This 22 Year Old Started with P20,000 Capital and Now Sells Thousands of Products a Day
Janet Kyla Cañete launched Tala by Kyla as a passion project for her fondness for accessories. Now, she sells thousands of products a day. Here’s how she did it.
According to statistics, 86% of Filipinos turn to e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada for their shopping needs. Around 52% of these shoppers are aged 25 to 34 years old. And about 72% of online shoppers are women. This explains why fashion accessories are some of the most in-demand products online. One of the most popular fashion accessories brand is TALA by Kyla which can be found on various e-commerce platforms.
Who is Kyla of TALA by Kyla? And how was she able to rise above other brands selling fashion accessories? In this article, get to know more about 22-year-old Janet Kyla Sophia Cañete as she shares more about her entrepreneurial journey with The Business Manual.
Creating TALA by Kyla
Kyla describes herself as a natural “kikay” girl as she grew up watching her mom run her bags and accessories business. As she grew older, she would receive her own tools and materials which she’d use to create her own trinkets. She would sell these to her friends.
“I started TALA by Kyla when I was still a student. I borrowed PHP 20,000 from my parents and at first, I sold mostly curated pieces. TALA started as a one-woman store and I did everything from taking photos to marketing, selling, and customer service,” Kyla shares.
“I realized na okay pala, kaya pala. So I started selling more until lumaki na, nagka online stores na, and the rest is history [I realized this was okay, I could do it. So I started selling more until it grew, I had online stores, and the rest is history],” she adds.
By starting her own business, she was keen on solving three main pain points that she saw in the local accessory scene—namely, price, design, and quality.
“We wanted to produce high-quality and trendy designs while making sure to keep them affordable for everyone. Marami kasing magagandang designs, but poor yung quality. Meron ding ok yung quality and design, but wala na sa uso. [There were many beautiful designs, but the quality was poor. There were also products that had ok quality and design, but they were no longer in fashion.] We wanted to keep the balance between the three.”
The Early Struggles of Online Selling
After TALA by Kyla exploded online, Kyla admits that it got to a point where she struggled to manage all the orders, especially when everything was coming in all at once.
“Things got easier to manage when we entered [e-commerce] because everything was in one place. Seller center became our best friend.”
The biggest struggle that she had to deal with, according to her, was during the pandemic as they struggled logistically. At that time, she shares how it was harder to transport orders and meet people, but she considers it a blessing since that’s when the orders poured in.
“Technology has been a really big help to the business because most of our sales still come from social media. It also became our biggest and most effective social listening tool because we always see feedback and suggestions from customers,” she adds.
Coming Up with Different Designs
After years in the business, Kyla has already released thousands of necklace designs. When asked about the first collection she released, she reminisces on how she worked on celestial pieces and basic designs until they decided to create pressed flower pieces.
“I remember one of the first viral pieces that we had (circle baby’s breath necklace)—hanggang ngayon marami pa rin kaming restock requests [up to now we still get a lot of restock requests]!”
With so many designs to create, what is the creative process of the team? How does TALA by Kyla face the challenge as there are thousands of buyers who wait for every design release.
“First we look at trends, then we check comments and suggestions from our customers. The most important thing is kami mismo sa team [the members of the team itself], we all wear our pieces. We wouldn’t release something we wouldn’t wear. It also helps that we have different styles so we can check what works and what doesn’t,” Kyla explains.
“Fashion is an ever-changing world. We always have to innovate, create, adjust, and learn. We’ve gotten so many requests about different accessories because people are more experimental now. Sometimes they want earrings that match their necklaces, sometimes they want to mix and match. From there, we also end up discovering some items na nagugulat kami mabenta pala [that surprised us by selling well].”
The Whole Package
Aside from the designs of TALA by Kyla’s necklaces, another notable aspect about the brand is its attractive packaging. Each box also contains a polishing cloth, a thank you card, and even freebies. The 22-year-old girl boss shares how she came up with this idea.
“Personally, I like unboxing my parcels. I like feeling like I’m opening a gift to myself, so we also want to give that experience to our customers. Minsan kasi [Sometimes] you buy things online just to feel something. We want to go beyond that. We want people to see that their order is as special as they are. This will make you shine, so hindi pwedeng basta-basta lang ang packaging [so we can’t use ordinary packaging].”
On Managing a Growing Brand
Considering how far TALA by Kyla has come, The Business Manual asked Kyla if there was ever a point when she wanted to give up. To this, she answers, “Many times! But at the end of the day, you’ll realize din na this has been your dream for the longest time–ngayon ka pa ba maggi-give up [now you’ll give up]? Sometimes you just need to take a breather and realize how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go. Tapos laban ulit! [Then fight again!]”
True enough, Kyla went on to pursue her vision for the brand and remain hands-on with operations as it continues to grow.
“I’m still able to oversee everything from designs to creatives to marketing. I still get the final say, and TALA is still pretty much how I envisioned it to be. I still make the designs, that’s what I’ll never give up for TALA.”
With every design launch that TALA by Kyla releases online, the brand has managed to become one of the most successful brands on online platforms. By having new collections sold out immediately, Kyla admits, “It can be overwhelming sometimes, but we’re definitely proud of what the brand has achieved and we can’t wait to show people everything we planned so far.”
Future Growth for TALA by Kyla
“We’ve gone from a hundred orders a day to more than a thousand,” Kyla says. “We also have four physical stores now (Sta. Lucia East, SM Molino, SM Valenzuela, and SM North EDSA) and we now have our first franchisee who will open her branch next month. Our team is also growing, and we’re planning on having more accessory lines in the future.”
Oftentimes in the past, Kyla and her team would hold bazaars and pop-up stores across the country. And they would be overwhelmed by the number of customers. Aside from joining these bazaars, the brand also reached out to customers from other countries as well.
“We started having international distributors when our collections started going viral internationally. We’d always get requests to ship worldwide, and that ‘phenomenon’ also happened locally until people started asking if we’d open stores near their area. It’s surreal, and I feel like it’s every brand’s dream to be that in demand. We’re always grateful and blessed.”
What’s In Store for TALA by Kyla
Kyla is confident that what sets them apart from other brands is that they listen to their customers. “We make sure everyone has something for them in our shops. We have collections for K-pop lovers, fur parents, LGBTQIA, romantics, edgy girls, and guys, too. If you need something to give someone, we probably have them,” Kyla says.
With the brand’s success came one huge struggle: brand imitations. How does she deal with those? “We have to be aggressive, especially now that they seem to have deceived more people into believing that they’re the real TALA by Kyla. We have active campaigns like #TrulyTALA to tell people that this is us, this is what the brand is, we’re from the Philippines, and we have actual people, people you can actually see who are working behind the brand.”
With the success of TALA by Kyla and the continuing growth of e-commerce, the future looks bright for the brand. And as Kyla commits herself to exerting efforts to further expansion and business growth, she says, “We’ll definitely have more branches, more product lines, and more collections that we’re already preparing for. We’re so excited for you guys to see them!”