Welcome to a new series!
I find so much joy in creating and sharing stories from our home front, but you see, there are so many other women in this world that we all should know. From creators, to helpers. From single ladies living on their own, to married mamas fully in the trenches. From just getting started, to empty nesters winding down. From newly divorced, to newly employed. From choosing to remain child free, to struggling to have a first baby. From corporate America, to stay at home mama. From multiple jobs, to reinventing a career mid-life. And any and everything in between. There are so many influential women out in this beautiful world and so many different perspectives to learn from that I have created a new series called Women of Influence.
Women of Influence is here to introduce (duh) influential women. Share their stories and their passions. Get to know the women behind all of the titles and simply learn how women actually do it all. The future is women and there is nothing better than knowing we are not alone. This series will feature women owned businesses, women driven causes, women with passion and drive, but most importantly this series will introduce the woman (or women) behind it, because we are all individually important and should be defined by the whole of who we are, not just a title.
First up… Introducing Kenzie and Kendall the ladies behind RileyBea.
I had the pleasure of working with Kenzie for a hot second at my final corporate job. She is magic and maturity all rolled up into one classy ass human being. Kenzie comes from a family and friend circle of entrepreneurs and I knew it was only time before she launched her own thing. We used to spitball ideas over lunch and after frustrating meetings. It is no surprise her and one of her best friends have launched a side hustle creating. I am so glad her and Kendall are putting beauty out into this world and gracing the rest of us with RileyBea.
Let’s get started!
Please introduce yourselves as individuals! Kenzie and Kendall. Who are you as individuals? What are your day jobs, passions, lives like outside of the brand?
Kenzie: I’m Mackenzie Riley – a born & raised proud Arizonan and Wildcat! I live for my family & friends, am a travel addict and an avid crafter. Professionally, I’m a full-time marketer & entrepreneur. I work full-time in Partner Marketing for a Fitness & Beauty Software company (and love it) – and am a co-founder & designer for RileyBea!
Kendall: Hi y’all! I’m Kendall Beas (soon to be Williams)- a Texas native, RileyBea co-founder & designer, fiancé, sister, daughter, dog mom & friend. I have a love for the desert and couldn’t be happier to call Arizona home. When I’m not wearing my RileyBea hat (or earrings, ha!), I’m working full time in Commercial Real Estate Development. While this surely pays the bills, my true passion is expressing my creativity – practicing calligraphy, styling outfits, making earrings, playing photographer, you name it!
Next, what / who is RileyBea?
RileyBea is our new company that we launched in July of 2018. We create irresistible handcrafted earrings – all made by our own four hands! Everything we create is made from materials we personally source. Because of this, we only create a limited supply of each pair. We are firm believers that earrings can make any outfit, shouldn’t be obscenely expensive and should be as unique as you are.
How are you balancing entrepreneurship with your current careers?
Balancing launching a business in addition to working our full time jobs is no easy feat. Luckily there are two of us and we make a solid duo. When one of us has a crazy week at work, or travel, the other picks up the slack and vice versa. Our support system rocks too. Our moms and sisters will run to the store to get more wire or come over for pizza and a packaging party. We’ve learned that delegating the smaller, time-sucking side tasks is KEY.
Are you ladies more early bird gets the worm or night owls?
We are both big time morning people! Like 5/6am morning people. Our friends make fun of us because we won’t go to 9am workout classes – our workouts are already done and our days have already begun!
Coffee or tea? (Kenzie, how about that water?) < Haha! You know it.
Kenzie: Both. All the caffeine, please.
Kendall: Iced tea all day, everyday with a side of La Croix
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do in the morning to create positivity throughout your day? Favorite breakfast (always looking for delicious inspirations)?
Kenzie: Because I work East Coast hours, my mornings are hectic! Workout or no workout, I leave myself a whopping 15 minutes to get ready and out the door for work (another reason why I love fun earrings, they make me look like I put some effort into my outfit). Favorite breakfast is a massive coffee & a bowl of oatmeal with banana & almonds. Hearty & healthy.
Kendall: Following my 5:30am golden retriever alarm clock who’s begging to be fed, I try my best to get a 6am workout in. If not, I’m most likely shooting RileyBea product shots with the sunrise! Favorite breakfast is avocado toast with a poached egg on top! But let’s get real, who has time for that during the week? My week day breakfast consists of a protein shake on the way to work and oatmeal.
What are your greatest indulgences?
Kenzie: Workout cheat days & Zoyo…
Kendall: Staying in my jammies all day to binge watch a new series, In-N-Out Burger, chai tea lattes & retail therapy…the list could go on!
How do you balance all that is important to you (family, significant others, friends, careers & RileyBea)?
There are days where it does actually feel like a juggling act. One of the more important things we’ve learned is prioritizing. We will literally plan out our meetings a week in advance with detailed to-dos & leave with individual homework. From there, we squeeze in the date night, the family dinner, social events, etc. It helps to have the support system we do – our friends who come by and hang while we craft, significant others who cut wire & deliver dinners, family members who double as our bookkeepers. Sometimes the worlds overlap and we’re fortunate that everyone is onboard with that!
What inspired the launch of RileyBea?
Both working full-time desk jobs, we found commonality in that we both craved a hands on, creative outlet. Sharing a love for design, fashion and statement jewelry – we began toying around with fun, unique earrings. And RileyBea was born!
How did your business partnership come to be?
We met when we were 13 at Ingleside Middle School – so we’ve been friends for years. We went on to High School and even College together where we became sorority sisters & roommates. Throughout these years, we’ve been constantly crafting – scrapbooking, decorating our rooms/house, creating costumes. We’ve always shared the love of handcrafting.
When do you ladies create and what does the creative process look like for the both of you as individuals and as business partners?
The creative process is probably the best part of what we do. We spend weeks to months collecting beads and materials both locally and in our travels. We then carve out days where we lay everything out, put on some awesome music & work away. We come up with a handful of concepts that we both love, show to friends and family, they rank their favorites & then we decide which we want to move forward with. It’s a blast.
Besides that, we’re always stalking the brands and concepts we love and create mental & physical vision boards. We are also both big podcasts fans and spend hours listening to other entrepreneur stories for inspiration, guidance & encouragement.
What are your goals and dreams for RileyBea? What does the future look like?
Our more immediate goals are to expand our brand awareness within our network and locally. We hope to get to the point where we are sourcing and creating enough to get a wholesale & retail strategy in place, and then spread outward from there.
We also hope to expand our reach in bridal. We make custom bride and bridesmaid earrings – we work with the bride on her vision and come up with a concept(s) she loves. It’s SO much fun and adds a sweet, something new, flare to their special day.
What makes your brand accessible to ladies? And what is the style behind your brand?
One of our initial goals in all of this was to be both unique AND feasible. We fell in love with a couple of other handcrafted earring brands but they were priced upwards $120-150 a pair. We wanted to create items just as cute (or, in our opinion, cuter) for a WAY more affordable and guilt free price.
Our style behind our brand is fun, adventurous, bold & trendy.
What would you say to other dreamers? To other women longing to express creativity? To other women longing to launching a business and pursuing entrepreneurship?
There is never going to be the right time to take the leap. There will always be other responsibilities, a packed calendar, financial stress or fear of failure. Our advice is to just start – but start small and don’t be afraid to lean on the support surrounding you. With that you can warm up to the responsibilities of it all, the balance of it all. Ride on the encouragement from your closest and dearest to reach your ultimate goals.
How ’bout that… These two ladies are incredible! They’re journey so unique to them, yet there are nuggets that all of us can take-away from them. Community. The folks you surround yourself with truly do make you who you are. These ladies have a network of loving friends and family who see their passion and vision and simply lend support. No one can do anything alone and these ladies reiterated that multiple times throughout this interview. Patience. Starting small and slow with a dream allows you to build upon that dream. I think this is such a great piece of advice for all dreams. We all carry big lofty dreams in our hearts, but starting small, with less expectation and complete joy, really creates the big dream in the long run. Consistency begets consistency. Start. I hear this from every single entrepreneur, mom, dreamer, coach, etc. The art in meeting your goals and dreams is in starting. You will never accomplish anything if you don’t simply start.
The ladies behind RileyBea, Kenzie and Kendall, have created beautiful earrings. I know first hand, whenever I wear my RileyBea earrings I get more compliments, they truly are stunners. The RileyBea fall collection is up on the website now and the winter collection will be launching sometime in early November! Fall or Winter, these earrings are a perfect gift this holiday season (gift cards too)!
And for our readers — a give away — follow both the RileyBea & MelanieJeanne instagram accounts for a chance to win your very own pair of RileyBea earrings! Winner will be selected on Monday, October 30th!
Thank you ladies for helping to launch MelanieJeanne’s first Women of Influence post! I cannot wait to follow-up with y’all as you grow and share beauty with the world.