Kawaii Lighting is here to answer the question, “Why can’t technology be simple and cute?” According to founders Chloe Mae and Lan Bui, it can be. While living in China, they would spend their weekends exploring different cities, always on the hunt for viable business options that would translate to the US. They found fun-shaped ring lights like stars, hearts, and cat heads on these adventures. They rebranded these lights and shipped them to their garage in 2020, selling under the name of Kawaii Lighting.
The name and design style comes from the Japanese word for cute: kawaii (pronounced kuh-wai-ee), a massively popular style culture in its home country and across the world.
These ring lights have since become a viral sensation on social media thanks to their kawaii factor and the founders’ efforts to get big names in the social media world to use their ring lights and feature them in posts across multiple platforms.
Even Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B uses Kawaii Lighting’s heart ring light. Her videos to her 135 million followers on Instagram clearly show the heart-shaped ring light reflected in various shiny surfaces like her sunglasses. The comment sections of these posts are constantly flooded with followers asking where the ring light is from. Chloe and Lan couldn’t have asked for better publicity.
Kawaii Lighting’s online store is thriving and growing thanks to a massive influx of sales after its appearance on Shark Tank.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Life and business partners Chloe and Lan came to Shark Tank supercharged with a fun, upbeat pitch. Like cheerleaders hyping up the crowd, they showed off their ring lights and shared their Kawaii Lighting story.
With $261,000 in sales and good margins, this duo asked for $88,000 for 22% equity. Right off the bat, Barbara was thrilled because she was a big fan of ring lights and believed everyone should have one for their zoom calls. Mark, Lori, and Emma thought the product was cute but felt there was too much competition in the market especially considering they didn’t have a patent.
Lan explained they hadn’t applied for a patent because phase one of their business plan was to determine if there even was a market for cute ring lights. Barbara was even more enamored by the couple and an offer over the ask! She was willing to put up $100,000 for 22% with a $10 royalty per light sold. The other Sharks were stunned, with Mark even questioning Barbara if she understood what “they do here.”
The royalty was too much for Chloe and Lan, and as Barbara tried to explain her logic, Kevin O’Leary kept interrupting with his offer of $88,000 for the same equity and $5 royalty. Barbara would not let him take this deal away from her, so she lowered the royalty to $5.
That was all the push these two entrepreneurs needed; Barbara and Kawaii Lighting were in business.
Our Review of Kawaii Lighting
Kawaii Lighting‘s online store is the dose of dopamine this world needs. It is bright and colorful, overflowing with cute emojis and visuals. Front and center is their collection of sleek 65-watt adjustable color temperature RGB LED ring lights with three built-in phone stands. Color choices are currently limited to black and pink, and there are three sizes, 20 inches, 12 inches, and 6 inches. There is even a colossal traditional ring light measuring a whooping 24 inches across.
All these ring lights have a straightforward interface with simple push buttons that changes the light’s intensity, hue, and tone. With easy-to-understand instructions, it’s just a matter of placing the ring light on the included light stand (that has a maximum height of 68 inches) and plugging in the 9-foot-long cord.
Another fun aspect of these ring lights is that when you are filming videos or taking photos, they reflect little stars and hearts in your eyes, really amping up the kawaii aesthetic.
They also have colorful iridescent ring light carriers, pink light stands, pink heart-shaped microphones, and pink hand mirrors.
Kawaii Lighting’s customer service is also note-worthy, offering assistance in everything from order and shipping to product support.
Pros of Kawaii Lighting
- Cute designs
- Easy to use
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Has three phone holders
- Can charge your phone through the ring light
- Comes with a stand and long power cord
Cons of Kawaii Lighting
- Expensive when compared to standard ring lights
- Shapes like the star and cat head more fragile than standard ring lights
- Stock finishes very quickly
Who is Kawaii Lighting For?
Kawaii Lighting is for anyone who uses photography and video equipment looking for high-quality stylized ring lights to help brighten their face. Everyone can benefit from a ring light, from influencers, YouTubers, and Twitch streamers to zoom call participants.
Ring lights are already popular in the fashion and beauty industry, making these ring lights a must-have for hairstylists, makeup artists, and really anyone who is into the kawaii culture.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are sellers online marketing near replicas of Kawaii Lighting’s star shape ring lights like this one on Amazon. Apart from this, there are similar heart-shaped ring lights from other manufacturers that also have remote controls to adjust the light settings.
Tiktok superstars Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio sell traditional and heart-shaped ring lights on their online store. Although similar in shape, they are smaller than Kawaii Lighting’s, with only one phone holder but come with either a camera stand or table stand.
Our Final Thoughts
Kawaii Lighting’s ring lights are so gosh darn cute; they put a smile on our faces. However, there is no doubt that there is a lot of competition in this market, and ever since this company’s appeared on Shark Tank, there seem to be more heart and star ring lights on the market.
The fact that they don’t have a patent on their design doesn’t help. Hopefully, with Barbara’s business expertise, they will be able to overcome this obstacle and scale their business up.