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Community Highlights: Meet Tracey Fowlkes of KK&S

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Fowlkes.

Hi, Tracey. Can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
The abbreviated story of how KK&S evolved is that I needed an outlet to cope with stress. I am a mother of 7 children and wanted a creative outlet that would be gratifying. KK&S allowed me to have a platform for creative expression. I found what I enjoyed by decorating, crafting, and accentuating the beauty of things. As KK&S progressed, it transitioned from crafting to event decorating. Today the brand of KK&S emerges as a product curator. We are now production of custom-designed products. A little about my career history, I worked in the Human Services field for 10 years and earned my Master’s in Human Resources.

I was not fulfilled in my career, so I enrolled in a Ph.D. program for postsecondary education, All while teaching as an adjunct professor in Washington, D.C. As boredom settled in, I wanted to try something that required manual skills. In 2013, I stumbled upon crafting while helping my then 15-year daughter with her dessert business. In 2014, I secured my first paid opportunity as an event decorator just months after my launch party. This was the beginning of KK&SEvents. As an event decorator, I wanted to offer customized designs. I saw how other designers were faced with a lack of options for event customizations. In 2017, knowing these wedding & event industry pain points, I decided to help my colleagues enhance their events. We did this by offering customized products. I was able to channel this vision into helping my peers stand out from their competitors. In short, KK&S Designs was born from a necessity, with the mission to assist business owners and enhance their brands. KK&S Designs is a boutique custom design studio featuring personalized laser cut and engraved gifts, decor, event details, and luxury desserts and treats.

Creating beautiful, lasting memories and contributing to someone’s special day is part of our mission and something we strive to accomplish daily. We are a small, minority, and women-owned business. We work with other small businesses, primarily minority-owned and local suppliers, to create the high-end, highest quality, unique pieces for a finishing touch. We provide services to not only events but also businesses.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being in business for yourself is a road paved by lessons from hardships. As a solo prenuer , fulfilling every position within your business is difficult. For many years, I did everything solo. As the orders grew in complexity and the volume increased, I realized I needed to recruit additional hands. Over the last three years, I have contracted other positions to assist the growth of KK&SDesigns. Being a solo prenuer has its obstacles, such as balancing home life. But, we are balancing and thriving. As an operator in two active businesses and a family of 8 it is a challenge. It cannot be easy to manage everyone’s schedule and business endeavors. Although 3 of my children are adults, I must factor in their journey because my role as a mother is a constant. My children still need my guidance and support. My 4 adolescent children are in school full time, and all are involved in afterschool activities. There are many hats to fulfill as an involved mother and business owner, so the key is to provide structure with a good calendar.

So, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you before we go? How can they support you?
I love collaborating with other creatives. I get to work with individuals to enhance their event or business branding. The best methods to contact KK&S are through the website and via email. My portfolio is primarily on the website, so potential clients can view product offerings and orders. While the website is the primary vehicle for accessing clients, I can also easily coordinate communication through email for custom work. We thank everyone for the support, and I look forward to future collaborations.

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