Spotlight on Smart Blonde Creative

You need to be patient with your business and be willing to work with your clients to meet their needs.
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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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Amanda Kuhn and Kelly Oppelt of Smart Blonde Creative.

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