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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kayley Simac

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayley Simac.

Hi Kayley, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was first introduced to the fashion world at my local high school. Originally, I had wanted to be a writer because I love telling stories. It wasn’t until I was accidentally placed in the wrong fine arts class that I discovered my passion for storytelling wasn’t in writing but in character development.

My high school teacher, Leah, really pushed me into applying to fashion schools. I was the only kid from my school’s fashion program to pursue a career in it. I applied for and was accepted into the O’More college of design in Franklin TN which later merged with Belmont University.

During those four years, I soon discovered I had a passion for more theatrical designs. I wanted my designs to tell a story, to build a character from a concept idea. Traditional target markets did not capture my interest, but the performance industry did.

They were storytellers and I wanted to help them tell their stories. I never envisioned or dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. However, while taking a business class at Belmont, I fell in love with it and knew I wanted to create my own costume shop!

During my junior and senior years of college, I wanted to create a brand that would focus on performing artists such as dancers, acrobats and aerialists, musicians, and actors. I wanted my brand to represent a child-like imagination brought to life through a muse.

Over the past two years of creating and perfecting my skills, I have created two dance performance costume collections that are now available online.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Building my brand has had its challenges.

Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money to invest in me going to college. I took out a lot of loans and have struggled financially throughout college and even now. Maintaining another job while trying to start your own can get overwhelming at times.

The biggest challenge for me was learning to network and build a client base. I’m originally from a small town in East TN. I knew almost everyone in that town so introducing myself and trying to introduce my brand was a huge change for me.

I went from a town where everyone knew me to a city where nobody knew me. It was scary at times, and It took me a while to get used to reaching out to other brands, other designers, and potential clients

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My brand, Catastrophe Designs, is an online costume shop that focuses on creating custom and ready-to-wear performance wear for a variety of different artists. I create costumes for dancers, acrobatics and aerialists, musicians and singers, actors, and more.

Each of my collections is meant to help the artist become a storyteller, bringing their characters to life. I am most known for my leotards which I create where comfort and function are just as important as the design.

I am most proud of the just-launched collection The Blessed Curse, a performance dancewear collection based on the mythology of Medusa. I spent my entire senior year of college working on this capsule collection.

My custom costume consultation is what sets me apart from other customers. I offer a service that allows the performer to discuss with me not only what story they are trying to tell, but what their biggest concerns are.

Anything from price, materials, overall design, construction, trims, and functionality are discussed and valued. I help my client build their dream piece from concept ideas to reality.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
While I was in school, a professor recommended two books to me. “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and “Crushing It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Both books have helped me a lot with building my brand.

“Start with Why” is a must-read for anyone wanted to start their own business. It really helped me to understand myself as a designer and what I wanted from my brand. I was never a fan of social media until I read “Crushing It!”

This book is a must for anything who needs that extra push when it comes to marketing, especially on how to use social media to build your platform, a must-have for any business nowadays.

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Image Credits
Studio Artifact

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