Ciera Rogers has always been good at getting our attention, whether it was her booty or her brand. But what you don’t know is that she used what she learned while pursuing her public relations degree to build the women’s clothing line, Babes and Felines. Since getting started, she’s seen the fruits of her labor on Kim K, Bria Miles, and popular blogger babes like Jyoti Matharoo and Karla Deras.
A lot of people don’t know that you’re much more than a pretty face or that you have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. What did you originally imagine your career looking like?
I honestly saw myself working at a Public Relations firm. PR and Marketing always came really easy for me so I thought that was what I was supposed to do.
After you graduated you had a hard time finding a job in your field, is this what started your move to LA? Did you have a plan or did you step out on faith?
I could not find anything in my field! I didn’t have enough experience because I never interned in college. I worked as a hostess, security guard and at a nursing home before I finally started to get discouraged. I thought I wasted time going to college. My sister actually moved to LA a year before I did so that’s how LA became a possibility for me. I had no plan, but I knew that Houston had nothing left for me so I stepped out on faith.
Babes and Felines is such a catchy brand name, how did you come up with it and what did you want your brand to represent?
My store was called “Cierarogers Store” for the longest. I bought vintage that I reworked and sold to my Instagram following at the time. I knew I wanted to build a brand so I needed a name. I was really into kittens and cats and I wanted something that had something to do with that, I came up with “feline”. On a visit back home to Houston, I ran into one of my friends who said something to my best friend that stood out. He said something like “you guys are babes”. Now, at the time “babe” wasn’t a catchy phrase or even something a black southern man would say. Since it stood out, I added it to what I already had. From there, Babes and Felines was born. I wanted the “babes” to represent classic conservative beauties and “felines” to represent edgy chic beauties.
When you started B&F, did you know anything about running a business or what it came along with? How did you bounce back from making inevitable mistakes?
I had some knowledge because my mother owned a clothing store back home. But as far as online businesses, I knew nothing at the time. I began posting pictures on Instagram for fun and some of my followers wanted to buy what I wore. I only wore vintage at the time because that was all I could afford, so I started selling my clothes. Over time, I started learning my customers. I learned what they wanted and I provided that for them. I taught myself everything, from shipping to designing a website. I made plenty of mistakes but I was so small that my customers helped me and offered suggestions on changes that has helped build my brand to what it is today.
Do you remember a specific moment where you knew that Babes and Felines was a success and would grow into what it is now?
Yes! There was one full month of random promotions from top girls in the industry that I never sent promo clothes to. These girls were buying from my website on their own and were kind enough to shout my little store out. From there my traffic grew and I finally felt like a real business.
Were men ever intimidated by your drive or success? What qualities were important for you to find in a significant other?
Not at first. Men actually like drive and success. I think they can relate to it, so it attracts them to you. Now if you are more successful than them, that can sometime cause issues with their egos. Kindness, spirituality and intelligence are very important to me. I have to be able to laugh with you as well. My sense of humor can be very dry and sarcastic so if someone can relate to that, it’s a super plus.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment thus far and what do you see yourself accomplishing within the next year?
Building my brand is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve worked so hard and it feels good to see that its paying off. I see myself dressing more celebrities this year. I think that recognition helps build even more trust with new customers.
Most people are crazy about you, but there are still those people who have negative things to say. How’ve you learned to handle the critics?
My negative comments have been the same for years. I’m like “whats new?” at this point. From my body being fake [which it is not], to me being just plain ugly, LOL. I just scroll, delete and block. It’s a habit for me now.
Kim Kardashian was recently spotted in your line. How did that make you feel and how did it boost your brand?
That had to be one of the best days of last year. I just so happened to be with one of my good friends and my sister at the time when Kim shouted me out. I could not believe it, I never sent her clothes! She bought those herself! That is what was so crazy about the entire thing. I am forever grateful to her and her team for that. I was not ready for that traffic at all. I didn’t even have a bunch of the dresses that she wore in stock. That dress sold out so quickly on my website that I had to get my life together really quick. I reshot everything, cleaned up my website and started marketing even more. It really motivated me.
Although we’re sure that it’s not, you make running a business look absolutely effortless. As far as keeping a business afloat, what do other women who want to be business owners need to be prepared for? You can expand on the sacrifices you’ve made or what a days work is like, etc.
Being an entrepreneur requires LOTS of research. You really need to know your field inside and out. You need to constantly be paranoid that someone is going to take your spot. That’s what personally keeps me on my toes. I’m seeing that the market is full of new competition so I study them. I learn from other people’s mistakes. I think that’s important too. My work day begins at 6 a.m. and I work everyday in some way. Even when I’m on vacation, I’m promoting my brand, thinking of new ideas, answering emails, and responding to Instagram comments and questions about my brand. Work never stops and I love it!
What is your B Werd?
Um hello… Babe, duh! My brand represents every type of woman; from curvy to slim to plus. I think all woman have their own unique beauty – we are all Babes.