With a cute idea, approachable prices and social media savvy, Ryan Porter designer Krysten Kauder has managed to go from obscurity to being one of the most buzzed about up-and-coming jewelry designers amongst fashion insiders. We talk with the entrepreneur about how, in a matter of weeks, it all came about.
theFashionSpot: How did the idea for your line come about?
Krysten Kauder: I've always loved to stack bracelets, but I wanted to add something to my arm party with a pop of color. Clothing with fun words and messages have been so popular and I thought, why not be able to customize your own message jewelry? I started off making bracelets with words like "amour" and "dream," but found my family and friends wanted a bracelet with their significant other's name, their initials or a cute phrase they like to say, so I decided to take on custom orders.
tFS: Can you tell us about the process to actually launch?
KK: It was a very fast process for me. Popular fashion bloggers posted my pieces on Instagram and from there I gained a lot of customers and knew this was going to take off so I stayed up until 3 a.m. making a website—this happened to be the perfect time as Seventeen magazine was going to post my bracelets on Instagram the following day.
tFS: How did you work to get the word out about your pieces?
KK: Networking and social media. I shared my bracelets with editors at various magazines — I've interned at Teen Vogue and Vogue and I'm always trying to post on Instagram. I have been very lucky.
tFS: What are some of the most memorable things people have come up with?
KK: Surprisingly, a lot of people want simple things like their initials, but some of my favorites that people have requested include "hoodrat," a Teen Vogue editor's "hungry," "don't kill my vibe," Nylon accessories editor's "bite me" bracelet and a few "fu" rings.
tFS: Do you see yourself expanding?
KK: Yes. Currently, I have moved on from just making colored cord bracelets to gold colored chain necklaces, bracelets and rings and have begun taking orders for 14k gold filled chain as well. I receive many international orders so I hope to continue reaching that market. I currently sell my jewelry on a couple websites, but I hope to grow that list and also sell in fashion boutiques throughout the country.
tFS: What's the process of making the pieces? Do you making them yourself?
KK: I make every piece myself. I actually have a huge table filled with colored cord, chain, crystals and alphabet beads—I print my orders out at the end of the day and make every order before bed and pack and ship them in the morning.
tFS: What are some of the biggest challenges with running a small business?
KK: The biggest challenge of running a small business is trying to do everything. I am only one person, but I have many different hats. I am the designer, the accountant, the PR team, the account executive, the customer service and the shipper all rolled into one.
tFS: Do you have a job aside from Ryan Porter?
KK: I have a part time job, but it's hard to be at that job when I constantly feel the need to be working on my business—whether it be researching fashion trends or working on Ryan Porter's social media.
tFS: What jewelry do you wear day to day?
KK: Day to day I am always wearing my Ryan Porter "WTF" initial chain ring, my Marc Jacobs watch, a Ryan Porter chain "K" initial bracelet mixed with a few vintage bracelets and bracelets from local boutiques.
tFS: Finally, where did the name Ryan Porter come from?
KK: Ryan is a family name, my middle name, my mom's maiden name, my goddaughter's name and Porter means "to wear," so it just clicked!