BASED IN: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
KiraKira has a unique background- what was spark that set off the idea for the 3D printing/design academy?
We were doing an incubator in Charlottesville (Darden iLab) last year for our online retail company Suz Somersall. Many of our UVA interns were interested in learning 3D modeling and engineering software to create their own designs. They began taking existing classes to learn the software and quickly became bored learning to make things like wrenches and autoparts. So we decided to make our own classes to teach the same programs, but through designing content they were actually interested in - like jewelry design!
What advice do you have for companies starting out in the technology and design space?
Always be ready to pivot! Be passionate about the concept behind your idea but not necessarily the product itself. You will learn so much through the process of interviewing your customers and getting your company off the ground. It's crucial to be able to make changes in order to grow and scale - KiraKira has gone through many changes just in the past year and continues to develop every day in order to best reach our customer and our goals.
How do you empower girls and women in your business?
KiraKira teaches girls and women engineering and 3D modeling skills that are transferrable to engineering, architecture, graphic design, and more.
What do you envision for the future for KiraKira?
We would love to see the rate of women in engineering increase generally. Seeing girls who have taken KiraKira classes become statistically more likely to pursue STEM careers than the national average would be really exciting. We see ourselves expanding to lots of different verticals, teaching fashion design, musical instruments, and industrial design.
What is one piece of advice you can give to other entrepreneurs?
Never give up! The highs are high and the lows are low but you just have to keep pushing the ball forward. Because you are an entrepreneur you are inherently blazing a new trail and you are you going to face a lot of uncertainty. Living in and embracing that uncertainty is very important!
I saw this quote on a fellow entrepreneur's desktop background and it basically says it all:
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."- Neale Donald Walsch