We had the good fortune of connecting with Ciara Kleva and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ciara, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my first business in 2012. It was hardly anything to brag about as far as profit goes, but, it was mine and I was proud. Since that moment, I have been unable to find myself in a standard job scenario. In no way do I think or look down upon a 9 to 5, however, there are some of us that would nearly self detonate should we find ourselves micromanaged and living according to someone else’s’ standards of business. My thought process in starting my own business/businesses are threefold: freedom, longevity, and solution. Through my current solo business, The Kleva Collective, I have been able to find the freedom in my schedule and livelihood of which 21 year old me would have been envious. I have created a system that will allow growth and expansion (I am looking to hire soon, reach out if you are a self starter!), and with TKC-the focus is always presenting deliverables that solve a problem for my client whether it be a wall that needs the perfect painting, a social media account that needs quality content, or a business owner that needs a catalyst to push their business forward. The business I own with my Husband, Kleva Built, has truly been the most rewarding and eye opening venture thus far. I have learned so much through this Gym Equipment space and our making luxury products to create a name for ourselves, even in the midst of a pandemic. For anyone out there sitting on the fence with their idea, invention, business: Fine tune it, then DO IT.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being a woman that is equal parts artist and métier is not easy. I find myself constantly torn between two things. The first being wanting to go off grid, commit myself to my painting and photography, and never make another dollar again (until I die and my works gain ultimate clout). The second being, making the most of my entrepreneurial talents alongside Steve, continuing to build our wealth, and bringing everyone we love up with us. This challenge is the thing that keeps me grounded, humble, and continually finding my balance between the two. I refuse to choose one or the other. I have always been hodgepodge of attributes, and I think, finally, I’ve found that I do not need to change this fact or become more fixed in any regard. It has not been easy to get here. One of the most difficult aspects is feeling unseen, maybe a better way of putting it would be: not understood. My life and my work looks much different than many I know. I, often times, choose not to complain or voice many of the [very] challenging aspects purely because I do not know too many who would understand or care to listen. Whenever I start a new venture (or even am in the midst of many, like I am now), I tend to expect some pillar or sign of support from the acquaintances, and moving even closer to home, friends/family, but this is not always the case. People are busy, and usually, are more willing to believe that “someone else” is more legitimate than the person within reach (ie: a friend or family member). Regardless, outside of Steve, I have found the small circle of people on which I can depend, those that take an interest in the more perplexing details of the inner-workings/behind the scenes of my businesses, and simply say a prayer or like a post on Instagram. It’s the little things.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, you want to enjoy my area, well, you’ll get the most out of it if you’re with me. (please note, this agenda is assuming Covid is a non issue.) Let’s start with a leisurely bike ride down Tempe Town Lake, then head over to Cartel Coffee for a delicious iced dirty chai with oat milk. Next, let’s head to Joya Spa for a massage and some sauna sits. From there, let’s veg out to a great movie on the couch and relax *some more*. Then, take a quick double shot of espresso and then put on something you feel joyous in because it’s drinks at Hanny’s in downtown Phoenix to start, then on our way to dinner at House of Tricks. Then we’ll head downtown to Crescent for a show and more drinks. Now I’m craving my bed, but let’s stop by In and Out on the way home for second dinner and a milkshake. xo Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I truly am blessed in the sense that I have quite a few people, books, and experiences which have played a part in my current success story. However, since I must limit it to one, I would love to give recognition to my Husband, Steve Kleva. He has sincerely played the most pivotal role in my goings on since the moment we met, cliché as it may seem, and I am forever grateful. (He also scores high marks in the sex appeal category. I’m a lucky woman.)
Other: You can see my business IGs linked in the profile on my main account. Thanks for stopping by and please introduce yourself. DM or email works great.
All self portraits and photos were taken by me.