We’re celebrating 10 years.
It started in our kitchen, ten years ago.
Classon Avenue, Brooklyn. Top floor of a four-floor walk-up. All we had was an apartment and a decade working for New York's most iconic leather-smith, Barbara Shaum. Our drywall couldn’t even accommodate our machines. To cut a belt or strap, we needed two people---one person to hold the machine steady, and one person to cut the leather.
But the news of our work had started to spread. People showed up sweating and panting to our kitchen with special requests for belts and sandals. The foot-traffic was getting out of hand. Our neighbors complained. We knew we had to expand.
We had just enough money to buy ourselves a stand at the Brooklyn Flea. We packed our goods into duffels, strapped everything to our single-speed bikes, and pedaled our way to the market, where we rented, with all our earnings, a table for the weekend. Our first day, we made 500 bucks—we couldn’t believe it. We were ecstatic.
Soon after that, we were invited to our first trade show. We showed up hoping to sell a few belts. We didn't have line-sheets, we didn't have look-books. We were completely winging it. A buyer from Japan approached our table and told us he wanted to place an order: “50 Square Buckle Belts. 200 Double-O Ring Belts. 100 Single O-Ring Belts.” We looked at each other and tried to keep straight faces. “Did you bring a little book?” Kika said, “so we can write all this down?”
Fast-forward five years, and we’ve set up a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Everything by hand, everything made to order. The demand for our goods steadily grew. We needed more space and a greater connection to nature to practice our craft. So we moved our studio to beautiful, tranquil Mallorca. Now we have the physical and mental space to design and hand-make our signature leather goods.
No matter how much we grow, KikaNY will always be women-owned and operated. Our goods will always be hand-made by our small team of leather-smiths. We will never, ever outsource work to factories.
We're proud of that.