Amanda Kuhn and Kelly Oppelt grew up in the same town and remained friends while they worked together at a magazine company. They took a business opportunity to provide the community with affordable graphic design services and became business owners in 2011 forming Smart Blonde Creative.
Smart Blonde Creative is a design firm that specializes in creating brochures, web designs or whole branding campaigns for small businesses of any size budget. Amanda and Kelly have been building their client list while providing quality work and support recommendations to clients.
I was able to sit down with Amanda and Kelly to learn more about the services they provide and their business advice to others who might want to start their own business.
Scranton Chamber: How did you decide on your company’s name?
Kelly Oppelt: Amanda and I both made lists of potential names separately and then we discussed our top picks together. We decided to go with Smart Blonde; it was Amanda’s pick, because it was different. Our name has really given our business personality. Now, we are known as “The Blondes” wherever we go. We even have shirts that say “I’m the smart one.”
SC: What sets your business apart?
Amanda Kuhn: Our customer service sets us apart. We provide the best care we can for our clients and are always honest with them. We don’t just look at our business as design projects; we are building relationships with business owners. We take pride in our work and we want to be able to give our clients what they want.
KO: Most people know about our business through word of mouth. We get referrals from our clients and have had a lot of repeat clients. We want to help make their business easier and provide quality work for them. Our clients know that we are just a phone call away.
SC: What is the biggest challenge being in business with a friend?
KO: We don’t have challenges; we get along very well. We are both responsible for different portions of the business. I do the design work and Amanda is responsible for the business management. We work together to run the business and keep focused.
AK: We both respect each other’s opinions and trust one another. We really agree on most things but if we don’t agree on something, we talk about the situation and make the best decision we can for the business and our clients.
SC: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of starting their own business?
KO: You need to be patient with your business, and be willing to work with your clients to meet their needs.
AK: You need to be prepared for things to change with your business. When we developed our business plan we knew how our business needed to function but when our business started, we had to make adjustments to our original plan.
SC: How has The Chamber helped your business?
AK: Kelly and I really believe that The Chamber has watched out for our business and has opened up business opportunities for us. Since we joined The Chamber,we’ve received phone calls from board members to make sure we are making the most out of our membership. They also assisted in providing financing for our start-up business.
SC: What is your next goal? What are you working on now?
AK: We would love to start a community publication. We are always thinking of new ideas and our next goals. Right now, we are focused on our clients and their needs and we want them to see us as their “in-house designers” without working in-house. Kelly and I pride our business on being dependable and available for our clients.
SC: How have you been able to help the local community?
KO: We have been able to give back to local organizations in the community with donated work or time at an event. We also have been able to learn about businesses in the area and discuss what they value and what they want to accomplish. Those businesses inspire us.
— by Amanda E. Marchegiani, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce