By Malaya Elgarico
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) 100K Ventures is a Michigan group created by athletes and business leaders to invest in new companies and entrepreneurs in the city. “Kalm Clothing”, a streetwear brand created by Kiara Tyler is one its first investments.
Five years after receiving her degree in political science and criminal justice, 25-year old Flint native Kiara Tyler didn’t find herself working in law enforcement but instead as the CEO of “Kalm Clothing” – a clothing line created out of a love for design.
According to its official website, “Kalm Clothing” is a unisex street-wear brand that appeals to various cultures and classes. The brand debuted in October 2016.
Tyler will be hosting her first ever pop-up shop of the brand on Friday, Aug. 9, starting at 3 p.m. in Flint’s Ferris Wheel building alongside the launch of 100K Ventures — a Michigan group created by athletes and business leaders to invest in new companies and entrepreneurs in the city.
Among the 12 founders, Super Bowl Champion Victor Cruz will be present at the pop-up event.
Tyler is the first entrepreneur 100K Ventures decided to invest in. Other founders of the group include NBA player and Saginaw native Draymond Green and Good Morning America host Michael Strahan.
Tyler was offered a space at the Ferris Wheel to work after she pitched her idea to 100K Ideas.
“I was (at the Ferris Wheel) for a while and that’s when they brought up 100K Ventures that was getting ready to start up,” she said. “Then they asked me to be the first person to pitch to the group when everything (came) together.”
In October of 2018, Tyler was able to pitch “Kalm Clothing” to the 100K Ventures team.
“I got a ‘yes’ from all 12 members and I signed the investment on March 30, 2019,” Tyler said.
Her path to creating her line started when she came back to Flint in 2014 after graduating from Notre Dame College in Ohio.
Prior to even thinking of designing clothes, she was struggling to find a job and was trying to find ways to make money.
“I saw a demand for a product that was going viral on social media,” she said. “It was these life-size custom shoe boxes and I learned how to make them, and I was making them on my mom’s driveway on the north side of Flint.”
Tyler’s shoe boxes went viral on her Instagram page and caught the attention of one of the sons of retired NFL player Deion Sanders.
“I direct messaged Deion Sanders’ son to get some promotion and he actually told me he wanted to invest instead,” Tyler said.
“He had his dad call me on a three-way call one night, but Deion ended up telling me to take a different route. He gave me a business idea for these carry-on bags specifically for shoes instead.”
Tyler said she never made another box following the phone call and started contacting manufacturers to make the bag. But it didn’t take long for her to scrap that idea after learning more about what it took to manufacture other items like clothes.
“I ran into a clothing manufacture overseas and told them I wanted a specific jacket for my birthday that was coming up,” she said. “When they made the jacket and got it back to me, I really liked the process of designing it, so I decided to start the clothing line.”
When “Kalm” debuted, Tyler did majority of her sales in-person by going door-to-door in different cities for two years. She traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, Charlotte, North Carolina, New York and more.
“I have a lot of followers on Instagram, so I would post and let people know I will be in that specific city,” she said. “They tell me what they want from the brand and I would just go there and deliver it to them.”
The pop-up shop will be the first time “Kalm” will be presented and set up like a retail location for people to try on the items and meet her.
Tyler designs T-shirts, overalls, caps, spandex sets, hoodies, sweats and more. Her prices range from $15 to $325.
“When I sit down to do a design, it’s really just whatever comes to mind and what I would like to see people in,” she said. “I want people to like Kalm for Kalm and not because it looks like something else because the brand is me.”
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.