Kickstarter, the crowd sourcing platform from which great documentaries, adored movies, and comic books galore have been created, has proven to be a crucial piece of the plan for many emerging entrepreneurs. But it can also be a very anonymous place. Start a Kickstarter campaign, launch the Kickstarter campaign, get the money, fulfill the rewards—thank you, the end. That’s often how it goes. As China Royal is going through the process for a second time, the team wanted to thank its Kickstarter backers with more than an item from the line. So we reached out and got to know many of the people who have pledged their dollars to help China Royal push out its next successful and stylish collection. So here’s to you backers, and here’s to getting to know you too.
Jenny Ming, President and CEO of Charlotte Russe (former president of Old Navy) has been a China Royal supporter from inception. A cousin of creator Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin on her mother’s side—Ming says she’s more like an aunt to Shikiri—she’s been the go to for retail and business expertise throughout the entire process.
Besides being a relative to the creator why did you decide to back China Royal on Kickstarter?
I just love an entrepreneur. It takes courage, vision, commitment and dedication to start a business. Shikiri’s driven and I think that speaks volumes. She also has a good eye for product and detail. I love the line, I love that it has a little edge to it.
What is your favorite piece from the line?
I love the butterfly dress and the butterfly top. They’re so pretty and sexy at the same time, they’re flowy and tight in the right places. For the dress [the outfit] is finished for you, so you just wear it. And the top is so flexible. I wear jeans probably eighty percent of the time so I’ll wear it with jeans and a great necklace.
How would you describe your style?
I’m classic with a twist. I really mix. I wear Charlotte Russe a lot. Today I’m wearing knit leather leggings with a stripe in the thigh, black boots, which are a staple, and giant iceberg earrings. If they were real they’d be like 10 carats!
Friend of the brand Tiffany Terry is always a supporter of affordable fashion. The certified sommelier met Shikiri through the Gaskin’s youngest daughter Monique, who goes to school with Terry’s 4-year-old son. After a private wine event it was a friendship made in retail heaven–Terry used to be a fashion and luxury buyer for years before moving into the food industry.
Why back the China Royal project on Kickstarter?
I’m always willing to support a fellow entrepreneur. I’ve also always been a lover of fashion, and casual affordable fashion is right up my alley. The designs look really comfy and cute, plus the hoodies, tees, and dresses were quite intriguing.
How would you describe your personal style?
Casual eclectic with a bit of an edge. I do mix it up with conservative pieces, relaxed pieces, but always with a fashionable edge.
Any fall trends you think you might want to indulge in this year?
I love the statement heels and boots. I also like graphics and black and white. My undergraduate degree is in fashion merchandising and business administration and I used to be a buyer for LVMH’s eluxury.com.
How are you going to sport your China Royal Kickstarter rewards?
My China Royal tee will go well with skinny jeans, a great blazer, and my Manolo B’s. (*side note: we’re also hoping she rocks this look with her pewter and gold hardware Hermès Birkin bag that she just got earlier this year for her anniversary. Work it girl!)
Stephanie Cozart Burton is used to being surrounded by beautiful things so synergies between the makeup artist to the industry and China Royal were par for the course. Wife of LeVar Burton and mother to a beautiful 19-year-old girl, she met Shikiri while shopping in the designer’s namesake Robertson Boulevard boutique years ago. Just having won an Emmy for Best Makeup for The Talk Cozart Burton is on a high note, and she’s spreading the positive energy, love, and warmth around town.
Why did you back China Royal on Kickstarter?
I believe in supporting those who are trying to do their thing. It’s not really about a dollar amount, it’s about showing that I support you and I’m cheering for you. And especially for another woman of color. I know Shikiri’s not coming in half-stepping. She’s about quality.
What’s a standout for you in this fall collection?
I’m such a dress girl. I believe in put on your dress, your shoes, your gun. I like simplicity. In the summer, it’s just about a dress, your flip flops and go. I’m also excited about the logo tee too. I would wear it with a designer jean and a leather moto jacket, a structured blazer and a nice piece of jewelry.
Who are some of your other go to designers you think you’ll mix with China Royal?
Michael Kors embodies my adult look with really simple and elegant, a little bit sexy and a little funky pieces. My style is sexy sophisticated. I believe in being appropriate. I would never want to be mutton dressed as lamb, but as an artist I can push it a little. I’m hip enough to know what’s going on, but elegant enough for the respect I deserve.
With 7 days left China Royal is close to its goal for production on the Spring 2014 collection, with 81% of the project backed. As we get to know our supporters, get to know the brand on official Kickstarter campaign.