My name is Kim Landi. I was born in Houston, TX but relocated to California when I was just a baby. I was raised by my immigrant mother and had one younger brother, who is now an ER Doctor at UCLA. We grew up in Whittier, California in a middle class home. We had to work at a young age because my mother was a single mother on one income. I learned a lot about clothing and fashion since my mom worked in the garment industry and often took us along to help her in the factories. My love for fashion came at a very young age and it was definitely a way for me to distinguish myself from the rest without saying too much. That really gave me a lot of confidence at a young age and I know that not being able to have the best or being able to afford nice things sometimes do have an effect on young ones at their early age. Moving forward, I would say I am glad my family wasn't able to afford all the nice clothes back then because my creative mind and utilizing the clothing I had aid me - creating my own identity. That has been the key to my success momentarily, which I am so thankful about! After having my 2 little girls, it was so challenging to find cute kid’s clothing that were trendy and affordable. Back then I was pretty active on Instagram and other social media outlets (checking out different trends, connecting with users etc). That ignited the fire or idea re: starting my own business - using social media as my stepping stone reaching out to my audiences, consumers, parents etc. I wanted to fill the void in this marketplace. I believe, every kid should be able to feel like a little princess and good about themselves. So our slogan today is “impeccable style for every child”. We don’t want any child to be left behind.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge starting up in the beginning was finding the time. I am a mother of 2 little girls and I had a full time job overseeing a global accounting department. I honestly didn’t sleep much in the first 3 years but it was all passion that kept me going.
Overtime, I hired help and the biggest game changer was when my mom stepped in to help me manage the day-to-day operations. She’s truly the heart of ModerneChild.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Ok this is funny, but I hate reading! Everything I learned was from socializing and communicating with other entrepreneurs and experts in various spaces. Real life interactions to me are much more meaningful. The biggest thing I learned was to get out and meet as many people as you can to tell your story. You have no idea how many doors that opened for me by just connecting with others. Don’t get me wrong, I have to read up on things from time to time but that’s not my main source of information.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Yes, definitely. My mom and husband were definitely chiming in when they thought I was handling too much. There were times where we talked about giving it all up, but they both saw the love I had for the company and the growth potential, so over time we came up with a solution to help me manage by having my mother step in to manage the day to day operations. She had a lot experience in the garment industry that became very useful and valuable to the company .
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
The biggest factor to the company’s success thus far would be the social media engine we grew when Instagram and Facebook were not as common to run a business on. We have over 300k followers on our combined platforms and growing in the thousands each month. We get recognized there a lot and it has open a lot of doors and sales growth .
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Hmm... That’s a tricky one.. I think if I had to call out one, I would call out how I underestimated how quickly the market and industry can change. If you don’t invest the time and money for future growth and only concentrate on today’s growth and followings, the market and customer demand may change so quickly and it may be too late for the company to react.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
It doesn’t matter whether local or international, make sure whatever business you think you are going to start up - truly believe in it and are super passionate about it. It’s going to take a lot more work than you would expect and giving up can’t be the answer. Working smarter or harder will help you succeed. Good luck and enjoy the amazing journey!