake body line, Nyakio, during an A-list filled party at Apothia at Fred Segal Melrose that attracted the likes of actresses Selma Blair and Megan Mullally, the California transplant, who goes by Kio (pronounced Kay-oh), and partner Troy Nankin are keeping a pace that seems at odds with the relaxing nature of their essential oil-based products.
Maybe what’s helping is their body scrub of Kenyan coffee beans and sugar: a whiff alone is like a jolt of Starbucks, which is probably why it has already become such a bestseller at the Apothia stores on Melrose and in Brentwood.
"It’s been work — I mean, I’ve basically taken on a second full-time job — but it’s been so smooth, which tells me we’re doing the right thing," said Nankin, who, as senior vice president of publicity at BWR in Beverly Hills, claims Blair and Mullally as clients, as well as Amber Valletta and Hilary Swank. He enlisted some of them to test the products and offer their input, since, after all, like he and Kamoche, "they are all beauty product obsessed."
It’s that "obsession" that brought he and his partner together last October via a mutual friend. Last September’s tragedy got Kamoche thinking there was more to life than assisting entertainment agents, a career which she entered five years earlier out of college. (For his part, Nankin is staying put, relying on Kamoche to see to daily matters.)
"I’ve always been infatuated with great skin care," said Kamoche, a first-generation American of Kenyan parents, who was born in New York and raised in Oklahoma. "I grew up making bath salts and the coffee scrub with my mother in our kitchen. We’d make products from raw materials from our family farm in Kenya where my grandmother still lives."
Dinner with Nankin lead to a business plan and securing investors. By December 2001, the venture was under way. Besides their entertainment industry friends, the two also turned to Apothia owner Ron Robinson for guidance. At the opening party on Aug. 15, as the rhythmic sounds of live African drummers filled the store, Robinson watched on like a proud father."Yes, it’s always important to have the power of a store behind a product. But we’ve reordered five times since then," the retail pioneer reported this week. "That’s the true test — the reorders really make the success of the product."
The debut line of five products contains East African ingredients such as kukui nuts and grapefruit extracts, as well as vitamins A, C and E and grape seed and wheat germ oils. The minimalist packaging is branded with the name and a sliver of a strip, striped with colors associated with Africa.
The cream, scrub, wash, serum and candle, wholesale priced between $9 and $22, are intended for a complete experience in the bathroom, said Nankin.
"Now we’ll expand on that experience with face, men’s shaving products — who knows," he added. As they consider holiday, the pair is hitting New York in the next weeks to meet with buyers.
With the Apothia stores in Los Angeles and the Zebra Club in Seattle as starting points, the pair hope to build the brand in upscale boutiques and better department stores to the tune of $300,000 in first-year sales.An e-commerce site, nyakio.com, is set for next week. The products also sell at apothia.com.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)