How These 5 Kansas City Makers and Creators Became Business Owners
Do you want to turn your creative passion or handmade pursuit into a money-making business? Kansas City’s nonprofit entrepreneurial support community would love to help you do just that. Get your Personalized Action Plan of connections and guidance in Kansas City, then enjoy reading about how five of our most creative friends found their path to entrepreneurial success:
When Johanna Miller started the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, she knew how to knit, hand dye yarn and wanted to open her own store, but didn’t have the business savvy to pull all the threads together. “I never thought of myself as a business person. I didn’t think I could learn the things needed to run my own business. And I was very scared.”
What Joanna learned in Ice House was a complete surprise and lead to an even more profitable endeavor than she had in mind.
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We celebrated International Women’s Day with a panel of women business owners to discuss the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Whitney Manney, a fashion designer, was very candid, to say the least:
“Two summers ago I did the FastTrac® NewVenture™ program. It was really good for me coming from a fine arts background. (You don’t get a ton of business education when you go to arts school.) I’ve always had a pretty good balance of creative and analytical. But I wanted to take a chunk of time out to set up my business systems. That way, during rush orders and nights spent sewing until 4 a.m., I’m not worrying about how things are running.
“Being an artist with a business, if I’m not confident about what I’m developing and creating, no one else is going to care. That sounds horrible, but it’s the truth. I have to be on a Beyoncé level of confidence. I have to be confident in what I’m doing because that’s when I nail those meetings, get those contracts and keep the business moving forward.”
>>>>>Are you ready for a Personal Action Plan of resources and organizations that you can connect with today to turn your hobby or side gig into a thriving business? We’re ready for you!
Jordan Williams dropped out of Columbia College Chicago in 2012. The last thing he wanted to do was move back to his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. But alas, he found himself in his mom’s basement weeks after leaving the Windy City.
“I made a declaration right away—if I’m going to live in Kansas City, then I’m going to grow with Kansas City.”
That he did, becoming one of Kansas City’s trailblazer, Jordan started a custom bow tie business called Keefe Cravat. Keefe means noble, gentle, lovable and handsome (qualities Jordan does possess.) And Cravat means neckwear in french.
How he got from his mom’s basement, to being showcased at a gallery in the Crossroads, starts with just $10 dollars and his faith.
Photo Credit: Steven Green
Every entrepreneur has an unique origin story.
Safiyyah Mills started Sentimental Moodz because she wanted to see more paper products for people of color. It is a true passion project that she plans to grow by continuing to get to know her market, increasing online and in-person sales and exploring a subscription model. Her goal is to grow Sentimental Moodz into a competitive and impactful brand.
Meg Melchert’s entrepreneurial journey began with a happy accident. Her sister mistakenly purchased a printing press on a credit card. After much back and forth between corporate America and entrepreneurial pursuits, Meg finally quit her day job in 2017 to focus full time on her business, Ink’d & Classi.
What’s your origin story? And more immediately, how will you write your next chapter?
Joseph Pippins grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. A restless kid, he spent many afternoons grounded and confined to his bedroom, unable to get his hands on essential childhood goodies. That is, until he started selling toys out of his window, thereby creating a marketplace and filling his coffers with baseball cards, ice cream, video games and an entrepreneurial spirit to boot.
This knack for solving problems and hunger for success sunk its hook deep into Joseph’s life. Entrepreneurship helped him raise himself out of poverty and drove him to push against the current and create the Fishing Caddy, a tool that does a whole lot more than making fishing easier, it brings families together and helps create childhood memories full of love and the thrills of reeling in a big catch.
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