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.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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