Today we’d like to introduce you to Kande Hall.
Kande, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2009, I was walking down a narrow aisle at a flea market in France. Sticking-out into the aisle was a small table with a cardboard box on top with dirty, rusty medallions inside. They were not valuable, but I brought a few home to California, and attached them to pearls my mother had given me.
A few weeks later, I was at a network meeting for our branding agency (we owned for 25 years in Los Angeles), and a colleague asked me about my necklaces, then she asked how much they cost! That day, the concept of French Kande was born.
I had training in Fashion, Fine Art, and Graphic Design, but nothing prepared me to design jewelry… Then I looked at journal/inspiration books I’d been making and noticed how “jewelry centric” they were. So, I began to make jewelry using these medallions in my spare time. I learned about casting and plating, and quickly put the basic infrastructure together to hand cast from the medallions, so I could make more pieces. Then a friend asked if I’d like to do a House party in December 2009… I made 90 necklaces myself, and headed to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I sold 20 necklaces in two hours. I came home to my hubby with the dough, and we were in disbelief.
Fast forward to today. FK is distributed in over 500 boutiques in the USA. We have showrooms in Dallas and Atlanta where we participate in 11 markets annually, and we exhibit at six major Fashion trade shows in NY and Vegas. I am devoted to my three children and the hubby- we are married 29 years this November.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes and No. When you consider that I knew nothing about a product based, designer fashion business, a little over seven years ago, you can imagine I’ve been a sponge in learning a ton of things, along with my husband.
We closed our branding agency on Feb. 2013 when he joined me full time in pursuing a future for French Kande Jewelry.
We didn’t understand the business sub-culture of showrooms, reps, fashion trade shows, and manufacturing, No one can tell you which shows are best for you, each brand is different, holding characteristics that dictate where and who may buy your product. We rolled the dice putting $11,000. on our AmEx for our first major show in NY. It was a leap of faith, and it went well, but nothing close to an overnight success.
However, our experience in Branding elevated the look of FK, when it was just starting out, and that has been huge in allowing us to distinguish FK from its competitors, and break out of the herd.
I personally attended and sold at a minimum of 16 events annually, for over four years. That was a lot, but I did it! I couldn’t let myself be tired or discouraged.
Having said this, my children were old enough, with my youngest graduating from college in 2011. The hubby and I had the opportunity to put our energy into this new business endeavor…
I struggled to learn about trend reports and such until I decide one day to set trends rather than follow. We’ve had several breakthroughs such as this in our seven-year course of building this business.
Please tell us about French Kande.
My jewelry designs feature vintage French medallions that I collect during my annual travels throughout France. Each medallion has a history or unique story, and we provide a romance card with each piece. My design aesthetic is timeless, European, bold, yet feminine. We design and manufacture entirely in my hometown of Los Angeles.
I am most proud of the quality of: our staff, our castings and semi-precious beading and customer service. We strive to be the best we can be on all levels.
At night, we can all put our head on the pillow and sleep 🙂 Also, that we are a family business; myself, the hubby and our daughter who lives in NYC.
I design four complete collections a year, and we are most known for our necklaces, then bracelets, earrings and rings. I just designed my first cross body bag. I love it.
We are recognized for our quality, and for our just-in-time manufacturing, enabling us to ship large orders rapidly. We understand what our boutique customers need and we try hard to help them succeed, which helps us to succeed.
Our medallions, beading, and timeless quality set us apart.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Not really. I’ve always tried to be humble, stay true to my design POV and trust my Spiritual compass.
- Pieces range from $66 to $750
- Website: www.FrenchKande.com
- Phone: 310-414-3400
- Email: info@FrenchKande.com
- Instagram: @frenchkande
- Facebook: frenchkande