Bee Festive blog
Hive highlights blog ft. Kikki and Franki
Welcome to Hive Highlights on Bee Festive. Today, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Stacey, the passionate founder of Kikki and Franki. Known for their personalised laser-cut and decal wall art, gifts, and keepsakes, Kikki and Franki is more than just a brand—it's a hive community built on sharing successes, overcoming challenges, and fostering support.
Stacey's journey is one of resilience and unwavering determination. With a degree in Graphic Design, she embarked on a creative path, only to face the shifting tides of the industry. Undeterred, she took the leap into entrepreneurship, armed with a decal machine and a vision to turn her creativity into tangible products. Balancing the demands of motherhood and her business, Stacey faced exhaustion and burnout, but the birth of her second child, Franki, brought renewed purpose. Since launching Kikki and Franki in 2017, Stacey's unwavering passion and the incredible support of her customers have propelled the brand forward, even amidst world pandemics and economic challenges.
Join us on this inspiring journey as we explore the world of Kikki and Franki, where creativity thrives, challenges are conquered, and a hive community comes together to celebrate and uplift one another. Welcome to Hive Highlights on Bee Festive, where Stacey's vision and the magic of Kikki and Franki shine through.
Tell me a bit about yourself:
First and foremost, I am a mom to two very incredible, gorgeous, sometimes annoying and challenging kids. I am a devoted wifey and as much as I would like to strangle my other half sometimes, he is by far, my best friend and biggest supporter in the world. I am extremely family orientated; some would say obsessed but let’s not get that “extra” about it. I am passionate, emotional, social, a music lover, obsessed with strong coffee, good wine, and great food and definitely a work-a-holic, I really just cannot help myself.
What inspired you to create this brand?
I am a creative by nature. I got my degree in Graphic design through Rhodes University many moons ago. Round about the time that technology shifted drastically in the industry. I felt a little lost in the big world as everything I learnt wasn’t relevant anymore. I felt as though I had wasted my time and my money studying.
I worked the industry tirelessly as a freelance designer for many years and realised that selling my imagination, time and creativity was a hard bargain. The hours were long and pay was extremely low. People only seemed to pay for tangible products. So, I purchased my first decal machine which was literally my lifesaving, plus a big loan from the bank at the time. My thoughts were, design, create product and sell.
In the interim, I got married, had Kikki and opened a well-known kid’s boutique franchise. I sold my wall art in my store and after doing retail for years whilst juggling my design company I was exhausted and burnt-out.
When I found out I was pregnant with Franki, I decided to sell the franchise and take a creative sabbatical to really develop my range and online store. I gave myself 6 months which really isn’t a lot of time for all the work that goes into what we do. Frankie was born and was maybe THE most difficult baby in the world. She was extremely colic up until a year and just very sickly. She demanded my attention24/7, cried continuously morning and night, never slept, lived on my boob and wanted no one else in the whole world but her Mama-bear (still doesn’t and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This made launching and developing Kikki and Franki (whilst designing to pay the bills) so challenging but I was just so happy, very poor, but so happy so it really didn’t matter to me at all. I was so excited walking into my beautiful new studio every day, baby on boob and passion in my soul. I finally launched the online store in January 2017.
I was petrified. I had all these “what ifs”, what if people don’t like what I put out, what if no one purchases my products, what if this whole thing fails? BUT it didn’t! wooohoo!
It didn’t fail, it succeeded, and it succeeded because of lots of late nights, long markets, baby expos, social media work, tears, lots of passion but it mostly, it didn’t fail because of my incredible customers that have supported me through world pandemics, endless loadshedding, riots and economic turmoil. It worked because South Africans are, ultimately, passionate about South Africa and what it has to offer. Even after all the bitching and moaning they love their homeland, and so do I!
Can you tell me about the products you offer and what sets them apart from similar products on the market?
We specialise in personalised laser cut and decal wall art, gifts and keepsakes but we obviously offer lots of other gorgeous and useful items. What sets us apart is our incredible team of ladies. They are all dedicated, passionate, friendly, caring and great at what they do. Our turn-around time is so much faster than others and out products are finished and packaged with so much love and attention to detail.
What is the story behind the name of your brand?
Kikki and Franki are the nicknames of my kids. Kikki as my free-spirited, wild, creative, musical, loving and extraordinary son and Franki is my competitive, rule-follower, bossy, tender, drama-filled and extremely hysterical daughter. She is my free entertainment every day and I cannot help but laugh when she is in the same room as me.
Are your products handmade or locally sourced?
We are all for LOCAL. 99% of our products are designed, manufactured, and packaged right here in our Jozi studio.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a local brand, and how did you overcome it?
Gosh, so many! Apart from the world pandemic, loadshedding and economic crisis in our country. I think realising that you cannot make the whole world happy. Some people will just never be happy, with anything, and that is ok!
What are your future plans for the brand?
Oooowwww, so many for 2023/24. Please stay tuned. You won’t be disappointed, but I can’t ruin the surprises in store. 😊
How can consumers best support your brand and the local community?
Obviously first prize would be to support LOCAL, purchase our products and help us grow as a brand but I know this isn’t possible for everyone. So, if purchasing is not an option, please engage with us on our social media platforms, like and share our posts or drop a comment, it is so encouraging to get feedback on the things we release and we really love getting constructive criticism, it really helps us to improve ourselves.
Who is someone that inspires you?
WOMAN, all women inspire me. Especially those juggling homes, kids, full-time jobs, side-hustles and literally kicking ass at it. It is just mind-blowing and fascinating to watch. Super-human!
What do you love most about South Africa?
Way too many things to just choose one! We live in the most beautiful country in the world! If I have to choose though, I am going to choose our people. I have travelled extensively, and I promise you there is NO nation like our nation. We are friendly, funny, hard-working, and passionate but mostly I think we are so strong and so resilient as people and as a nation united.
Is there anything you could say to someone wanting to start their own business?
YES! It isn’t easy but it is worth it! You wont have a whole bunch of downtime, this is a huge misconception of working for yourself, you will work endlessly. Having said that, it is so rewarding and fulfilling. Don’t give up, most small businesses don’t see profit for at least the 1st 18 months. You are going to fail but when you fall you HAVE to get back up again and learn from your mistakes. Show up, every day, show up. Even on the difficult days, the sick days, the days you want to throw in towel, show up. Also, make sure you have an ever-evolving plan of action. It cannot stay the same, if you want to evolve, your plan needs to evolve with you.
In conclusion, the story of Stacey and her brand, Kikki and Franki, is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and community. From her beginnings as a graphic designer facing industry challenges to her leap into entrepreneurship, Stacey has demonstrated unwavering determination in building her brand.
Through the support of her loyal customers and the dedication of her team, Kikki and Franki has flourished, offering personalised laser-cut and decal wall art, gifts, and keepsakes that stand out in the market. Stacey's commitment to quality, fast turnaround times, and exceptional customer service has earned her a special place in the hearts of her customers.
Looking forward, Stacey teases us with exciting plans for the future of Kikki and Franki, promising surprises that will continue to captivate and delight. With her deep appreciation for the local community and a commitment to supporting fellow entrepreneurs, Stacey embodies the spirit of unity and resilience that defines South Africa.
As we close this edition of Hive Highlights, we are inspired by Stacey's journey, her unwavering dedication, and her ability to create a hive community that fosters connection and support. We invite you to explore the world of Kikki and Franki, where creativity thrives, challenges are overcome, and the celebration of local talent and entrepreneurship shines bright.
I love stocking Kikki & Franki. Their products are so well thought out, educational and fun!We stock the World map puzzle, learn to write letters and numbers and the Maths set.
If you are a local South African brand and you would like to feature on Hive Highlights, don't hesitate to reach out to Bee Festive at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always wanting to discover and support new talents within our community.