Marina Jiménez, is the brains behind Miss Kleckey, one of the biggest platforms for urban fashion and sneakers, exclusively for women, in Spain. She’s one of the first people to speak about ‘freak nails’, before it became a global movement and an example of entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to succeed and perseverance. As a trend spotter, she knows how to take a concept and make it real and her project has evolved from a blog in to more than just an online store; it’s a community for lovers of the latest in urban culture. From So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, here’s Miss Kleckey.
So Catchy!: Marina, can you tell us how Miss Kleckley got started ?
Marina Jiménez: Miss Kleckley has really become a concept. After working with the blog 25 Gramos, way back in 2009, I started to develop a personal and professional portfolio in 2010 to express myself and to introduce myself into this world that I love so much, the world of sneakers.
Little by little, Miss Kleckley separated from Marina Jiménez and now, in 2015, it’s the only Spanish media that specializes in women’s sneakers and that has its own online store.
SC!: You’ve even got your own brand, when did the Kleckley first come out?
MJ: Kleckley came from the desire to represent the concept that we maintain at Miss Kleckley. By getting rid of the Miss, we change the orientation of our brand towards a public that is both feminine and masculine, with designs with personality.
Kleckley comes from a type of watermelon, the sweetest one, which plays with the iconography of the logo. Our logo went through various stages until it reached the hands of Rul Bayo, who was charged with bringing to life the new identity and collections.
The Miss Kleckley Store complements the many years that have gone into the blog and is a natural evolution of online media, which we are seeing more and more. A shop created for women who are positive, love sneakers, urban culture and urban lifestyle, nailsfreakers and anyone who is looking for a careful selection of unique, international brands and products as well as national ones.
SC!: Where does the project stand now?
MJ: Anyone who starts an entrepreneurial project should foresee at least 6 months to take off, and 2 years to see the benefits and, for now, we can say that’s definitely true. We’ve been fighting with the shop for 7 months now, doing events, posting material online, PR, etc., and now we are beginning to see the payoff for our hard work. It’s not as much as we’d like, of course, we’ve invested a lot of time, more than we thought we would have to at first and there’s still so much to do.
Being able to put my work and storage space in the Über Barcelona store in the Raval has been amazing and it’s pushed us to continue professionalizing what we do. A part from incorporating stockists into the Kleckley brand, stores like Krizia Robustella, Trait Store and Sho Barcelona carry ‘OJO’, our first collection, we’ve consolidated and are making people aware of our concept which has only just come out as a brand but has existed fro 6 years as a blog.
SC!: Who is Miss Kleckey for?
MJ: I specialize in watching market and sociological trends; I absolutely love getting to know who the people are that buy products. If you go to Dashape, the most important sneakers event in Spain, either online or off, you can see that the target customers are the same ones that we speak to on Miss Kleckley. It’s wonderful to be able to connect on this level, and to write about more than just buying a product.
We don’t consider ourselves to be just a blog, or only an online store, our mission is to connect with anyone who identifies with Miss Kleckley. The most surprising thing for me in the online world is discovering that there are more men who buy our product than women. They write personal notes and send them as gifts, and it’s amazing. It’s also a way follow the shift in the work and to centralize our communications strategy.
SC!: Are there anything coming up soon that you can let us in on?
MJ: Right now we are finishing the new Kleckley collection, which really opens up the brand and involves a lot more risqué designs and new garments.
There’s the Kleckley SNAKEYE, a new colorway with two different styles, two pop up stores we’re thinking about in Madrid and Barcelona and possibly a physical space in Barcelona. There seems to be interest in finding our products offline so we might set up permanent spot for women’s products. You have to keep going, that’s how you evolve.
SC!: Though it might seem impossible at the moment, are there any other brands that you’d like to work with?
MJ: It would depend on what for. On the blog, to a greater or lesser extent we’ve collaborated with many different brands in sportswear. As a store, we’d only work with someone whose work we really appreciate and whose concept works well with ours. I’ve been thinking a lot about the saying, ‘together we are strong’ and we’ve been working with professionals to help Kleckley evolve.
SC!: Where do you find inspiration?
MJ: If you work in trend spotting, you should have a number of innate characteristics. You should be observant, only people with a good background will see what’s ‘new’, intuitive with an eye on the future, analytical, and you should always be moving and traveling, or get in with lots of influencers.
You should also at least know about trend watching platforms and reports, even if you don’t use them, like PSFK trend reports, Nelly Rody, WGSN, Trendswatching and more. Your best tool is sticking your nose in everything.
SC!: What websites, blogs or Instagram accounts do you follow?
MJ: It sounds bad to say but if you want inspiration, you’ve got to look for it. Of course my vision is different than that of those who look for trends in fashion alone. I’m inspired by different, Hypebeast and SneakerNews, online sneakers’ shops like NakedShop, designers like Melody Ehsani, and photographers like Brooro or Sara Sani, sneaker influencers such as Careaux, Nitrolicious, Ugly Mely, Merystache… should I continue? I could go on all day! You’ve got to immerse yourself in inspirational Instagrams and more prominent media in order to stay up on what’s new and to be able to report on it quickly and effectively.
SC!: What is your favorite place in Barcelona?, and in Seville?
MJ: After living in Barcelona for 6 years, I feel like it’s my city. Although Andalusia will always be where I’m from and I will never deny my roots, this city is always moving and it provides me with activity and refreshes me on a daily basis. Since it’s a city set in the mountains, it’s difficult to choose just one place but as far as the urban part goes, I love getting lost in the Raval, there are so many contrasts, strange people and hidden urban art. To disconnect, Collserola has silence, isolation and all of Barcelona at its feet. It’s undescribable.
In Seville, Bar Menta. Nothing to do with trends, nor is it trendy, it’s a return to my roots, my friends and to who I am. The Alioli there is the best. There’s also the view of the Guadalquivir from Inquisición passageway which is usually deserted and the perfect place to enjoy the peace and quite and to watch the city pass you by unnoticed.
SC!: Finally, as a young entrepreneur, what has it meant for you, on a personal and professional level, to embark upon this fascinating and uncertain path?
MJ: At this point, you either go all in or you fold. From last year until now, with the blogs consolidated and all of the work that we’ve done, it’s either become something quick and purely visual, think Tumblr or Instagram, which means it’s done, or we can bet on stronger infrastructure and become an agency and online shop.
There are three things that have helped me grow professionally, creating my own brand, working alone and being my own boss. It’s all been very positive, but it’s also been extremely hard. I’m not sure that I’d recommend others try it. If you can pull it off, do it, if not, stick with working for others. Being a freelancer is expensive and difficult. You can only find stability by getting up each and every day and going to work. You’ve got to be really sure of yourself to keep going.
All photos courtesy of Marina Jiménez and Miss Kleckley
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla