Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaedion Wynter.
Hi Kaedion, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
The idea of Melanin Waisted started long before I had actually given it a name. In 2018, I was renting a back house on the east side and I came across an Instagram account for a woman who made waist beads, but she was a traveling artist and I am really big on doing things myself. So I was like, “I can make these,” and I did. The first few I made were all the same color but just different patterns.
I was really just playing around with it at that time, but a lot of my friends were really into it. So when people would inquire, mostly people I had already known, I’d tell them, “yeah, I’ll make some for you.” At that time, I was in the process of trying to get more settled and find a steady job so I never made the active effort to pursue waist beads as a business venture. Fast forward to 2019, I ran into an old friend, who asked me to make her waist beads in 2018 and she was my first customer.
I made her like 3 pairs of waist beads and that is when I decided to go full throttle and launch the business. At the time, I was calling it “Melanin Down,” after a caption from a picture I’d posted on Instagram in 2018, but my slogan was “let’s get WAISTED,” so the name just clicked one night as I was sitting in my living room with a former associate and that is how the new name came about.
2019, was a super busy year, I had a friend who knew a lot of people so she was able to get the name out there and a lot of girls were interested in waist beads because we were really hyping it up. I did so many pop-up shops then, where I would make beads on-site, and network as much as possible.
I’m glad to have had my friends and family when I started this venture because they’ve been so supportive and introduced me to a lot of people which provided me with many opportunities. I still get orders from out of state, it’s actually amazing.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It definitely has not always been a smooth road. The business has definitely slowed down a lot since the pandemic hit. In my opinion, attending those pop-up shops and having the ability to network definitely provided me with the opportunity to find more customers.
Furthermore, just being outside made it easier to “advertise” because people were seeing the beads. With the stay-at-home restrictions, the way we interacted with each other changed a lot, so I felt like waist beads were not much of a concern when people felt like they wouldn’t be seen.
Also, when the pandemic hit, I literally was getting ready to resume school at UCLA, after not being on campus since 2019. So doing school full-time from home, home-schooling my son, and carrying a baby as a surrogate occupied so much of my time, that I felt that Melanin Waisted suffered.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I started Melanin Waisted making strictly waist beads, but I offered other beaded services like anklets, bracelets, chokers, thigh beads, and beaded garter belts. Because many of the people who come to me for waist beads wear them to show them off, I’ve also added whipped body butter and embroidered crop tops to the items I offer.
Most people that know of Melanin Waisted know me for the waist beads, but there are some people from here to New York that know me for my beaded garter belts, thanks to my super supportive big sister. I’m really proud of how far Melanin Waisted has come, because I’m an introvert and there have been plenty of times when it would have been easier to give up, but I’ve persevered and continued to satisfy my customers so I’m proud of that.
I feel like it definitely has encouraged me to advocate for myself and network more. I think that Melanin Waisted has always been set apart from others because I like to promote body positivity. I know many women weren’t completely sold on the idea, but I’ve always wanted women to know that waist beads are not exclusive to girls with “perfect” bodies.
To me, it has always been about women feeling beautiful in their own skin and wearing them for themselves before choosing to wear them for others to see.
So maybe we end by discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters most to me is making a difference.
I didn’t set out to be this huge brand or anything, I just wanted to do something I enjoyed doing and share it with people that would enjoy it as well. I feel that if I can make a difference in one person’s life no matter how big or small, I’d be happy.
When it comes to Melanin Waisted, what matters is the reactions from the people who chose to support me when it could have been anyone else.
- $15 single-strand waist beads.
- $30 double strand waist beads.
- $45 triple strand waist beads.
- $55 garter beads.
- $7 anklets, bracelets, chokers (ABC).
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: melaninwaisted.com
- Instagram: @melaninwaisted
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melaninwaisted
- Twitter: @melaninwaisted
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI78KqCyWMi6g6OMCTT3SHg
@btophotos and @savsvision