Interview with Barbara Doran – Inventor of the KitchenKuffs
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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I came up with the idea for KitchenKuffs®, and formed Kuffco, LLC, in 2008. At the time I was, and still am, the owner (with my husband) of a small advertising agency. I had left the corporate world in 1995. I’ve long had an entrepreneurial spirit and never quite fit the corporate mold. Additionally, in 2006 I earned my certification as a professional dog trainer. Dog training, a lifetime passion, was my original post-agency retirement plan.
KitchenKuffs were developed out of necessity. I wear a lot of sweatshirts and the sleeves are always too long. I would push my long sleeves up while in the kitchen and they’d fall right back down into whatever I was working with. I had a real problem — wet and messy sleeves so I developed a solution — KitchenKuffs.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I have trained dogs since I was nine. I studied animal behavior in college and had great hopes of pursuing a related career. However, the job market was pretty tight when I graduated and I made a decision to change direction and took a position with an ad agency. That position led to other opportunities in marketing with several different employers. With each new position I held increasing levels of responsibility culminating as a Vice President, Marketing for a division of a Fortune 500 company.
How did you fund your business?
Kuffco, LLC and KitchenKuffs have been completely self-funded. Significant investments have been required to support filings for the patent, trademark and licensing agreements. Initially I drew from savings but on an ongoing basis my dream is supported by my advertising and dog training endeavors. With each year the balance sheet looks brighter!
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I probably work close to 50 – 60 hours a week. At least half (sometimes as much as ¾) of that is from the home office.
How would you rate your success?
I would say that my success is moderate at present. I believe the economy has been a real challenge for most small businesses and we have definitely felt the pressures. Hopefully as conditions improve and consumer confidence and spending grow so will the success of KitchenKuffs.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
The biggest struggles I find are creating a good balance with my finances and time. There are always investments to make (inventory, marketing, etc.) and with limited funds I have to make choices and some sacrifices. And because I have my hands in several disciplines it is often challenging to find the time, energy and self-initiative to execute everything I planned to do.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Do you really believe in your idea, in your heart? If so then create a plan, anticipate that EVERYTHING will take longer than you expected, network, network, network, and don’t give up!
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
I have established schedules that help me allocate time for the business, family, friends, and other activities.
Periodically I like to stop, assess where I’m at and reestablish priorities as necessary.
Connect with Barbara Doran and KitchenKuffs…
Facebook Fan Page: Facebook/KitchenKuffs
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