Midwestern Momprenuer Wins $25,000 Hiring Grant from Intuit
Kelly LeFevre loves to make her clients feel happy, pampered, and confident through jewelry. These days, however, LeFevre is feeling the same way. But it has nothing to do with jewelry and other fashion accessories. LeFevre's Aurora, Illinois-based Kele & Co. is the latest Love a Local Business winner and the recipient of a $25,000 hiring grant from Intuit.
"I can't believe it," LeFevre said upon learning the good news.
Founded in 2006, Kele & Co. embodies the quintessential Midwestern small business enterprise. A labor of love born of its owner's passion for jewelry, LeFevre now presides over this thriving direct sales company while juggling the incessant pressures of being a dedicated mom.
Following Her Passion
Prior to starting Kele & Co., LeFevre used to sell Mary Kay products. She even built and operated her own mortgage processing company for close to a decade. But after marrying in 2006, the entrepreneur decided to follow her true passion and answer what felt like a bigger calling.
By pursuing her interests in fashion and jewelry, LeFevre not only managed to carve her own niche in the direct sales jewelry market, she also found a way to help dozens of moms like herself earn a paycheck.
"We have reps across the country that do home parties," LeFevre explains. Her team primarily sells sterling silver jewelry, although a recently added bag line has also become a popular fixture with Kele clients.
"What's really great is that it gives women a chance to make extra money for their families without being gone," LeFevre says.
"That's what really excites me," the grant winner continues. "When I get a call saying one of our reps had a really great party and earned a whole bunch of money. I work hard to help them learn and run their own business and have fun at the same time.”
LeFevre says that the name Kele (pronounced "Ka-Lay") was derived from her first name (Kelly) and her mother’s name (Leta Rae). Kele also happens to be a Hawaiian destination that is Kelly’s favorite spot to vacation. LeFevre, however, has yet to pick up her first sales rep in Hawaii. Otherwise, her team of 163 representatives is scattered all across the United States.
"We've given away some free starter kits to help women that are less fortunate get their businesses off the ground. By the end of 2012, I would like to see us have at least 1,000 sales reps," LeFevre tells the Intuit Small Business Blog, noting that the hiring grant will contribute tremendously toward that end.
Could Your Small Business Be The Next Big Winner?
Will your business take top honors next month and bring home $25,000? If you haven’t already, click here to nominate your business for a chance to win the next Love a Local Business hiring grant from Intuit.
Michael Essany is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.