We had the good fortune of connecting with Kia Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kia, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was a day at the airport where it seemed like every little girl, I gazed upon looked like a little fashionista’s in their Hello Kitty. I thought to myself, what is it about this cute white kitten with a bow, that has almost every little girl so obsessed with her brand. What does this brand mean for them? I began to do some research about fashion brands for girls, and as a designer, I was inspired to create a brand that would not only be a fashionable icon but be a brand that would have a meaningful inspiration to promote positivity.
It was on that very same day while doodling a sketch on the airplane next to my Mother, that a purple ladybug was born.
It wasn’t an overnight idea I would create with just one sketch but took several attempts for me to redesign my purple ladybug. Finally, she became an actual cartoon character. As I shared my ideas with family and friends, they fell in love with the whole concept. Shortly after, a good friend of mine inspired me to write a children’s book about my character and her friends. I was a bit nervous at first because I never imagined I could write a book, telling myself I’m just a designer.
However, the story of Lalibella the Ladybug has been the best thing I could have ever accomplished. A story of a unique purple ladybug is the core of my business that has given so much meaning to the brand” LALIBELLA”.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe what sets me apart, is that I allow myself to be guided by my imagination and driven by my passion to create designs that will inspire. My journey hasn’t always been an easy and that’s because my creative skills are self-taught. I never explored them much as a young girl. As an adult I had to challenge myself to turn my imagination into a reality in order to execute a plan into action.
It took several years to overcome my insecurities and to stop comparing myself to other professional artist and writers. I came into a realization that I was imperfectly perfect and had been given a gift that came from Above.
I give thanks to“God All Mighty “who guided me through this whole process, in order for me to learn things about myself, in order to grow into the person that I was meant to be. My dream one day, is to share my personal story with the world on how I struggled with my own self-confidence, just as Lalibella the Ladybug does in the storybook. And I pray one day my story will encourage all individuals to embrace their true colors from within.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Most definitely the best way to entertain my out of town friends, is to do the things what we love to do most, no matter where we are, like Happy Hours, Lunches and Brunches. In my hometown there are so many cafe, restaurant and bars. I would get on Yelp like always and we would discover together some interesting places to enjoy the things we love no matter where we go.
Some of my favorite spots here in the city are Hungry’s for Brunch or Empire Cafe. We also have the City Centre with shopping and great Happy Hour Places within the Centre. I also like to try different things like a Yoga, or Dance Class together, so this would be a fun thing to schedule with my Bestie. It would definitely a week full of Fun running around and discovering the city together.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been so many people that have been place in my path that have inspired the growth of my brand. My number one Shoutout is my Bestie Rhonda Kimbler who also rediscovered her artisitc abitlites as we work together to do what we love the most, which is to design.
Shoutout to my dear friend and Mentor Kenneth Akiri who has always encouraged me, he was there in my Humble Beginnings when Lalibella was just a sketch in my book, his supportive Mentorship has guided me from the very beginning. Shoutout to my dear friend Geisha Thompson who was kind enough to share her creative writing skills to help me explore the writer that was hidden inside me.
Shoutout to my Cousin Lena and our Brand model Gia Pete for promoting the brand, it has been their great sense of fashion that keeps me up to date on latest fashion for young girls. Shoutout to my book illustrators that uniquely express my imagination and ideas into beautiful artwork.
Special thanks dear friend Kimberly Rhone, who has transitioned to be with our creator, she is the reason that I was inspired to write the story and her encouragement pushed me to go beyond my limited beliefs. Last but not least, Shoutout! To my Mother because without her advice to give my little Purple Ladybug some Afro-Puffs, there would be no Lalibella at all.
I am truly grateful to have all of these wonderful people that God has placed in my path so that I may reach the destination that has been set before me for the success of Lalibella the Ladybug.
Twitter: Kia J Smith@lalibella2017