We’re Kahran & Reg - a husband and wife photography duo on a mission to empower kids around the world by showcasing their beauty, uniqueness and creativity. We’re most known for our AfroArt series showcasing the beauty and versatility of afro hair with an intersection of fashion. We love upcycled clothing and working with our designer to create couture looks out of everyday materials and fabrics.
For this project, we partnered with talented children's couture designer, Alicia Akers of Alexandria Olivia. We decided to create vintage couture and royal looks out of upcycled fashion using beautiful fabrics sourced from fabric.com. Our AfroVictorian theme was a fusion of designs from the Victorian era mixed with African fabrics. Alicia provided beautiful collars, and transformed existing dresses to give them a feeling of royalty.
Alicia used STOF France Sampa Multicolore to up-cycle this look
Was starting a business always in your plans or did a specific event or opportunity inspire its fruition?
We started our business while my husband was in school for photography. As our business grew, we continued to narrow our focus to kids and started to develop our own unique style.
How did you determine your target audience/customer?
When we first decided to focus on children’s photography we decided to get into the kids fashion industry. When we began, we realized that several of the parents of kids with natural hair would bring their kids in with their hair straightened because they thought that’s what they needed to do to get into the industry. From there, we decided to focus on kids with natural hair to empower self-confidence in them.
Did you choose your audience and build to their desires/needs or did you build a product and find the right audience for you?
I would say that we built our product then found the right audience. In the beginning we did several test shoots and projects that were for personal use and over time we started to develop an audience that was interested in our style of shoots.
Did you have any challenges in the early stages of your business?
Since we market to a very niche audience and offered a service that was unique, we had to spend a lot of time in the beginning not only for marketing but also for educating potential clients on our products and services.
What helped you overcome these challenges?
One bonus is that our line of business is very visual, so as more people started to see and share our work our audience grew and made it an easier sell to potential clients once they were able to see previous examples.
What marketing tactic has been the most profitable for you revenue wise? What’s been the best driver for brand awareness?
Social media is everything for us - we try to mix our social media marketing with email marketing to follow up with (and educate) leads that we find via social media.
How long did you use these tools before you saw results?
We’ve been using these tools since we first started our business in 2009. It was around 2013 when our social media audience really started to grow rapidly due to a series of viral posts.It has made a tremendous impact on our business - namely allowing us to attract and book clients worldwide vs only in our local area.
What are some of the benefits and challenges of partnering together?
One of the biggest advantages to partnering with another vendor is being able to utilize each other's unique talents and skillsets. We love partnering with designers, hairstylists, jewelry vendors and other who can use their talents to help make our vision come to life.
One of the challenges in working with vendors is often communication. We recommend being honest and open about the partnership and to get as much in writing in the beginning as possible to minimize confusion.
Also, do you have any recommendations for partnering with other makers and creators who share similar vision?
I would recommend being selective with vendors you choose to partner with so that you are aligned only with like-minded partners. Partnerships should be beneficial to all parties involved so that everyone gets something out of it.
How do you create appealing imagery or videos to showcase your products?
Luckily as photographers we have tons of appealing content/products to share with our audience. We try to find different ways to showcase our images such as 360 videos and behind the scene peeks in addition to our regular photos to help our audience see some of the process of creating our photos.
Do you leverage basic technology or professional equipment?
Both our professional camera equipment and our phone for behind the scenes captures.
Have you had to adjust your business or marketing strategy to remain competitive?
We definitely had to adjust our business for the first year to remain competitive. In the beginning we were more general photographers photographing everything from babies to weddings to events. It was difficult to attract an audience that way which is why we started to develop our niche. We believe having our niche audience has allowed us to grow in ways that we wouldn’t have if we were trying to market to everyone.
Alicia used Quilted Knit Aztec Inspired Tribal Black/White to up-cycle this look
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
We’ve had several that we are proud of, but at the moment we would say that completing our upcoming coffee-table book, “Glory” has been one of our biggest accomplishments. We’ve had to learn how to produce high quality images in a variety of settings and countries around the world.
How has having the right fabric supplier made the difference in your business?
We absolutely love the variety on fabric.com. Our business is unique and we need a partner that can keep up with our unique needs.
What piece of advice do you wish you had before starting your business?
I wish someone had told me “If there is no lane, create one”. It would have saved us a lot of time trying to follow the crowd and allow us to start focusing on our own unique path much sooner.