it's not every day that you meet someone that wants to make the world a more beautiful place in more ways than one. Sarah Bayot, founder & designer of Kicheko Goods, is just that person. from the very meaning of the word kicheko ("smile/laughter") to the social impact driven goals of her incredibly gorgeous jewels, she is on a mission to share smiles with every piece sold.
the campaign #lifewithkicheko empowers others to live and do with intention and find their happy place. asking the question, "which [kicheko] item do you wear to feel kickass?" I jumped in and chose to put myself first. perhaps intuitively the opposite of kicheko's mission, but really i believe it's at the core of doing well and good in all aspects of life. the world, life, career, family, and everything in between can get really cloudy. it is really easy to lose sight of the smiles, laughter and what it means to kickass sometimes, so every now and then I believe it's crucial to stop, put yourself first, realign with what you want in your hour, day, life; focus on your bigger picture.
when thinking through #lifewithkicheko, I wanted to catch up with Sarah to gain a deeper perspective on her brand, jewelry and the good that she is doing in Congo in her own words. read on to learn more about this kickass human... (and for a special holiday code to snag one of her G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S pieces!!!)
1. Kicheko Goods is more than just jewelry. Why? And how did Mango Tree fit into that?
I love beautiful things but I love beautiful things with soul and impact even more. Since college, I've had internships and worked with organizations in the fashion/nonprofit space and I've always been interested in the intersection of the two. I also studied international development in grad school and since 2011, I have been working closely with a community and nonprofit in eastern Congo.
I love the socially conscious business model and believe that this is an effective way to support causes and communities that you feel strongly about. Our generation doesn't want to compartmentalize philanthropy and consumerism but find products and experiences that can integrate both. We want to have a good time or look good and do some good out in the world too. It's a matter of finding your medium and I found that with jewelry.
When I started Kicheko, it was a natural fit to merge the two loves of jewelry design and my work with Congo and education together. The question just remained how to do it and how to share it in a relatable way. Making the impact side of the business center around supporting education is something hopefully everyone can relate to because we all have at least 12-13 years of formal education in our lives so we understand how important it is for future opportunities and personal development. My personal design and business challenge with Kicheko is to make pieces that look good and do good. The two go together for me and it's the heartbeat for Kicheko.
2. Your style/palette are very minimal. What draws you to that?
What I've come to love over time is that the jewelry makes a statement and has an impact but the main event is the woman wearing it. I can't tell you how thrilling it is to see such a wide array of ladies engage, wear and return to Kicheko to fill their growing jewelry collection. If Kicheko can be a part of these women's lives and have a place to continue conversations, share life with, celebrate wins together - that's the dream.
In that vein, I like creating pieces along a spectrum from minimally stated with a mix of metals (Hope 71) to chunky and interesting with a lot of textures and materials employed (Ace Metricals). When I start designing a collection, I have a few themes, materials and color palettes in mind. Having parameters helps me as a designer express more creativity within those boundaries. I like to keep it interesting but complementary at the same time because I know my customer works in creative co-work spaces and also conservative offices, on the road and at home, dresses minimally/neutrally and also colorfully/funky. I design for all of these women and women in between.
3. Who is the ideal person to wear/live with kicheko?
Kate Middleton and Rihanna.
4. Can you explain the process for creating your pieces?
I'll take a few weeks to look through binders and notebooks of collected inspiration -magazine/editorial clippings and digital pins of images, pieces, editorial shoots, architecture, color blocks, etc. I'll let it digest and as it does, I'll go around to museums or go down long rabbit holes online of art, journals and quarterlies. Then I'll have a sit-down and create a moodboard based on all of this accumulated inspiration and pick out a few words/phrases that describe what's happening. When I begin the sketch process, I'll write down some materials that I think would suit the elements and begin prototyping and sourcing. The prototyping process repeats until I feel it's right and then the piece gets made in a small batch and goes off to be photographed and added to the collection.
5. Who or what inspires you?
Travel, composition and color in nature and in constructed environments (when I travel, I take pictures of a lot of things and stop often), quotes and calligraphy, Grace Coddington and Inez & Vinoodh's editorial shoots, Rothko, Klimt, my friends.
6. Can you share any information on upcoming pieces/projects/pop ups?
The holiday season is in full swing. I'm very excited to be in some great local shops. You can find Kicheko at Salt & Sundry, Steadfast Supply and 116 King St. And of course, we're online. Check us out at kichekogoods.com and watch our first brand video!
Convinced at how beautiful her work is? Then use code "berryholiday" now until 12/22 11:59pm EST for 15% off your order!! happy shopping!