Diane ‘s story
Diane Da Costa – co-founder, DYAKIM, LLC I grew up in a large family with three sisters and two brothers with both parents in the Bronx, New York, where I was able to experiment with all facets of art from playing the piano, singing, drawing, and hair design particularly; braiding, cutting, and styling on my dolls starting early, then on family and friends at 13 years old. My mother always encouraged creativity, however striving for academics and a college educations was more important in my household. I completed a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Advertising and Marketing, and then went on to complete a Cosmetology certificate after 2 years of work experience in Public Relations/ Special Events.
I chose to combine hair design and salon ownership to fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit. My grandmother was an entrepreneur, so I believe it has always been in my blood. I opened my first salon in Midtown Manhattan, after eight years as a top celebrity stylist. I closed the salon in 2001 after I had two car accidents that kept me in therapy for two years. Looking to change careers, I wrote my first nonfiction book, Textured Tresses in 2004, after 10 years in the beauty industry. I also creating my first line of curly hair products in 2006, but after the down turn in the real estate and stock market, funding for a start up product line was difficult to secure and sustain. I’ve been consulting with major product brands like, L’Oreal’s Mizani and Carol’s Daughter; Aveda, Design Essentials, Phyto and Phyto Specific to educate stylist on curly product knowledge, styling techniques, writing marketing collateral material, editorial content; and research development on curly hair products over the past seven years. I continued to regroup, save and open up a second salon in a smaller market in Westchester county in New York. I now own my second salon, SimpleeBEAUTIFUL CurlyTexturedBAR in White Plains, NY for the last five years. I was able to self-fund and launch SimpleeBEAUTIFUL Restorative Oil Collection in 2015 and it is sold online and in the salon boutique.
Kim Christensen co-founder, DYAKIM, LLC I was born in Los Angeles, moved with my mother to New York when I was 12 yrs old. I basically grew up and lived in New York until 1993, and I loved it!! I grew up in a single parent home, and my mother always stressed importance of being well education and being your own boss. My grandmother was a beautician and had her own business, and my uncle owned a tailor shop, so being an entrepreneur was more possible in my mind than not. My mother always told me that people would pay me well, but no one would ever pay me what I’m worth! I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. The point of going to college was never to get an education just to have a well paying job, but to get an education, so that I could gain experience, and a clear understanding of my chosen field, and have my own business. I graduated from Parsons School of design in New York. In the early 90’s I began my career as a clothing designer for Anne Klein II (shoe and Jewelry for Anne Klein II). I moved back to Los Angeles worked as a designer for Carole Little in the sportswear division; first official designer for Army Air Force Exchange Services. Then, I became a head designer at May Merchandising, Sr. designer at J.C Penney /Private Brands, Worthington. I’m currently working with a small organic clothing company based in Los Angeles. I have 20+ years of experience/knowledge in the garment.
My future dreams are to partner with a group to create garment and accessory manufacturing in Africa and Cuba. It would help build an economic base and empower countries that have been overlooked as a source for international manufacturing. I have had people approach me about a partnership, but I believe that partnerships are like marriages, both people have to commit to working hard at making it successful and equally yoked, which is how Diane and I came to create DYAKIM, LLC
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
DYAKIM, LLC Textured Turban, Yama Cap Towels and Silk Hair Accessories
About DYAKIM, LLC Diane has been working as a curly textured expert for over 25 years in the beauty industry, and Is constantly coming up with ideas for products, tools and techniques that will enhance natural curls and make it easier, and quicker to style and define curly textures. Around one and a half years ago, while drying client’s curly hair in her turban wrap method with salon towels made from microfiber material, a light bulb went off! An idea came to mind to create a designer styled turban towel that would quickly dry client’s wavy, curly and coily hair textures for curls-on-the go. This was finally an for a healthy way to quick-dry all textures. She could create and sell to a multicultural market that basically only has cotton and t-shirt towels to dry and define their curly and coily hair right now. Cotton can be abrasive on hair and causes breakage and shedding to all hair textures. So, she turned to her best friend, Kim Christensen, fashion /interior designer to execute the idea for their first towel; Textured Turban, a microfiber, quick-dry hair towel for the curly hair consumers
She discussed the idea with Kim in fall 2015. At the time, Kim had walking pneumonia, so she didn’t have a chance to work on the design. This was their first challenge. Kim had to get healthy again. While Diane has been natural since her early 20’s, Kim went back and forth, and recently decided to go back to wearing her hair in its natural state, again! Kim started wondering what she would do with her hair in its natural state. Then, Diane decided to spend New Years Eve in California to visit Kim, and get this product started. DYAKIM, LLC was born in January 2016, while they brain-stormed at Diane’s cousin’s dining room table. They created several hair towels and hair accessories ideas for the brand. They discussed products to replace cotton towels. Things moved quickly. Kim created the sketches, sourced the fabric, manufacturing and production, and Diane worked on administration, packaging, website, social media, marketing and promotions. In April 2016 the first samples were ready for testing. After several tweaks, samples were sent to everyday men and women customers, beauty editors and travel bloggers for their feedback, and they have received overwhelming positive responses. They have received a 100% positive response rate on the Textured Turban and Yama cap from marketing research from Beauty Beat Box, a beauty subscription. Every person who tested the towels responded with an enthusiastic, “I want two towels, and I would totally style the towel and wear it outside of the house. It’s functional, stylish, lite weight, quick and easy to use, and it works”! DYAKIM, LLC has designed three microfiber quick dry towels: the Textured Turban for all hair textures, the Yama cap for long hair, braids, hair extensions and locs for men, women and kids; and a waffle towel for bath and hair. The hair towels are sold online at www.dyakimstyle.com, Launching September 2016.
DYAKIM Collection’s Price Point Textured Turbans, Yama Cap and Waffle Hair & Bath Towels retail for $23.99 to $26.99
What is the purpose of this loan?
Our business will be impacted greatly by this loan, enabling DYAKIM to grow our business, create a sustainable customer base, increase sales, hire staff contributing to the economic growth of the community, and to reach our goal of opening an accessory, home collection/lifestyle brand, online with pop up stores in New York and a boutique Los Angeles in the next 2 years and possibly one day in Cuba. This loan will also fulfill the dream and goals of a successful partnership by Diane and Kim to join their vast beauty and fashion expertise and knowledge under one house to create a home, lifestyle accessory brand that will address a niche in the market that has been ignored, while generating a large and loyal customer base.
This loan will greatly impact our lives and our family lives by providing a new and sustainable beauty and fashion accessory brand, which we feel will be a global game changer in natural haircare and maintenance in the beauty, fashion and accessory industry!
Years in operation: More than 5 years