Asian Journal – Kalika Yap. Pinay Serial Entrepreneur

Kalika was just featured in the Asian Journal! This is a great article!

A Rising Star in Business

AT A time when businesses are closing down due to the recession, a Filipina-American has been opening businesses one after another, with much success. Dubbed as a serial entrepreneur in one report, Kalika Nacion Yap is one of the most successful Pinay entrepreneurs in the US today.

Born in Quezon City, Philippines and raised in Honolulu, Kalika Yap attended New York University where she found the everyday activity of life in New York – from subway and taxi rides to visits to the Union Square Farmer’s Market – exhilarating. A journalism major, Kalika worked for several media firms including Bloomberg and CNBC until 1996 when she uprooted herself again, and moved out west to Los Angeles.

Kalika, an early adopter of the worldwide web, immersed herself in the still little understood internet. She quickly realized the vast global potential of the web, which she parlayed into a position at the Los Angeles Culture Net, a collaborative initiative project of the Getty Information Institute and California Culture Net. She developed web curriculum and web site design workshops for individual artists, art & educational institutions, and students K-12, all the while developing an affinity for the creative professional community.

While at the J. Paul Getty Trust, as a web developer, Kalika interacted directly with non-profit organizations during which time she discovered her true appreciation for non-profit, mission-driven work. As a result, to this day, she integrates the value-based culture of philanthropy within all her business units.

In 1998, Kalika founded Citrus Studios, Inc., an award-winning interactive design and consulting firm focused on the development and implementation of engaging and effective websites for corporations, institutions, museums and universities. Citrus Studios counts the Annenberg Foundation, USC, UCLA, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as some of their clients.

With the success of Citrus Studios, Kalika was ready for yet another entrepreneurial adventure. While vacationing off Italy’s Amalfi Coast in 2004, she got the idea that would turn into her second future business. During dinner at a fancy but small restaurant, Kalika had no place to put her purse and, wanting to avoid setting it on the floor, decided to place it on the table. Within minutes, however, a proprietor came over and presented her with a hook to hang her purse on.

“I’d never seen anything like it in the US, and I was shocked,” Yap recalls. “I thought if there was a way to make it cuter, more compact and hang on the side of your purse like a charm, then girls would really like it.”

Upon her return to California, Kalika did some research and discovered that the hook was already being sold in the US, but that most versions were retailing for at least $60 to $90 and came in unflattering designs and colors.

Armed with a team of designers, Yap started Luxe Link in 2005 and began marketing her collection of fashionable, functional purse hooks to stylish women looking to take care of their expensive handbags. The round charm–which can be set on any tabletop–has a chrome link wrapped around it; the link is pulled out and secured to the bag’s handles, while the weight of the bag keeps the Luxe Link in place.

The line retails on for $35 to $79 and features collections such as Mod, a group of Jackie O-inspired designs in classic patterns and colors, and the Swarovski collection, which features real Swarovski crystals placed on backdrops ranging from blue and pink to flowers and hearts.

Three years later, in 2008,Luxe Link sales reached the $1 million mark. Kalika’s biggest challenge then was keeping pace with the high demand she faced. Luxe Link has been featured on the Today’s Show and is available in over 70 International and US stores, as well as online.

A year later, during the pits of the 2009 recession, Kalika took a leap of faith and launched a new business – The Waxing Company; the first high-end waxing company to arrive in Honolulu. Kalika’s conservative projections of profitability were proven wrong when she turned a profit within 120 days of launch.

Seemingly undaunted by the many challenges of the recession, Kalika ventured out again. The serial entrepreneur invested in – a robust online commerce/content management solution for small to medium sized businesses. So far, she has picked up clients such as the Lakers, the Grammy’s, We are the World (Haiti), and American Idol.

Recently, Kalika received the Rising Star Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), at the 24th Annual Leaders & Legacy Awards Luncheon. During the Rising Star awards, Kalika was described as, ” a woman entrepreneur who has established a critical milestone in her business and has displayed high potential for enduring entrepreneurial success. She embodies the true definition of entrepreneurialism.”

Despite owning four successful companies, Kalika admits that her most treasured company is that of her family – her husband Rodney and their two daughters. (AJPress)

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