Kayla Toossi is the founder of Un4gettable clothing. At only 16, Kayla already has an entrepreneurial drive and a business savvy mindset. Un4gettable is all about confidence, self love and empowerment.
Kayla talked to us about how Depop gave her a head start, the finances involved with starting a clothing line and how she came up with her marketing strategy.
Hi Kayla, I’m sure you get asked this a lot but what do you want to do after school?
After starting Un4gettable, I thought that I needed to study fashion but I think I’d want to study business. I think Parsons is a great school but I don’t love New York so my dream school would have to be UC Santa Barbara.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for Un4gettable?
I love the brand Réalisation Par and am truly inspired by one of the co-founders, Alexandra Spencer. Right now it’s a very trendy brand and I love the style and quality of it. Un4gettable isn’t really seen as a Y2K brand, it’s not that style but my personal style is definitely a little Y2K. At the beginning of COVID, I started on Depop and just by exploring the app, I realized Y2K was what I wanted to dress like. I know a lot of people just see Depop as a way to sell clothing but I got really connected to it and that kind of inspired me to start Un4gettable. I really wanted to have my own shop, I wanted it to be personalized and have it how I wanted.
And what really pushed you to start Un4gettable?
I have always loved fashion, ever since I was a baby! Fashion has always been a big part of my life. During quarantine, I saw a lot of young teenagers starting their own brands and after selling a bit on Depop I thought that I could see myself doing it as well.
With the clothing, what aspects are you involved with?
I design everything and then get it manufactured. There are a couple things where I sew on the lace or the bow but most things are manufactured or screen printed. I had to do a lot of research to find people that were cost efficient but also high quality. It’s a very simple way to get my designs out there.
How do you design everything?
I use Pinterest a lot. I also use a lot of inspiration from other brands like Realisation Par. When I start designing something, I think about sizes, what season it should be for and then that translates into whether it should be a tank top, a long sleeve or a jumper.
Un4gettable is such a good name, how did you come up with that?
Originally it was going to be called It Girl LA which I did like but it was not really inspired by anything. After a couple days, I realized it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in. I’m not too sure how I came up with Un4gettable but when I did, I loved it, I made the logo immediately. Every girl that wears this is Un4gettable. A vision that I’ve had is that every girl that wears it feels confident in who they are and feels unforgettable.
What other messages do you want to get across with your brand?
I want people to feel that they’re special, unique and confident.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your own brand?
That you have to lose money to make money and it’s super hard to manage money. I’m an organized person but I still find it stressful to deal with money.
Speaking of money, how did you begin funding your business?
For my first release, I started with $600 and I didn’t have that many items which made it easier. Right now, it costs a lot more to restock and create something new because I’ve also grown in sizes. I really want to be size inclusive which does cost more money. A common myth is that you earn money immediately, it’s hard to make money immediately. I want high quality items which come at a higher price.
Initially, I made all my money by selling everything on Depop but I’ve stopped using that so Un4gettable is my main source of income. It’s definitely been more difficult but also pushed me to work harder to make my money. I would say that putting in the money is definitely worth it but it’s so hard to come up with out of nowhere. Going through prices of items is also hard because people think it can be expensive but they might not understand it’s handmade or of a higher quality.
How do you manage living your life, school and on top of that, Un4gettable?
It’s honestly so hard. School is getting harder while Un4gettable is getting more popular and I’m the only person working on Un4gettable. I’m the only person replying to DMs, comments and packaging etc. I kind of manage it by creating two separate to-do lists and prioritise by their due dates. It can get bad sometimes so I’ll stay up really late and get it finished. It definitely gets stressful but I love it.
Your ambassador programme is so unique, where did that idea come from?
I asked my sister, Kiana, how to promote packages and all that. I wanted to create something where I had a relationship with the person promoting the clothing though. I realized that one-month programmes were perfect so I could reach out to a lot more people, it’s helped us grow a lot and I’m super thankful for it.
I’m working on a collab with ZigZag! The girl that owns it has a very similar brand to me, I trust her with everything. We split everything from resources, time and effort. She sews everything and I apply all the rhinestones. From the beginning, we’ve always wanted to collab but thought it would be best to grow a little bit first!
Written by Anna Lowe