KPL Designs, LLC

“SCORE showed us the steps of where to start and taught us how to build our business plan.” 
      Brandy Lovera,  co-owner

           “Starting a business is like riding a roller coaster”, says Brandy Lovera, co-owner of KPL Designs.  “SCORE has been with us all the way keeping us motivated and helping us through our tough times”, says Kelly Levin, Brandy’s business partner and co-owner. 

     The idea for their business began about two years ago when Kelly, a fashion designer, saw her teenage daughter & friends throw their identical Ugg boots in a pile on the floor. Her daughter had resorted to drawing a permanent design on her expensive boots to distinguish them from her friends’ boots.  Inspired to resolve the identity problem, Kelly sat down at her sewing machine and fashioned a decorative, slip-on boot cover that transformed her daughters boots from ordinary to unique, thus the Uwaduhi product line was born.  Uwaduhi is a Cherokee word for “pretty”.   Kelly with a background in fashion design and production needed help with marketing and selling her product and partnered with Brandy, a close friend and neighbor who had extensive sales experience.  The budding entrepreneurs determined that they needed assistance in starting their business and turned to SCORE.  The two partners began their journey in February 2010 by participating in Chester County SCORE’s four-part Business Planning Workshop.   “We had no idea where to begin,” said Brandy. “SCORE showed us the steps of where to start and taught us how to build our business plan.”   Working with their SCORE counselors, Charlie Espenlaub and Jim Friedman, they completed their business plan, incorporated as KPL Designs, LLC, began manufacturing and opened for business in December 2010.

       One of the greatest challenges was sourcing raw goods and labor for manufacturing their Uwaduhi products in the USA. Kelly and Brandy joined Chester County SCORE’s textile roundtable group and were introduced to textile manufacturers who assisted with sourcing leads. Finding a manufacturer to source their products in the USA was an obstacle, but Kelly & Brandy considered it a priority.  They engaged the organization Brian’s House Enterprises, people with developmental disabilities located in Downingtown, Pa. to add the decorative trimming for their product line.  They established their website to introduce and sell their products.  About 75% of their business today is retail and their website has created a national market for their products.  Their seasonal product line individualizes their customers boots with Native American & Southwestern inspired covers that fit all style and size boots.  Future plans are to expand their product line by offering new styles of boot covers and adding a children’s line.  Brandy anticipates that they will be profitable by the end of 2011 and are currently meeting their revenue projections.  One of their future challenges will be to manage the cost of manufacturing their products as inflation cuts into their margins.

       Kelly says, “SCORE’s Textile Roundtable has helped us network with other non-competitive small businesses.”  “We have helped each other by identifying resource contacts and finding answers to many of our issues.”  Brandy says “SCORE has helped us in seeing things we missed”.  “We have learned so much by going through the business planning process and by continuing our counseling sessions”.