UPDATE: The Miss Wax Jewelry Contest Winner Is…
UPDATE: The winner of this contest is: Jana S.
Congratulations! You will be contacted shortly.
Meet Kylee Fauss: the rebellious teen turned jeweler line creator behind the brand Miss Wax. Five years ago, this young woman began designing her edgy, innovative jewelry from recycled vinyl records, and today she is collaborating with everyone from sneaker brands to acclaimed photographers.
Check out our Miss Wax giveaway and Kylee’s story below—one that workaholics will be able to relate to and aspiring designers and entrepreneurs should be inspired by.
Kiki: How exactly did you go from a “rebellious teen” to a business woman by the age of 19?
Kylee: “Starting a brand from scratch is a huge challenge and anyone who thinks it will be a cake walk is in for a surprise. Growing up, I was always the one trying to find the easy way out of everything. I knew inside I had a longing to do something HUGE but i had no idea what that was. I tried filling this void with the obvious destructive things like partying, boys and mindlessly wandering down the road of life.
“When i finally uncovered a true outlet to expand my ideas and make my creativity a tangible product, it was like a shot of lightning to my brain!
My new addiction became executing everything I dreamed about but was too scared sh*t-less to do. I had to sacrifice living like the average 20 year-old girl by spending countless hours working my fingers to the bone while my friends were partying. It didn’t matter though because I was consumed by desire. Miss Wax ignited that flame that’s still burning strong.”
What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced, then and now?
“My biggest challenge has always been maintaining my life and relationships outside of work. Balance is key and I still struggle with my instinctive need to work all the time. When I’m not working, I’m thinking about work and usually feeling bad that I’m not doing it.
“In the beginning there was no mercy to others; if you wanted to chill with me, you had to just deal with the fact that I had sh*t to do. Now I just try to create separation between the brand & myself knowing that I am still a human being with basic needs like personal experiences, relationships and, of course, rest.”
What’s behind the name, Miss Wax?
“The name Miss Wax was originally coined by Mirko Mangum who used to own a store called UNIV in Encinitas, CA. The guys at UNIV were excited about the recycled vinyl record earrings I was making at the time and they picked up the collection for their store. Mirko mentioned the idea of using “Wax” in the name (another word for vinyl), and the name “Miss Wax” just stuck. After time, we switched to various other materials to create our products, but the iconic “wax” root still manifests through the labels branding and graphic appeal.”
Who are the biggest fans of Miss Wax?
“Our market reaches all walks of life. From young to old, I’m constantly amazed at who is loving the brand. In terms of our biggest admirers, I would say evidently females who are into music/art/fashion and especially hip hop culture. Also, we have had substantial business in the Asian market because the people seem to appreciate a more imaginative style and are constantly on the hunt for the next newfangled fashion.”
What were some of your biggest inspirations when you first started out, and now?
“Music has always been the number one inspiration when developing a new collection. You can almost tell what I was bumpin’ during the fabrication and sketching of new designs. I find inspiration on the daily though everything from books to magazines and just simple human interactions through day to day experiences.”
Any exciting news or collaborations in the works?
“We have a new collaboration coming out with acclaimed photographer, Yone in Japan. The project is still in the works but we plan to release the pieces within the next couple months and they look dope! I also plan to create a collection for men in the near future so we look forward to getting the guys decked out in wax too.”
What has been your favorite collaboration so far?
“My favorite collaboration was probably the latest one I did with Vanessa Diaz a.k.a Lady Ness of RAW creative group in NYC. We developed a new epaulet and earring collection that was definitely the most challenging piece I had designed. We went back and forth, re-creating the samples about 15 times before we reached perfection. It was a test to co-design a product with someone that was located on the other side of the country, but with solid communication and the help of technology, we were able to release a fabulous new accessory. Check it out on MissWax.com.”
Have you considered expanding into other territories, such as apparel or even a higher end jewelry line?
“I was actually just strategizing the idea of a new apparel collaboration, something I’ve wanted to break into for quite some time. I’m just looking for the right brand to join forces with. In terms of higher end jewelry, I have been developing some luxury pieces to incorporate into some of our finer retail stores overseas, so stay tuned!”
One random fact about you that most people don’t know?
“I still reside in sunny San Diego, which most people don’t know! I plan to re-locate to L.A. within the next few months but I’ll be hiding out in my coastal cave until then.”
Can you give our aspiring designers a few words of advice?
“Every great success begins with one simple thought. Don’t get overwhelmed wondering how something with work out—just know it will and keep your eye on the prize. I never thought in a million years I would be where I am today with no formal education or plan. But when I really decided that starting a brand was what I wanted to do, there has been no doubt in my mind that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”
For your chance to enter and win the following two pairs of earrings (total retail value: $67), please answer this question:
What have you sacrificed to get to where you are today? Whether it’s nights of partying so you could get your homework done and graduate from school, relationships, etc.—please share your stories!
One winner will be chosen on Friday April 1st.
Contest open to U.S. residents only.