There’s nothing like assembling the perfect outfit from head to toe, only to mix a ratty old elastic hair band with your ultra-luxe accoutrements. If this sounds one of your daily style conundrums, meet Koli Collective, a new LA-based accessories brand that has a solution to your worn hair tie problem.
The label offers sleek silver and gold bracelets that keep one thick band or two thin bands conveniently tucked away on your wrist. Available in three sizes, the cuffs range from $50 for silver- or gold-plated stainless steel to $190 for sterling silver or 18K gold options.
Founded by architecture student Cynthia Abi Naked, the label began as a Kickstarter campaign and raised over $14,000, surpassing its original goal by $6K. “I’ve always been into accessories, [like] rings, bracelets, and watches,” the SCI-Arc student tells us. “Then I needed to have my hair tie with me, because duh! So I just kept thinking of what I could do to change this one thing that almost everyone I know goes through. You know, you buy this expensively gorgeous bracelet or watch and then next to it on your wrist is this 99-cent black hair band that really brings down the chicness of the outfit that you’re trying to achieve,” she explains.
Below, read on to learn more about why Koli’s designer decided to create the brand in the midst of an intensive five-year architecture program, how long it took to develop her first product, and her plans for Koli Collective in the future.
First, what’s the story behind the brand’s name?
The name really came to me as a combination of multiple things that are meaningful to me — from my mom’s nickname to our very first family dog in Lebanon. It’s an odd connection but for me, it was the first thing that made sense to me and I wanted the name of the brand to reflect my family heritage. They are the reason I am who I am today so I owe everything to them.
Given your architectural background, what made you decide to create a stylish accessory line?
Being raised in a family where my dad is constantly exposing us to his projects and designs, whether it be our home, or materials he’s sourcing for his clients; at a young age I developed an eye for design and began to see the world in an abstract way [in which] I believed that anything could be made beautiful and functional. I have always been interested in fashion and once I started my path as an architect, I realized then on that these two passions of mine can be combined. I also just simply saw the need for it and decided, “Hey, no one else is making this happen and I think it is a really good idea…” and just worked my butt off to make it perfect.
What was the “a-ha” moment that sparked the idea of the Tuck bracelet?
I wanted to find a way to keep the hair tie on my wrist and all my friends’ wrists without it being like “look at my hair tie” while keeping it easily accessible. I’m a very visual thinker so the moment the idea dawned on me, I immediately sketched it out and then 3D modeled it. With work and school, it took me about a year to finally develop a prototype then perfecting the design and measurements on a 3D printer.
The actual moment my first TUCK bracelet came out of the 3D printer, I put it on my wrist and “tucked” my first hair tie into it and “a-ha” it worked! It completely concealed it.
What was your reaction to the success of your Kickstarter campaign, and what kind of feedback were you receiving from backers?
I was shocked and terrified when I launched my first Kickstarter, considering it was two days before one of my architecture studio finals. It was this whirlwind thing and I kept wanting to make tweaks and change it and finally I just had to let go and put it out there for the world to see. I couldn’t believe how successful it was and how many people from all over the world loved the idea and were immense supporters of the campaign.
I really wouldn’t be where I am today without the Kickstarter community and I feel so thankful for everyone who pushed me to go for it and helped me build this brand and product. The best feeling was hearing people say “OMG finally someone did it! I’ve been thinking about this issue for so long” because I was that girl who made it a real thing. I feel humbled by the success of the campaign but it also feels good to know that people really love the product.
What are your plans for the brand in the next few years?
Since I’m getting ready to launch the brand, my main focus right now for TUCK is to really makes it a household item because I believe it can truly be a thing that one can’t leave the house without. My future goal for the brand is to bring fashion function jewelry into the everyday life that makes the most mundane objects we live with beautiful. I already have multiple new creations, but I am just waiting for the right time. Running my very first business is definitely not easy, so I’m swimming in the deep end but loving the endless possibilities that it brings and am so excited for the future of Koli Collective.