19 May 2021|Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
For the latest in our popular Female Founder Spotlight Series we caught up with the founders of KHOEO to learn about their entrepreneurship journey.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
My background is PR, through and through! I left university and started an internship at one of the largest PR agencies in London, was made a permanent member of the fashion team a week later and never looked back. I worked my way up, making myself indispensable with each title change so they couldn’t let me go. After gaining more industry experience at a couple of other agencies, I took the leap in 2010 (along with my business partner Charlie Boud whom I met when we both worked at Mission Media) to set up our agency K&H Comms (previously Kitch & Honey). Having had the PR & Comms agency for eight years, we added a wholesale showroom to our offering and during the pandemic, realised we were missing one more thing – our own brand to allow our clients another platform to shine (and sell). KHOEO was born in March 2021 after 9 months in the making.
KHOEO is an ecommerce shopping platform which showcases a selection of highly-sought after, high-quality, influencer-inspired products and a curated edit of their collections, as well as limited edition collaboration SKU’s and influencer edits, offering customers a fresh and constantly updated shopping experience on a visually engaging platform. The name derives from the Latin ‘Coeo’ meaning “I unite, assemble, come together” – we then added our K&H twist to this.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
When others were scaling back, we felt it was important to keep innovating and with that, KHOEO came to life. Knowing how tough it is for brands in this climate and having the skill set to launch a brand we wanted to add to our K&H offering with a direct-to-consumer outlet. There is a gap in the market for a contemporary/luxury platform that offers a well curated mix of sought-after brands across fashion, beauty and lifestyle. With no risk to the brand, we are also offering them the chance for more exposure, opportunity to attract a different customer as well as benefiting from our PR agency resources. We will be doing monthly brand and influencer partnerships allowing us to focus on our collaborative ethos.
How did you achieve awareness?
We have an amazing PR division and a KHOEO specific dedicated PR team who work on the brand daily. We have already been featured in Stella, Vogue online, Marie Claire and Stylist. We also have dedicated team members to focus on brand building through digital and social media initiatives.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We used an extremely small amount of personal investment to get the venture off the ground. In terms of growth, we will be charging monthly retainers to be on the platform as well as commissions on all sales.
What are the key successes?
To be honest – launching! It was a mountain to climb… to balance the sheer amount of work it takes to launch a business with the demanding nature of an agency, but with great teamwork and national lockdown we managed to do it!
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Our biggest challenge, which was the nature of the beast really, was the administrative side of collating all of the brands’ assets. There was a lot of back and forth and we launched with nearly 40 brands. Image cropping, product descriptions, terms and conditions – we read and re-read A LOT. It was a bit of a challenge working remotely, time is so much better spent when you are face to face. But we were so motivated to make this work and launch KHOEO during a time when consumers are engaging in online shopping more than ever before, that the challenges really presented themselves as opportunities – at least that is how we feel now!
What are your plans now/for the future?
Plan is to grow and grow quickly. For the first phase, we are going big with PR – an area we are particularly fond of as it is where it all began. Getting the word out there and driving people to the site to see all we have to offer is of pinnacle importance. We are already looking to move onto the second phase of brand onboarding which is exciting. We have so many amazing brands on the platform already, but exponential growth opportunities lie in the beauty, accessory, home and gift categories which we are prioritising in this next phase.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
To mute that inner critic. The world is not going to end if you try something and fail. But first, you need to allow yourself permission to succeed. Think about what success looks like to you, take baby steps, surround yourself with the right people, and have fun. You’ll never fail if you had a good time doing it.
Can you share you top 5-10 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Don’t over think it. If you do, you won’t do it.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; you just need to bring your own magic.
You have to love it otherwise it won’t work. Passion is key.
Surround yourself with positivity and people who are smarter than you. Everyone has something unique to offer – as long as you align on the common goal.
If things get hard, push harder.
Nurture your relationships – both with yourself and others.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
I love Erna (@mercer7official) and Emma (@emmarosestyle) for their perfectly curated fashion edits – I’m always swiping up and buying!
@beautifuldestinations can send me into a holiday daydream. I love a holiday!
Elizabeth Day (@elizabday) and Jay Shetty (@jayshetty) are hugely inspiring from a life and business point of view. As an entrepreneur it’s about more than numbers, it’s about human connection – with your colleagues, your brands and your clients.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Einstein put it brilliantly – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We wanted to offer more to our clients, our brands, our employees and to ourselves as individuals, which is why innovation is key to the K&H group – whether it is an agency, wholesale showroom or ecommerce platform.
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?
@wearekhoeo / www.khoeo.com