Adrienne Bailon-Houghton started with jewelry, but her aspirations for her recently launched brand XIXI extend far beyond that.
The singer and actress, who cohosts the Fox talk show “The Real,” in November launched her fashion jewelry line XIXI, which is seeing some very real momentum behind it. The company reports it’s in the top 1 percent of Shopify sellers and has been averaging 120 percent growth month-over-month in sales.
“I love the fact that I think a lot of my consumers want to have a feel for something that is luxurious, that is glamorous but is, at the same time, affordable,” Bailon-Houghton said. “It’s in fashion. It’s hot right now, from medallions to my star earrings.”
Everything in the line is priced $40 and under. New York and Los Angeles are top markets followed by South Africa — Bailon-Houghton thinks some of the faith-based pieces may have been the initial appeal there — and Canada.
She started off with jewelry given her own personal history with it, saying she left the hospital as a newborn wearing everything from a pinkie ring to bracelets and had her ears pierced about a month later.
“I’ve always had a huge passion for jewelry and accessories and, really, what I loved was the fact that jewelry in my family is something that is generational,” she said. “We really do pass it down. I wear this necklace all the time that is from my grandmother. It’s praying hands. There’s a necklace from my aunt with a picture of Jesus.”
It was the inquiries from fans about where she got her pieces that led Bailon-Houghton to the creation of her initial Faith & Familia collection that includes 14-karat, gold-plated pieces.
XIXI has been releasing new collections nearly monthly with plans to introduce a pearl collection Aug. 15, followed by solid gold and sterling silver in the fall. In September, XIXI will begin rolling out home-related products, such as candles and blankets, to the market.
Bailon-Houghton certainly has a built-in audience of fans from her work on television, but she also has her own YouTube channel called “All Things Adrienne” that gives followers a glimpse into her life, with a regular series touching on beauty, home, fashion and entertaining running Tuesdays. The social media platform is helping draw more people into the line and creating demand across multiple product categories, she pointed out.
“People get to see my home and XIXI is really an extension of who I am, from the pieces I wear to my home,” she said.
Apparel is expected to be introduced to XIXI in the future.
“It absolutely does interest me,” Bailon-Houghton said of clothing. “I would love to get into that. I think it’s important for me also to not overwhelm myself, but that is the long-term goal.”
Bailon-Houghton funneled her own capital into starting up the business and is the sole owner, focused on building the brand without the influence of outside investors, stressing the need to be hands on. She works at the company’s Burbank warehouse a few times a month, stepping off the studio lot of “The Real” and over to her facility to help package online orders sometimes even writing notes to customers on their invoice.
Packaging is a key detail she’s focused on in building the brand, making that as experiential as it can be in lieu of an actual storefront. The packaging for next month’s pearl collection, for example, aims to have the look of an heirloom piece with photos of herself and family across generations.
“I really wanted it to feel like someone had gone up to their parents’ attic and found a trunk or box with photos of their family and handkerchiefs with their initials stitched in them,” she said of that collection’s packaging.
Although XIXI started off as a direct-to-consumer business, Bailon-Houghton said she is open to the idea of wholesaling, if the right opportunity came up. She also eventually would like to bring the XIXI experience to followers with a tour bus-inspired pop-up series.
“I think the more you know about the consumer, the better your product will be,” she said of retail.