UT senior Kayla Matlock has owned and operated Kay Kouture Co., a women’s fashion boutique that specializes in eyewear and swimsuits, since last year.
Matlock was motivated to start her business in March 2020 because she felt that the timing was appropriate. While the coronavirus pandemic was breaking out, and online shopping was becoming more popular, Matlock saw her opportunity.
When opening Kay Kouture Co., Matlock felt the timing was especially right because of the protesting and social activism actively occurring throughout the country. She felt this was a time when Black businesses should be upholding their responsibilities.
“I felt that Black businesses especially should be taking a stand and voicing their opinions,” Matlock said. “This is why I felt that I should try as hard as possible to open my business and keep my business running.”
The journalism major felt she had the time, motivation and purpose to launch her new business in quarantine.
“I was very excited to launch my business, I had the idea for a while,” Matlock said. “I really needed something that I could put my hands on.”
Matlock also revealed that she has inspiration for several upcoming ideas to further develop her business. She could not give specifics as to the ways her business will be growing, but she hopes to eventually sell a wider variety of products and is confident in the future of Kay Couture Co.
Matlock is the businesses’ sole owner and operator. As a full-time student, she noted that it a challenge to complete all of the tasks that come with running a business herself.
“I would have to say that the most challenging part (of running Kay Kourture Co.) is completing all of the tasks of running a business myself. I am a student who is busy, and I have my own things going on, so it can be challenging to keep up,” Matlock said. “I do not have any employees to help me, so I rely on myself to stay on pace ... I’m constantly busy with having to remember to keep up with all the different aspects of being the sole business owner and operator.”
Matlock noted that what she enjoys most about running Kay Kouture Co. is interacting with her customers. She actively keeps up with her social media pages and her website to remain in connection with her customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really love that I am able to interact with so many of my customers whether it is online or face-to-face. I stay active on all of my social media pages and maintain my website for my customers,” Matlock said. “Interacting with my customers is definitely the most rewarding part of the job. Social media is a great way for me to do that.”
Matlock expressed that if any celebrity endorse her sunglasses she would want it to be Beyoncé.
“I had actually tried to contact Beyoncé about my sunglasses before ... It was funny because shortly after I had tried to get in contact with her and her managers about my sunglasses, Beyoncé came out with her own line of sunglasses,” Matlock said.
Matlock’s roommate, Kayla McCracken, noted that she loves the fact that she can see the drive and determination in Matlock.
“I absolutely love her business. Seeing her plan and make a goal for herself to actually set and go after those goals is amazing,” McCraken said. “She goes above and beyond to make each person feel special.”
Matlock’s products are available online on Kay Kouture Co.’s website.