Unique bespoke design clothing & accessories
Creative Directors mother and daughter duo Shirley Kaci and Poppy Malone’s journey into fashion with their new brand 'Kaci Kit' didn’t just happen overnight, nor was it a random idea to just start something new. It evolved from over a decade ago way back when Shirley was hand painting plimsolls, t-shirts, men’s ties, plates, lampshades, floors, furniture as well as printed t-shirts, bags and mugs.
Its roots go even further back to the time when Shirley was a teenager a real lover of fashion always wearing clothes that would shock her mum. She went through the punk faze, the hippie fazes, the skinhead fazes, having her hair cropped like a man and could be seen wearing her mohair suit with braces and doctor martins. If Shirley did not have the right outfit to go to a particular venue she would do a “Gok Wan” and in a matter of no time at all she would transform an old mundane outfit into the most up-to-date garment. (not approved by her mum).
Like most youngsters, she was working on her identity, what she liked, what she didn’t, should she follow the crowed or should she just wear what she believed looked good. She always chose the latter, to wear what she felt good in. She was a rebellious youngster, very strong minded with a true will of her own.
Shirley had a good work ethic from as young as ten, her mother instilled in her that you have to work and earn your own money that nothing in life is free. To treat others as you would like to be treated, with respect, kindness and compassion.
Shirley left school age 14 with no qualifications to embark on a career in hairdressing, the first of many creative ventures. By the time she was 16 she was freelancing mainly doing peoples hair who were known to her. She loved problem solving especially hair colouring. The client base she had built continued even after she left hairdressing to pursue another line of work.
Poppy went to a performing arts school leaving with a good level of qualifications, has appeared on TV a few times but decided that she wanted to experience what it was like to work and earn her own money, to be able to acquire skills in the workplace to enable her to have something to fall back on as the performing arts industry would not always offer her the security and stability she was looking for. She began her working life as an administrator and worked her way up the ladder to become a recruiter onsite at a global investment bank.
From the age of eight she worked alongside her mum Shirley, assisting her with Shirley’s Christmas orders for Property developer Hill Partnerships LTD. The last order Hills placed was 600 Hand Cast Limited Edition Miniature Sculptures. They partnered with Shirley over a period of 10 Years and purchased 2,675 of 3,500 Limited Edition Miniature Sculptures for their clients as Christmas gifts, commissioned Shirley to design bespoke Christmas Cards and partnered with Shirley to produce Limited Edition Prints of her painting “Poppy Woods”. The proceeds of which, were donated to the Charity Crisis.
Over the years Shirley taught both Poppy and her brother Edward many different creative skills. Believe it or not! Shirley qualified as a bricklayer and interior decorator, was Proprietor of her Own art gallery and even found time to organise several open, solo, joint and mixed themed art exhibitions at different venues around the UK. One of her proudest achievements was exhibiting her paintings alongside the work of famous Russian-Jewish Artist Marc Chagall, during a touring exhibition called Inspired by Nature. There is a whole story about how this came about which I’m sure will be shared in due course.
The very first garment Shirley painted was a Batman jacket for her son in 1988. She purchased the jacket for £1.99 from a Wood Green High Street Store. It was white with a number on the Back a rather thin fabric. After painting it she was not happy with how translucent it looked so she bought some wadding, hand sewed it into the jacket and was so pleased with the result that she decided to take the jacket to various small fashion outlets local to her home in Hertfordshire and received really positive feedback from shop owners who said, her jacket should have been in a designer outlet.
Shirley Has to design, doodle and express herself through creativity on a daily basis to maintain her wellbeing.
There has been so much pain, suffering and extreme challenges along the way. You see, Shirley has used creativity throughout her life as a way of assisting her to try to maintain some form of balance and normality in her life. Her constant battle with anxiety, depression and severe insomnia along with physical ailments, has made it impossible for her to be able to do “just any type of work”. Shirley describes her art and design as her medicine. With two major mental breakdowns in 1990 and 2013 the latter being the most debilitating, Shirley’s only comfort and motivation came from writing her first journal of her journey into art through mental illness. It acted as a reflective diary for Shirley having waited almost two years to get the therapy she needed to start her journey of recovery.
She designs, doodles and expresses herself through creativity on a daily basis to maintain her wellbeing. (That’s what makes this new-found venture ideal for her).
A Branch from the seed
Three years ago, Shirley wanted to purchase a meaningful gift for her 84-year-old mum who lives with her and to buy a unique personalised gift for her daughter and her son Edward for Christmas. Not feeling able to leave her home due to feeling overwhelmed and suffering from panic attacks she decided to search online to purchase gifts for her family and came across a personalised bespoke gifting company. After much contemplation she decided to try them out! The only difference to everything she had learnt thus far was that her designs were being placed onto clothes rather than on a canvas or paper. (Something she had always dreamt of doing but with a professional looking finished item). Kaci Kit Products are all digitally printed but so much more advanced than when Shirley first started experimenting with print on bags, mugs, t-shirts, coasters and place mats. Not like the old digital printing method of using A/4 transfer paper.
Shirley was very transparent with the manufacturers about her mental ill health right from the beginning and at times struggled with understanding how to use the design templates. She feels that because they were so patient with her, it encouraged her to want to learn more and was the one thing she could do without having to leave her home. An issue she has been battling with over the past years unless she is accompanied by either her Mum Son or Daughter.
Both Shirley and Poppy feel that their manufacturers approach to customers including themselves, is so professional, they have a lovely manner about them, they want to see creatives be successful and go over and beyond when serving their customers. All enquiries are addressed and responded to in a timely manner.
What’s in it for the customer
Both Shirley and Poppy have been sampling their products for over three years, making sure they are happy with both the quality of fabric and print. This has given them confidence and knowledge of how different colours and sizes pan out on different fabrics, the importance of proper sizing conversion charts to insure customers have all the information available to make the right choice when placing an order.
Kaci Kit products have been designed by a lady who has battled throughout her life with periods of anxiety and depression which have inhibited her growth as a Creative. With a vast body of eclectic paintings, Photography, prints, graphic designs and doodles. Some might say, “she’s a rough in the diamond”, or could be the hidden gem. Only you the customer will be able to decide.
She creates purely from her imagination so what you get when you purchase from Kaci kit are products which are classic in style that you can wear year after year, with surface patterns all designed by Artist/Designer Shirley Kaci. You won’t find another in any high street store or online unless! Someone decides to copy Shirley Kaci’s work.
Kaci Kit are aware that they are quite unconventional in regards to their new brand of clothing and homeware products in so much as when the public go to purchase clothes from a high street shop or a chain of shops they don’t have much idea about who made their garment pattern which is the initial Inticer to the clothing one may purchase. Obviously, the style and cut are equally as important.
A piece of clothing starts off as much like a blank canvas. What brings it alive is the pattern printed on the fabric and to finalise that garment it will then have a bespoke pattern designed by Kaci Kits manufacturers who will then cut the printed cloth to its exact measurements to then be passed on to their team of skilled seamstresses to put it all together. Each garment is bespoke, no clothes are stockpiled so you can feel special in the knowledge that your garment has not been tried on by another customer. Each surface pattern has to be adjusted to accommodate the size increase or decrease of your chosen clothing products which is time consuming and reflective in the Kaci kit pricing structure.
This duo are aware that their patterns won’t appeal to everyone as most of their designs are bold, bright and a little quirky. However, for those who like to wear colour during the winter months this is the place to come. When high street stores approach the winter months it is difficult to find nice bright swimwear for you winter holidays in the sun. Kaci Kit have that fixed as they will keep all of their swimwear online all year round to make it available to you when you need it.
Another USP of Kaci Kit is seeing a pattern on one product and wanting to have it on a completely different product is a real possibility.
Kaci Kit will not compete on prices as their products are not mass produced. You may be able to purchase a similar type of clothing product in a store for less than Kaci kit clothing. However, what comes with that are products sold by the thousands with the likelihood of seeing many others in the same garment as you may have purchased. Another side to this is that we have become a throw away culture and in turn nobody really cares about those who work behind the scenes or what has gone into the making of the clothing we wear.
Our Long term Goal
Our long-term goal is to build trust and an understanding of our customers needs to be able to deliver on our promise of being the go to brand where you can find something a little unique with an amazing customer service who will listen to your feedback and implement where possible.
Shirley Kaci feels very passionate about the barriers faced by those affected by mental ill health. Her intentions are to raise an awareness through their brand that a person’s ill health should not and does not define who they are or shape who they should be.
‘There are thousands of people out there in turmoil, in many cases alone in need of a kind ear and are soul searching for a way out of their current situation”. “People are not just lazy! "Or Crazy”. “They are surviving the only way they know how”. “There are many high achievers who have been affected by mental illness”. (me included) “They need a voice, they need to feel valued”. “Many are creators who don’t know where their starting point should or could be for their road to recovery”. “The reality is, mental ill-health has always been the poor relation to physical ill health, which really needs to change”.
“My intention is to show through our website that anything is possible”. “With the right support and encouragement, we can all achieve our goals and feel valued members of society”. “What I have learnt during the process of creating our brand is that whilst the support from others is a crucial part of recovery”. “True validity comes from the self". Over time we will share many stories about our journey into creativity and how we have challenged ourselves on a daily basis to hold on to the belief that we were worth it, we have lots to offer and share with our audience.
“A warm welcome to all those who take the time to get to know us, and how we got to where we are today".