We had the good fortune of connecting with Kai Pruitte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kai, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
By day, I work as a middle school educator and school administrator, but I have always had ties to the fashion industry through freelance modeling. I feel passionate about being both an educator and a creative, so I strive to embody both aspects fully. Through modeling, I became a makeup enthusiast, always playing in make up and attempting looks I saw on YouTube. Over the course of time, I embarked on my own personal journey to live more holistically and naturally as much as possible, and it became apparent that many products in the beauty industry contained ingredients that were not safe for my body and health. Often, many of the lip glosses or lipsticks that I would use would cause me to break out, and I could never figure out why. I would waste money on products just to go through a trial and error process that would end up in me breaking out. Something had to give.
After research, I was able to identify many of the ingredients that are harmful to your skin and/or cause skin irritation. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it directly absorbs whatever is put on it. Parabens are known to potentially disrupt hormone function, and have been linked to health issues like breast cancer and reproductive issues. It was important to me to create a brand that women could feel better about using and would not put them in harm’s way, but would also not require them to sacrifice luxury quality in their products. Frequency Beauty products are not only paraben free, but also manufactured without gluten. We also provide some vegan options, and all products are mineral-based and include enriching oils like vitamin E, avocado oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
It’s always funny when I discuss my career. In my short life, I have experienced many different careers. I have always been a multifaceted person, and it has always been my prerogative to try whatever career made me happy in the moment. My personal philosophy is that we are all given multiple gifts, and it is our job to explore them all in our lifetime. I have worked in PR and Marketing (what I graduated from college to do), nonprofits, and so much more. However, over my multiple careers, one thing that remained consistent was working with youth in some way, whether that be volunteering or working in after school care.
At the time before I entered education, I was very unhappy at my current job. I felt that there was no room for advancement, I felt micromanaged, and I knew I wasn’t truly valued as a person or as a professional. I prayed that I would receive a sign for a career change, and when the sign came, I would listen and act quickly. Not long after saying this prayer, I received a call from my linesister that her old boss was now a principal of a school and needed people who were interested in teaching. Now, to add some background for context, I come from a line of educators, and I had no desire to follow in anyone’s footsteps. Still, I interviewed and landed a job in a charter school as a reading intervention specialist. I quickly fell in love with education and students and then decided to make this a long-term career. I set a goal for myself of teaching for 5 years to really study, learn and become an expert in the craft. Ultimately, I knew I wanted to work towards supporting and creating better educators to support our black and brown babies in a school system that does not support equity for them. If we know a system is broken, we must create more catalysts to help move it in the right direction. I told myself to go hard for 5 years, and then I would transition out of the classroom to make a bigger impact.
People told me that I was aiming at something that isn’t obtainable that quickly. They told me I was too young. They told me I would not be able to work in administration. In the course of 4 school years, I managed to obtain a teaching license, obtain my M.Ed in Instructional Practice, scored the highest level of proficiency and growth in the state as a teacher, led many diversity initiatives network-wide, and now, as I begin my 5th year in education, I have been promoted to working on the administrative team of my school as an instructional coach, coaching teachers and strengthening their practice.
Simultaneously, I knew I would not fully be honoring myself if I did not also chase my creative dreams. My beauty line Frequency Beauty was something that I always wanted to do, but faced many trials before I could accomplish it. I started my business in 2019 legally, but paused it because I became discouraged due to financial challenges, or simply just not having the clarity that I desired. I sat on it for awhile out of fear, and in all transparency, a lack of discipline. Finally, in the midst of the pandemic, I told myself that I needed to act. I knew I just needed to honor this other aspect of my authentic self and bring this vision to life. I used the time that I was working from home to truly outline all of my missing details and to take steps (even if they were small) towards the goal. The more disciplined I was and the more I prayed, the more finances were removed from my concerns. When I put in the work, it was like more doors opened with ease. I was able to launch in early 2021, and I have been going since! Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, but seeing your vision come to life and people happy from what you provide is worth it.
Your journey cannot be determined by others, They will not always understand the vision and the goal. Your journey is only determined by how bad you want it and how disciplined you are willing to be to get it. I still have to remind myself that my only obstacle is me. I am the alchemist of my own destiny.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh wow, so I am super spontaneous. I don’t like to over-plan, but I like to have an idea of the things I would like to do. The area that I live in has amazing hiking areas either close by or within an hour drive! I love a good outdoor hike and a view of a waterfall. Maybe a trip to an outdoor ropes course or indoor go-karting because I like a little adrenaline rush. I also love to explore anything cultural, so a trip to local museums or anything music-related is a must. Of course, I absolutely love an excuse to get cute, eat and drink socially, so some of my favorite places to visit are speakeasies, local restaurants (and dives), and roof top bars.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout my mother first and foremost. She has always helped me understand what it means to own who I am authentically and not minimize myself for the comfort of others. She taught me to do everything with intention and purpose. She was and still is my example for perseverance, and I get my entrepreneurial spirit from her. I also want to dedicate this to my close circle of friends. They say who you surround yourself with is a reflection not only of who you are, but where you are going. I am blessed to have a circle of friends and soul sisters who not only dream big and execute bigger, but encourage me and hold me accountable. Lastly, I would like to say that the book that was the turning point in my mindset and the start of me actually walk in my purpose was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. For anyone looking for clarity and help with shifting their mindset, I recommend reading this book (and rereading this book).
Instagram: @SweetAs_Kai @frequency_beauty
Photography: Tamara Marie Malone