Red Backpack Fund helps KHL Design Studio, INSPO, stay afloat
$ 5,000 is enough to go on vacation, pay for a semester of college in the state, put money for a car – or help keep a small business afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lee’s Summit business owner Kelly Lankford was one of more than 1,000 women entrepreneurs nationwide to receive $ 5,000 through the Red Backpack Fund, a partnership between Spanx and Global Giving.
“I hope this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrific pandemic,” said Sara Blakely, founder of the US underwear maker.
“Twenty years ago, I started Spanx with $ 5,000 in savings, and I think it’s time to pay it forward. Small business is the backbone of our culture. I know what it’s like to be a small business owner and want to give these entrepreneurs some relief during this time.
With the help of the COVID Relief Grant, Lankford, owner of KHL Design Studio and INSPO: A Modern Decor Store, was able to launch e-commerce just before the holiday season.
“I have always admired Sara Blakely and how she started with next to nothing and now has a multi-billion dollar business,” Lankford said. “It was shocking and super exciting to receive the email we won.”
INSPO: A Modern Decor Store, opened last November on the eve of the pandemic. However, foot traffic has declined significantly, as have other local retailers in downtown Lee’s Summit.
“With COVID, many small businesses are turning to e-commerce because it is a way for people to shop locally from their homes and they have more choices than big box stores,” Lankford said. “It was our goal to have the electronic purchase option.”
The storefront offers modern decor and furnishings, not standard for the more traditional Midwest.
“There used to be a lot of small furniture and home decor stores that closed because they couldn’t compete with the big chains in the metro area, and I got a lot of customers who said they didn’t want this. that these stores had to do. offer, ”Lankford said.
“We … have evolved over the years to have unique boutique lines and access to products, and that’s where the store got its name, INSPO, short for inspiration. Our aim was to offer cool modern decor and furniture to a wider audience at a decent price.
Although retail sales have declined over the past year, Lankford and her all-female team have discovered a silver lining for KHL Design Studio.
“The fact that the retail piece has attracted more design customers because someone would feel comfortable in our store, love our aesthetic and ask about our services,” Lankford said.
“It’s about breaking the elite that can be associated with interior design, which is generally considered a luxury service. Not all projects are $ 1.00 projects. We like to help people on a smaller level because everyone wants a nice house. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Lankford’s favorite part as an interior designer is finishing a project and having clients who love the end result.
“The best part of my job is helping people love their space and feel their joy,” Landford said. “Last week we finished an art deco theater hall for an elderly couple who had dreamed of it for years and you could just tell they were so ecstatic.
“Our business is not about expensive goods, but about the functioning of a space and the overall aesthetic. And it can be done on a shoestring budget.
KHL Design Studio and INSPO: A Modern Decor Store are located at 12 SW Third St. in downtown Lee’s Summit. Visit https://www.khldesignstudio.com/ or follow them on social media at @inspobykhldesign.