By- DeoVonte “Deo” Means
The beauty of being a documented stakeholder within any community, is the ability to witness your peer’s ideas spring forth! If they are diligent and committed to their craft, you’re privy to witness stages of implementation, sacrifice and eventual success. This growth process is the fundamental pillar in which any evolving and innovative community thrives upon. This fall, the buzz in the air among the socials was news that after almost three years of diligent work, our very own Jurran Yarbrough was beginning to incorporate his well known Kilojoules brand and debuting a new website that would make his products available world-wide. With this news, we here at The Flyy-Life decided it was time to sit down with Jurran and get a deeper understanding of the man behind the successful brand.
Kilojoules started in May of 2012 as a last minute do-it-yourself project to accentuate an ensemble for a social event. The necessary items were purchased to produce a simple rosary style necklace, but by nights end, the feedback and inquires received led to accepting client orders. Drawing on principles gained while pursuing an MBA and corporate experience; an opportunity presented itself and a business was born.
The name Kilojoules is an influence from Jurran’s undergrad studies in organic chemistry. Kilo- (1000 as in watts) and Joules- (a measurement of a specific type of energy) was a brilliant way to describe a jewelry line that’s trendy, yet mature and sophisticated. The Kilojoules brand was not an overnight success but over the years the brand has utilized client feedback as a catalyst for the success of the company. A quality product and a personalized experience has allowed the brand to upgrade. Faith and a quality product allowed Jurran to resign from a 20 year career in corporate America, to focus on the Kilojoules brand fulltime. Within this short period of time, Kilojoules has become registered as a limited liability company and office space was acquired in downtown Chicago. An additional 1200 sqft. space was secured, providing a second office, conference room and tripling the studio size. These are exciting times for Kilojoules. In the words of CEO Jurran, “It’s not just jewelry. It’s a movement!!!” We spoke for a while and my product is forthcoming, but until then, scroll down and gain a deeper understanding of the Kilojoules brand.
FL- Using 5 adjectives, describe the fundamentals of the Kilojoules business-line.
KJ- First and foremost, thanks Deo for the opportunity. Five fundamentals of the Kilojoules brand would have to be mature, trendy, sophisticated, energetic and evolving
FL- What type of customer experience do strive for your clients to take away?
KJ- We are striving for our customers to have a pleasant experience. One where they feel involved in the process and feel like their input matters. We want customers to feel confident in supporting the business and what it stands for. Kilojoules isn’t all about its’ owner! It’s about the business, the customers and the community.
FL- How do you define success and when did you know that Kilojoules was on a successful path?
KJ- Success is individually defined. From a business perspective, success is defined by ensuring that the customers receive a quality product, has an exemplary customer experience, feeling their input matters, giving back to the communicate and generating enough revenue to support the Kilojoules organizational objectives. At the end of the day I want customers to be able to stand by the product and the organization. That’s success!
FL- What has been the most difficult challenge to overcome in this journey?
KJ- Keeping the faith in light of the unseen. Additionally, I was raised to be independent; so utilizing other available resources has been tough since I’m used to doing everything myself historically.
FL- The accessories industry is highly competitive. How do you differenate yourself from your competitors?
KJ- I feel that fashion accessories, jewelry, are disproportionately created and marketed towards the women’s market segment. My vision sets me apart from the competitors because I feel there is a large untapped market in men’s jewelry. Organizationally, I am not excluding women’s jewelry from my business objectives, but I think men’s jewelry is the key to establishing my place in the market. There is a large market of GEN X and Y males that still want to be fashion forward and trendy, yet mature and sophisticated. The options for non-precious material men’s jewelry are very slim. My vision to create products to target this market large scale help to set me apart from the rest. Additionally, my background in visual arts, business, my learning agility with respect to building and making anything, and the breath of my social reach help to separate me from the competitors.
FL- Give us a brief description of your favorite piece from the collection?
KJ- The now named Signature Kilojoules bracelet is my favorite piece(s), because these bracelets have gone through and evolutionary process that had been largely influenced by my creative eye and customer feedback. The first bracelet in this line, while it had the pizazz I was looking for, I wasn’t completely pleased with the shambala style slip closure. The shamabala style slip knot closure made the bracelet seem very ‘FAD’. In my continued efforts to upgrade the Kilojoules brand, I targeted this zipper style bracelet to help upgrade the Kilojoules brand. The first two elements of the design that I wanted to upgraded were the base material of nylon and the aforementioned slip knot closure. In an effort to evolve the zipper style bracelet into a creation of my own while upgrading the brand, I switch the base material from nylon cord to leather cord. The decision to make this switch had an immediate impact on the design of the bracelet, making the bracelet sturdier and giving it a more sophisticated look. Next, in an effort to eliminate the slip knot closure, I looked to using stylish magnetic clasps. Upgrading to magnetic clasp forced me to abandon the bracelet being adjustable and increase the size of the center leather band. The first redesigned used a thick leather band which I was able to find appropriately sized magnetic clasps. The current upgrades to the bracelet significantly upgrade the look of the bracelet. The new design was well received by some customers, but other customers wanted slimmer sleeker version of the bracelet just like the original. The next redesign, I used a center leather cord half the size of the first redesign, whereby I was also able to find stylish magnetic clasps to support the smaller leather band. This redesign gave customers a slimmer aesthetic and tighter zipper pattern compared to the first redesign. Again, some customers loved the redesign, but other customers still yearned to see an even tighter zipper pattern and an adjustable style. Going back to the drawing board for a third redesign; I looked to the original version of the bracelet, using an additional piece of jewelry hardware and an adjustable lobster clasp and chain component, I was able to finally achieve all the goals set out in the redesign journey. Currently, Kilojoules has three different zipper bracelet styles that Kilojoules can claim as it’s created own; while at the same time dramatically upgrading the Kilojoules brand. These bracelets are now named, The Phat, The Little Phat, and the Slim Signature Kilojoules bracelet. The signature pattern used in these bracelets will be a signature style for Kilojoules moving forward. Louis Vuitton has the LV; Kilojoules has the signature zipper pattern that we are now challenged to continue to evolve over time to create different looks and styles of accessories.
FL- What are some of the immediate goals (3-6 months) you have for your company?
KJ- Great question! Our immediate goals are to solidify business identity, fully set-up and function on the business backend, a fully functional web portal, to generate online store revenue, establish a small retail/salon presence, and produce a handbag and clutch/wallet concept
FL- What are some of the immediate goals (3-6 months) you have for your company?
KJ- I would have to say to continue to create and solidify the Kilojoules brand and identity as a force in fashion accessories found in Chicago, to generate revenue to help feed growth, to take the Kilojoules brand and experience on the road, to begin to get some A-D list client to wear our products and create concepts for a handbag and men’s clutch/wallet
FL- Brand identity is an important factor. How do you plan to filter your product into different entities to maximize your brand identity?
KJ- Oh that’s easy! Grassroots and community, online Presence, small local retail/Salons and international retail stores.
FL- How can our viewers connect with you and receive more info?