What is your full name, title, and business name?
Kim Pheiffer, Founder/CEO, KP Designs & Associates
Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
We are an all woman team of 20 who specialize in residential design. We operate from an 8,000 square ft. showroom where we can bring our clients to shop for furniture, case goods, artwork and lighting. Our team can do a simple paint consult to a full remodel of a kitchen or bathroom. We partner with our clients and create an open line of communication so they once again love their home.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Our home was on the Clinton Hill tour of homes years ago and many people commented on the design of our home. It was done on a small budget, since it was our first home and they loved the mixing of expensive, inexpensive and DIY. After having my first baby, I decided to leave a great corporate job and started KP Designs. It’s my passion and I am now surely fed by a team who shares in the same passion as I do.
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
I added an assistant after years of being very busy then added a designer to take on projects that I could not do. We kept growing and when the designer decided to leave I could have gone back to just me and my assistant or add a team of designers so that’s what I decided to do. Once we grew our team, I decided having 700 sq. ft. office was not cutting it so I expanded to 4,000 and outgrew that in less then 6 months. We now have 8,000 and I would love even more!
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
Wearing many hats! Some days I’m in meetings all day. It could be with designers or with clients. Some days they need help in the warehouse so I am helping unload a truck and unpack boxes. Some days we are redoing the showroom, by moving furniture around and hanging new artwork. It’s a juggling act and different every day but I love every minute of it.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
We have so much support through our community. We have won “Best Design Firm” from Columbus CEO Magazine for the past 4 years so it’s amazing to be recognized by other businesses and individuals. We love supporting local businesses and working together to create fabulous products!
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you here and ultimately what made you stay.
I have been in Columbus since 1992. I grew up in Centerville, Ohio a suburb outside of Dayton. I was originally born in Boston, MA where most of my extended family still is.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
You are going to make mistakes. You are going to take on too much. You are going to say YES when you should have said NO. But learn every day. Make sure you are taking care of your employees so they will take care of your clients. Be prepared to talk to influential people in Columbus but then be prepared go back to the office and clean up the bathroom. Stay humble and be kind.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
You need a mentor. You need to network with other entrepreneurs. I wish I would have known this earlier. I have several great mentors and I like to mentor younger people. We are very involved with the mentorship program at Olentangy schools.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
Trying to please everyone. It’s an ongoing challenge but learning that everyone is not a good fit as a client.
The other thing is, what’s next with KP Designs. What’s our next move. My head is always spinning!
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
I’m a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy but learning that’s an impossible task.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
I think it gets tough and they just give up. You constantly need to look at the big picture. How one decision on any given day can affect something down the road. Get opinions, talk to your accountant, talk to another business owner, stay educated.
People also think owning your own business is “so flexible.” Flexible is having to work until 11pm at night then getting up early so you can leave an hour earlier then usual to take your kids to practice. Dedication and a “get knocked down but get right back up attitude” is a must.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
I hired a business coach to help me take my business to the next level. I worked with her for a year at a very high hourly rate. In the end the way she wanted me to take my business is not what I wanted and I spent a lot of time and money figuring that out. Live and learn.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
I have such a great support team. They are always looking at more efficient and cost effective ways of doing things. We have streamlined so many of our processes over the years. It makes my head spin to think how it used to be all manual and how much money I probably lost. I knew how I wanted it to work but needed them to help me and they did. They amaze me everyday!
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
We were getting so busy I was telling clients it would be 6-8 weeks before we could start their project. Once I hired additional designers and opened up new furniture and accessory options I knew we needed more space. And it’s filled!
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
We opened the showroom! We can have clients come in to see furniture, sit on the sofa they will be ordering, look at tile samples for their kitchen remodel. It has saved our designers so much time that they are more efficient with their projects.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out.
We sometimes bring new product lines and they don’t do well and collect dust on our showroom floor. We wanted to create our own furniture line and the company we were working with went rouge on us and ended up charging our account for things we never received.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
New product for our showroom!
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
Being more visible on social media and hoping to launch product through our website and in IG.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
Social media and Houzz has been a good referral source for us. We have created a great network of clients and love the repeat business and referrals they send us. We have been working with some of the same clients since I started the business.
Who is your best Columbus resource (accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc.)? Please provide name and business name so we can give them credit!
Scott Lindsey, attorney
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
Usually my fiancé. I try to keep everything positive at work!
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
I want to have a receiving warehouse for all of our client orders. This will allow us to open our showroom for more new product. I have one design manager and would like to promote another designer to a design manager to lead a team of their own.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
Go to a Buckeyes game and tailgate before!! It’s such a fun experience!