I sent one of my writers to interview Kam Liann, a scarf designer from Brooklyn. Loving these scarves for the winter, ladies! Get your hands on them right before the trend sets in! -A.
I met Kam Liann of Cool Collegiate, an up and coming scarf designer, on a cold winter Saturday in New York City. We spoke about her path to becoming a designer and how she plans to expand her business.
Her tiny stature is misleading, to say the least. She is a full-fledged dynamo, as driven as she is talented. Kam Liann honed her design skills at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, Florida.
I asked her how she picked up knitting and she told me of a visit to Michael’s and how it was there that she became inspired by all the tools and different colored yarns. She taught herself to crochet and then slowly moved on to knitting. Following patterns, she became more adept at the craft and was soon making wearable pieces.
In 2007, after relocating to Brooklyn, New York, she began to knit tube scarves for herself and was often stopped on the street by admirers of her work and friends requesting that she make one for them. Word of mouth spread about her scarves and her line Cool Collegiate by Kam Liann was born.
She found a market not only from fans who saw her work in person, but also in college students eager to support their school’s teams and show college pride.
Colors such as pep rally pink and Texas Longhorn orange, among others, pepper her line. I inquired as to why she chose to focus on scarves and she told me that she was drawn to the fact that they are tangible to a great range of customers. The feeling that everyone can wear a scarf no matter what size or shape they are appealed to Kam Liann, not only from an aesthetic sense but from the marketing side as well. Customers can custom design their scarves, picking colors and choosing between the simple tube scarf and the hooded version constructed with a thicker yarn. Prices range from $40.00-$80.00.
Kam Liann is ambitious about advertising her wares and sells as an independent merchant on Etsy, via her Facebook page and at a boutique in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn called The Wagon. She was drawn to Etsy after reading an article in Nylon magazine where she spotted an ad for a jewelry line that sold to Macy’s and Urban Outfitters and noticed that the designer’s jewelry was also sold on Etsy.com.
While her aesthetic is very different, Kam Liann’s favorite designer is Ralph Lauren. She is impressed by the branding and respects Lauren’s impact on so many different facets of fashion--from perfume to the iconic Polo shirt.
While Cool Collegiate is currently a company of one for the moment, Kam Liann wants a team behind her with employees and partners as passionate as she is. She would like to expand her line to include more embellishments such as spikes and pearls to appeal to a wider market.
You can find her items on: www.etsy.com/shop/kamliann or at:
1214 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11225