Kika Vliegenthart was raised in the Netherlands by two Art Historians who loved nothing more than traveling the world with both their kids. Being exposed to architecture, art and functional objects in different cultures instigated a strong love for shape, function and design at an early age.
During her studies in Economics in Amsterdam she couldn't stop taking courses in drawing, silk screening and set design, which resulted in being accepted at the Rietveld Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam in 1992. After one year of art school and finishing her studies in Economics with a MA degree, Kika left for New York with a scholarship for Media Studies at The New School. She studied film for the next 2 years.
It was during those years that she walked into the workshop of Barbara Shaum, a legendary cobbler and bag maker in the Lower East Side who worked with big names like Donna Karen, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. A devoted student-teacher relationship started that lasted for the next fifteen years.
During Kika's career as a documentary film maker, she documented underground cultures in the US that aired on her own show "KikaNY" for Public Dutch TV. It was nominated for the Academy Awards in the Netherlands. Afterwards she worked on various stories in America and later on traveled the world documenting indigenous cultures in Africa, Mongolia and South America. This time the focus was their crafts and ways of life for the show " Return to Sender " in the Netherlands.
In between film projects Kika always returned to Barbara's workshop to apprentice and learn more about the art of making bags, sandals, belts and small leather goods. With a love for the craft and inspiration from all she had witnessed during her travels, meeting Sabine was the answer to what to do next in life.
In 2009 they founded KikaNY Leather Goods in Brooklyn, NY.