Raquel Smith has been a Celebrity Stylist popularly known for working with entertainer, Beyoncé Knowles. In recent years, the fashion mastermind sought out to take her experience working with the icon and launch an eyewear label the industry didn’t even know it needed. Kidraq is the world’s first luxury matching pairs concept brand, allowing both children and adults to wear the same frame styles, sized accordingly. The company’s first collection was just released at the end of 2019, offering the eyewear market numerous styles to start the year with 2020 vision. Raquel Smith shares her insight into Beyoncé’s influence and how it has ultimately led her to pursing this ground-breaking journey.
“Being part of the experience of Beyoncé starting with a vision of something and manifesting it time and time again, has had a profound and lasting impact on me, not only in creating Kidraq, but in living life as well.” – Raquel Smith
You’re known as a Celebrity Stylist for Beyoncé. What inspired the change from working for just one client to having clients all over the world through Kidraq, your luxury eyewear line?
I’m still a Celebrity Stylist. What’s changed is the size of my impact. The same attention is given to quality and detail, and the same focus is given to design innovation and timelessness that I’ve brought to styling Beyoncé. I’ve also been brought to creating eyewear that’s accessible to a wide range of people who appreciate many of the same things Beyoncé appreciates.
As for what inspired me, I guess you could say I was inspired by Beyoncé herself. One day, Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, picked up a pair of sunglasses I had gotten for her mother and tried them on. Blue fell in love with them, and her mom fell in love with the way Blue looked in them. They were too big for a little girl’s face, and that’s when it hit me: mother-daughter matching pairs! I did some research, sketched a few designs, and through prayer, I had a conversation with God. And that’s how it all started.
How has your experience working with Beyoncé inspired you through the creation of Kidraq?
Beyoncé is an important role model. She’s a mom, a wife, a businesswoman, an activist, a philanthropist, an entertainer, and that’s just the beginning. She creates at an extraordinary level. Styling her for so many years has taught me a lot about conducting myself as a powerful woman in the world, too. Being part of the experience of Beyoncé starting with a vision of something and manifesting it time and time again, has had a profound and lasting impact on me, not only in creating Kidraq but in living life as well.
Kidraq offers a matching pairs concept, which you call “Mommy/Daddy and Me” – How do you see this concept breaking the eyewear industry?
Based on my research, this has never been done in the luxury segment of the eyewear market. I think it has the potential to be a game changer for the industry and I think that it’s kind of cool that a single mom has created her own lane in a pretty exclusive eyewear market. I see myself as a social entrepreneur using eyewear to support and empower children and their parents, whether it’s through the inspirational phrases inscribed inside the temple of every pair, or through the connection that occurs when a child and their parent share something special together. That affects the consumer and the industry, but I’m not naïve. I expect others will imitate what Kidraq is doing. That happens in business every day. But none will be able to rock it like Kidraq. We’re the first!
What do you want the Kidraq brand to be known for?
Excellence. I want the Kidraq brand to be known for excellence across the board: excellence in innovation and design, excellence in the quality of materials and craftsmanship, excellence in service, and excellence in empowering the lives of our customers. I want Kidraq to be known for creating cool eyewear for cool kids and their cool parents. That’s what makes Kidraq so cool itself.
It’s no secret your son is both a big part of your life and business. What can you tell us about that?
Yes, that’s true. My son, Caleb, in one way or another, is at the center of everything I do. I’m pretty sure it’s like that with most parents. They say that there are only two long-lasting things that we, as parents, can hope to give our children. One is roots and the other is wings.
Caleb was at my side every step of the way as Kidraq was being created. So he is definitely rooted in this business. He is also the face of Kidraq, our principal model and someday he’ll be our chief spokesperson and the CEO. What better wings could I give him than that?
What can everyone expect from Raquel Smith and Kidraq in the future; What’s in store?
I’m not big on making predictions, but you can count on me to continue to thrive and grow as a Celebrity Stylist. Beyoncé and I are like family now, and I’d say we’re “sisters” for life. She always offers me encouragement and she always remembers her nephew Caleb’s birthday. The love we share is genuine.
I am working on a fashion book and soon will turn my attention to designing jewelry again. I had started working on a jewelry collection a few years ago, but it took a backseat when Kidraq started to emerge as our predominant focus. I also plan on expanding our philanthropic work by doing more speaking engagements and other appearances that benefit children and families.
Kidraq is currently available online, but what are your plans for distribution as your company grows?
We are currently in talks with three very well-known international luxury department stores as well as high-end international hotel chains. So you can expect to see Kidraq becoming available at those venues around the world. You can also look for us at major eyewear trade shows.
To shop the Kidraq eyewear collection and for more information on the Kidraq brand and upcoming events, visit www.kidraq.com. Keep in touch via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @OfficialKidraq. Inquiries to Kidraq can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.