Meet the Owner: Isabel of Kumikislap

Can you share a bit about your business and what you do?

I’m a full-time student at UCLA, freshly transferred from a community college. I started this shop to earn some side income and share my art with different communities! Kumikislap Co.’s goal is to make its customers sparkle or glisten, just like the definition of the Tagalog word, “kumikislap.” Kumikislap Co. has really been helpful to me as a working-class college student. My small business has made me feel a lot better about paying for various school expenses, therapy sessions, and saving up when I finally move out. 

When and why did you decide to start your new business?

I’ve always been into earrings and have always been into the arts. I knew I wanted to do something in the future that aligns with my interests. A couple of months ago, while I was still working my summer job, I thought of combining my interests. I was thinking ahead in the future; how would I earn money once school started, and my job was over? And so, Kumikislap Co. was born! Seeing so many of my favorite Filipino/x mutuals and Ates running their own businesses (two of them earring businesses) really inspired me as well!

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love how nice it is to just make people smile with my art. It’s amazing seeing people support not only me but others in the small business community. It’s nice to know that there’s this circle/cycle of appreciation.

I also love that Kumikislap Co. has such a broad customer and business following; it connects people/artists from different backgrounds! It’s amazing how communities uplift each other and then also celebrate each others’ successes. I think for me, my biggest success was just that; that I was able to share my art with other people, that they loved it, and then went on to share it with even more people. I definitely accredit my wins to my hard work and dedication and the strangers, friends, and loved ones who believed/believe in me. 

What are your overall goals for your business?

It would be cool for it to grow slightly bigger. Still, I’m not expecting it to transform into a giant company/corporation. I definitely do not want that for my shop. I hope that Kumikislap Co. inspires other artists, especially younger or Filipino/x artists, and encourages them to do what they love! Although that’s a very cliche statement, I love making earrings and creating art that makes others feel beautiful and happy. I just want to keep creating art!

While it is important to remember the logistics of running a business, I often don’t really think of it as a job because I love what I’m doing. Don’t dedicate your time to completely stressing and obsessing over the money aspect. I believe it’s important to understand that while artists may be forced to exploit ourselves under capitalism, we have to remember why we made art in the first place: 

  • Because we wanted to share it with others
  • Because we just wanted to do it.
  • Because, before all else, art is art!
  • And I also feel like it’s important to remember that it’s okay if you aren’t “good” at art, any other activity/hobby/skill, etc. 

Keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you happy. Someone else out there will enjoy your work too. Keeping this mindset is hard, but it has helped me completely! 

What services do you provide for anyone who may want to reach out to you/work with you?

I’m always down to collaborate, though that will be hard right now due to COVID. So this is probably off the table at the moment! It would be cool to do fundraisers as well! My DMs on Instagram are always open, and my email is Anyone who has questions about anything can just shoot me an email. 

December 9, 2020

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