November 2022 Entrepreneurship
Karen Enid Reyes
Multi-entrepreneur, Fashion Queen, and Inspirational Mom
You are a multi-entrepreneur with two small businesses. Tell us more about KE Amor Kollection and how you started it?
KE Amor stemmed from my huge desire to launch my own businesses and create generational wealth for my kids, myself, and the other people closest to me. Since 2017, I had been writing down all different things that I loved or had a passion for. It was clear as day that I wanted a clothing/fashion business. I felt a good starting point was a boutique while I worked my way up to my ultimate goal of having my own custom designs being made. I did SO much research, took classes, webinars, and took my time before I launched. The KE in my business name stands for my kids’ names, Khalil & Elijah!
Karen's Artbox is such a creative company because you handmake all of the products. What is your creative process with the products you hand make? How much time does it take to make items such as your holiday boxes?
You know, it really all depends! When I started Karen's Art Box, I offered almost anything crafty you can think of, and most recently I moved to only offering certain things, mostly custom tumblers, and offering other things exclusively for collections or holidays. My creative process definitely starts with my customer though. I make sure I go over any little detail they want to make sure what was included in their product, and then I go from there. For holiday boxes, depending on the size and how many orders I have, I can finish them in a day or two. Tumblers take anywhere from 3-7 business days, depending on what they wanted, and also how many orders I have.
You are a mom of two amazing boys. How has motherhood influenced your mindset and life?
OMG it’s been the biggest influence on my entire mindset and life! My kids are literally my entire world. Everything I do is for them. To make sure I set up a great future for them, and hopefully even their future families. Anytime I feel like giving up they’re my sole purpose and reason to keep pushing. All I ever want to do is make them proud!
"My kids are literally my entire world. Everything I do is for them. To make sure I set up a great future for them, and hopefully even their future families. Anytime I feel like giving up they’re my sole purpose and reason to keep pushing."
You are a pageant Queen and won a crown for your state. What role has being a pageant Queen played in your life?
Being Miss Wisconsin was literally one of the highlights of my life, so far. With my platform, I was able to advocate for causes that are near and dear to my heart, such as anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and mental health awareness. I made so many people from my state so proud, which made me so happy. I did a lot of community appearances where I was able to really tap into the city I’m from, the people in my community, and the Puerto Rican culture! Where I’m from and my background plays a huge part in who I am today. Milwaukee will always be home no matter where my journey takes me. I always want to find ways to give back.
Your makeup is always the bomb! Tell us more about your makeup. Do you have a makeup artist, or do you do your own makeup?
Thank you!! What’s so funny is I almost never have makeup on. Haha. But, when I do have it done 9.5 times out of 10 my baby sister did my makeup, believe it or not! She is self-taught, 20 years old, and is amazing at what she does. She recently moved to ATL, but visits Milwaukee when she can. I sometimes have to find someone else, which makes me sad. Lol. I’m so proud of her and everyone should definitely check her out! @themuaelismarie on Instagram.
Being a mom and a multi-entrepreneur is not easy. Can you give some words of advice for people who are trying to balance their professional life and personal life?
It can get very hard, I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. Being a mom of two boys I feel like I’m always tired. Keeping up with them and caring for them is my number one priority and nothing comes before them. It can sometimes get really difficult to fit work in, which means I have a lot of late nights because sometimes I can only get work done after I put them to bed, just to have to be up early for my healthcare 9-5 job, and then do it all over again! However, I always keep the end goal in mind and remind myself what I’m working towards and for WHO. My advice would be to always keep that in mind and remind yourself when needed. Also, take your self-care days. Days where you unplug and only pour into you. Those days are very important to me, because it’s important to not burn yourself out in the process. Pour into you AND your business.
"I always keep the end goal in mind and remind myself what I’m working towards and for WHO. My advice would be to always keep that in mind and remind yourself when needed. Also, take your self-care days. Days where you unplug and only pour into you."
Do you plan on having any future pop-up shops for your businesses?
Yes! Actually, that’s in the works. I didn’t at the beginning because I was just starting up and was learning. I’m very big on doing things right. I’m a perfectionist. I didn’t want to rush into anything or do anything I didn’t think was up to par with my own standards, and the bar I set for myself. But stay tuned! They’re coming!
I know that you are a coffee lover! What is your favorite coffee drink?
Coffee and I are for sure besties! Haha. Right now I’ve been very into the Starbucks brown sugar shaken espresso with cold foam. Got to have the cold foam! Otherwise, I make my brown sugar iced coffees at home, most times.
You have a very active audience on TikTok. What are some TikTok tips that you use to keep your audience engaged and interactive?
It took me so long to get the followers I have and my Tik Tok family is literally my FAVORITE. They’re like my besties that I’ve never met and they support me like no other. I’ve made so many wonderful friends and business partners on there. I would say, post often! At least 3-4 times a day, I know life gets busy, sometimes even I can’t post that much either. Try your best so that you keep your page active, and bring fresh new content to your followers.
Cover Photo Credits:
Photographer: Drewzki Exposure
Makeup Artist: Erin Williams
Hair Stylist: Pearl Brandy
Custom Hair Color: Tiffany Ramos
Lashes: Nai' Allure Beauty
Nails: Passion Nails
King A Lewis
Welcome To Where Art Meets Fashion
It's impressive and fascinating that you started a sunglasses business called Greek Couture. What inspired the name Greek Couture?
The name Greek Couture was inspired by my love for Greek Mythology and fashion, and merging the two. It's also a way of paying homage to the origin of sunglasses as legend has it. The Greeks would shave down rubies and use them as sun blockers to watch the gladiators fight.
Do you create your own sunglasses designs for Greek Couture?
Yes, I start with a sketch, which is then sent to my design engineer and business partner Dave Ford. Dave plays a critical role in our design process.
You are a traveling man and help to operate a company with your wife called "Travel Life Services". Tell us more about Travel Life Services.
Travel Life Services is a luxury travel agency started by my wife, Dr. Lewis, with just a few hundred dollars. I stepped in to help run operations. We were able to scale to over a six figure business with global partnerships in over 30 countries.
Can you give some words of advice for people in relationships or married who want to start a business together?
Communication is vital! Knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, knowing when to lead and when to follow.
"Communication is vital! Knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, knowing when to lead and when to follow."
What has been your favorite travel place and food dish?
My favorite place to travel is a tie between Mexico & Dubai. Mexico because that's where my wife and I were married. Dubai was my bucket list dream trip. I had the opportunity to have a brand photoshoot for Greek Couture Eyewear.
Tell us more about your real estate endeavors and how you got started?
I am a second generation real estate investor with over seven doors. I got my start by being inspired by my Dad and brother-in-law.
You have a sharp style and cool suits. Can you describe your style and where are some of your favorite stores to shop for suits?
I would describe my style as sophisticated business swagger. Some of my favorite stores to shop for suits are Saks 5th ave and Selfmade Couture.
What are some words of advice for entrepreneurs navigating the manufacturing process?
I would say field research and knowing how to communicate with global suppliers.
You are a busy entrepreneur and family man. How do you find balance and time management?
I find balance by prioritizing and scheduling.
Facebook: Greek Couture Eyewear
Photos by: David Ford