Hornet Starts Her Own Business

By Nefretari Powell ’19 and Jonathan Adman ’19
The desire to dress and approach fashion in a distinctive way is common among teens today. With the help of Kiandra Peart’s’19 Kustoms by Ki, students can achieve their individual styles.

Kustoms by Ki is a brand that Peart started back in September. She customizes various things such as clothing, sneakers, wallets and purses. However, designing sneakers is her passion.

Peart ’19 said, “I enjoy art and I love sneakers so when I came across some custom sneakers online, I thought to myself ‘I could do that’ and tried it on some old sneakers.”

Taking her hobby to the next level, Peart began practicing on more shoes and advertising her work through social media with the help of her friends. She explained that business was a little difficult at first since many people were not familiar with her work. As time passed, though, she received more and more orders which caused the number of customers to increase.

“It’s not just about making money,” Peart ’19 stated. “It’s something I enjoy doing and
something I would like to be able to do for a living.”

As far as preparing the sneakers, Peart takes off the original paint with acetone and then lays the base or background colors. After that, she sketches the design and fills it in with spray paint, air brush paint or anything that the customer requests. If the shoe is made of cloth, then she just goes on to the drawing and painting step. This process usually takes about one or two days, but it depends on what’s requested by customers. Peart always tries to accommodate them.

Anselmo Farrell ’20 said, “She was nice, very adaptive to what she thought would look nice, and what I wanted on my shoe.”

Pricing also varies as many consumers have different preferences. For example, the Midwood discount for any kind of slides is $30. On the other hand, another pair of sneakers can cost $150. The amount you pay is essentially determined by the difficulty of the shoe. Consumers feel that all her creations are worth it especially since everything is done by hand.

“The price for my slides were reasonable as it showed the hard work and effort she put into it,” Daniel Ryabo ’19 described.

In order for Peart to produce these amazing results, she has to manage her time and this is not always easy as a student athlete. However, now that she basically has a job to attend to, she takes it seriously.

“Instead of of watching T.V or playing games, I’ll do sneakers so that I’m being productive,” Peart ’19 expressed. “Just not being lazy is key to accomplishing.”

Designing sneakers is not just a pastime. In fact, she sees herself pursuing this small business in the future.

“A lot of people I look up to are professional customizers that do this for a living and make a lot of money off of it so I hope to make a bigger name for myself and a brand,” she explained.

One customizer that she admires is Cory Bailey, also known as Sierato. He is famous on social media for his outstanding, detailed work. Peart is planning to collaborate with customizers like Bailey as well as with big brands. She felt like she almost achieved this goal just a few months ago when she got a chance to meet head Nike officials with her basketball team. However, it was before she began prioritizing her business. Nevertheless, she remains driven with hopes of reaching Bailey’s level of success one day.

Inspiration does not only come from the people she idolizes. Her progress thus far is enough to keep her motivated. Constructive criticism also contributes to this feeling. The only time negativity is present is when she second guesses herself, thinking of what she should’ve done and what she could fix next time.

Additionally, her friends and family offer a support system. Since day one, her parents have been buying her supplies and promotional items that she needed in order for her business to take off.

“Sometimes they don’t understand what I do or how I do it, but they trust me and allow me to do things on my own,” Peart ’19 said.
Veronica Alvarez ’19, a friend of Peart’s is lucky to be by her side while she becomes more and more prosperous.

She said, “When Ki has her mind set to something, she does it. Her success in business was gradual. She put work into her art and the results paid off. Seeing her own accomplishments motivated her even more.”

In terms of next steps, Peart just plans to continue working, being optimistic and going with the flow.

“I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and keep getting a bigger name and hopefully that’s what I need to expand,” she explained.

For more information, follow Peart’s Instagram and Facebook @kustomsbyki and add her Snapchat @kid_ki513.

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