Red Light Special: Interview with Founder

Kimmie Denise has been a curator of all things beautiful before many of us could spell the word. It's with this appreciation for experiencing life in first person, that Kimmie created Sucré Couture, a jewelry company that submerges you into a world of luxe, sex, and of course, beauty.

Having just celebrated their 10th year anniversary, we sat down with Kimmie to discuss the past, present, and future of an ever-growing brand.

Tell us about Sucre Couture's roots. How did it get started?

In 2010, living in New Orleans, I was nearing the end of my undergraduate college career at Xavier University of Louisiana. Six months pregnant, waiting tables at this place called Serrano’s, working retail sales at AT&T, and trying to figure out my next move. I low-key always had a soft spot in my heart for jewelry and other things fashion, plus I had this hustler work ethic.

I always had hella jobs and figuring out how to make sh*t work for me. Aside from having a newly earned Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, I knew I’d end up snagging a job in my home state California. Still, my genuine desire was to own something of my own. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My maternal grandparents, great aunt, and uncle, parents, the list goes on.

As soon as I returned to California, I put together my first collection with $79 of unemployment money and a shabby Wix site. I was breastfeeding and making jewelry and the whole nine at the same time. By Feb. 14, 2011, I launched and got my first order the same week. I’d put my baby in the stroller and walk to the post office next door for package drop-offs. The rest is history, you can say.

Where do you find your inspiration for your jewelry pieces?

My mother, maternal grandmother, great grandmother, great aunt, and my aunties on my dad’s side. Their late-80s, early-90s fashion is stuck in my head.

All I can remember is my mom with the most perfect tucked French rolls, and pin curls, wearing Houndstooth cropped jackets, Corvette red nails, and a gold ring on each finger. Same thing with my grandmothers and aunties. The layered chains and stacked earrings were so inspirational to me.

Black women and their fashions were and are still supreme and praise-worthy.

From your very first collection to now, what's your creative process behind each collection?

Honestly, I do what feels right at the moment. I always sit and think about it and might even sit on a visual concept for a year before executing. But if it feels forced, I ain’t with it.

I’ll do some research here and there. Still, honestly, ideas hit me out of the blue. I also collaborate with some dope creative talent that helps to take these ideas to the next level. I’m very free-spirited in how I approach things, which reflect the brand’s evolution and campaigns.

But for a more defined answer, I’ll construct pieces or curate collections, let them sit, wear them a bit, and move forward if I’m super feeling it. If not, it’s a wash.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Whew — long but never a dull moment (I mean that in a good way, lol).

The first thing I do in the morning is open my blinds and light some incense. Afterward, I’ll freshen up and then make myself an iced coffee with Oatmeal Cookie flavored oat milk. I might turn on some music and then check New York Times and social media notifications. Then I’m opening up my devices to knock some work out for my day job and businesses.

By 4pm at the latest, I’m heading to my studio to handle some more business, like fulfilling orders and unboxing shipments. A few hours later, I’m heading home to prepare dinner, make a cute drink or something, turn off my phone (if I can), and settle down on my couch.

It's pretty clear there's always something that needs to be done. What do you do to relax and recharge?

As of lately, it’s been through my record player my husband just bought me over the holidays and the comforting ambiance here at home. Especially listening to the vocals of timeless singers like Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald. Something is soothing about the sound. That, a dim room, and teakwood or tuberose candle are my jam right now.

Having been in business for a decade now, growth and change is a necessity. How would you describe the transformation from SC 2011 to SC 2021?

Ahhh, there’s been so much transformation. It’s definitely grown with my style, being comfortable with myself, and the on-point creative direction of my girl, The Vic Styles. Back in my college days, I was low-key into brighter colors and the cutesy stuff. Still trying to identify me through what I wore and what not. Previous to that, I was always drawn to dark colors, red or dark nails, heavy metal, and stuff. Not everyone appreciates your authenticity. Sometimes you question it, which revealed itself right in the beginning stages of the brand. As I got older, I said f*k it. Live your truth. Grunge, all black, and sexy get-ups are me. On the inside and out. And it feels good.

Let's have a little fun, you're packing a time capsule to be opened in 10 years. What are you leaving for our future fashionistas?

Girl. A black leather overshirt. A floor-sweeping fur. An oversized denim jacket. Fishnets. Combat boots. A good pair of leggings. A classic pair of black patent pumps. A few t-shirts of different lengths. I mean, you can mix that shit up real good — dressing all up or down—a bottle of red and a bottle of black polish, as well as a nude lip gloss.

What's your go-to item in your personal jewelry collection?

Besides my wedding ring, a classic gold pair of chunky hoops.

We can all agree that when it comes to owning a small business, expecting the unexpected could serve as a mantra. Has SC dropped any jewels or bombs you didn't see coming?

Yes, the necklace and bracelet latches. My new favorite signature brand mark that’s here to stay!

Real quick, what’s your favorite lip gloss?

“Bittersweet Me” by M.A.C.

Daily perfume of choice?

“Nuit Azur” by Tory Burch

What could I find in your purse right now?

Gucci Bloom roller ball fragrance, a box of matches (always lighting candles), old foreign currency, Airpods, my work iPhone, credit cards, and candy cane.

Favorite cocktail?

Anything with gin, some fresh herbs, a little fruit, and lime.

What’s one of the last movies you watched and liked?

The Little Things with Denzel Washington. I’m a huge fan and it reminds me of Seven and Fallen. See a trend there? 90s psychological thrillers.

What's the best piece of business advice you've heard and can offer?

Ugh, keep a to-do list and detailed, up-to-date calendar. Sh*t can get really messy and unorganized real quick.

Got a question you want to ask Kimmie? Drop it below in the comments.

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