When the economic recession hit and Kelly Campbell lost her job, she was faced with a proposition she had never considered: turning her hobby into a full-fledged business.
Buttsup Duck Designs, located in Fallon, Nev., started as a side project in owner Kelly Campbell’s home. She designed baby onesies and matching skirts whenever she had free time.
“I just wanted some extra revenue,” said Campbell.
However, Campbell’s company laid off 1500 workers in 2009, causing her to reconsider her career path. Initially, Campbell continued to manage Buttsup Duck Designs while working at a new full time job, yet the lengthy commute made it difficult to balance both aspects of her life. Eventually, she chose to quit that job and began devoting all of her time to Buttsup Duck Designs.
“We worked out of our home for four years,” said Campbell. “Slowly but surely we were growing.”
Campbell notes that a personalized touch was an important factor in building a loyal customer base.
“We’ve made a connection with these customers,” said Campbell. “They just don’t get what they’re promised with other companies.”
After many challenges and successes, Buttsup Duck Designs opened the doors to its first retail location in June of 2014. According to Campbell, this transition was just what the business needed.
“Opening up this retailer has been the biggest leap we’ve ever done,” said Campbell. “It was a logical progression. Without a retail location, people just don’t take you as seriously.”
The retail location has also helped Buttsup Duck Designs achieve new levels of community interaction, something Campbell believes is a cornerstone of running a local business.
“Our focus in this community is to give something back and grow the community at the same time,” said Campbell. “After a while, your customers become your friends.”
While many entrepreneurs would like to believe that their business ideas will be an instant success, Campbell knows that hard work is needed in order to make this a reality. She notes that the NxLevel business classes offered by the Nevada Small Business Development Center (Nevada SBDC) helped prepare her to run Buttsup Duck Designs as efficiently as possible.
“All new business owners should take that class,” said Campbell. “It is the quintessential way to go. The connections you make inside the class are almost as important as the class itself.”
Moreover, the business advisors at the Nevada SBDC also assisted Campbell with several aspects of Buttsup Duck Designs.
“Jake Carrico helped tremendously with our financials,” said Campbell. “He was an amazing resource.”
The Small Business Administration (SBA) was also responsible for alerting Campbell to the Western Nevada Development District (WNDD) Business Microloan Program. Buttsup Duck Designs was recently awarded $40,000 from the WNDD, allowing for tremendous growth within the last few months.
“It was only a $25 application fee,” said Campbell.
Campbell notes that her business has tripled its growth since it opened the doors to its retail location, and that the $40,000 from the WNDD has only added to such success.
“We were limping along with the equipment we had,” said Campbell. “Now, we’ve been able to purchase a four head embroidery machine and a direct-to-garment machine.”
Campbell also notes that Buttsup Duck Designs is the first business in rural Nevada to own such machinery.
As for the future, Campbell notes that she would like to expand to other cities.
“Any area with a high school needs what we do,” said Campbell.
You can connect with Buttsup Duck Designs on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/buttsupduck