Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Koeppel.
Hi Kelly, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Central Illinois, a 3rd generation entrepreneur. My dad owned his own company that built race cars (he drove his own as well) and his father founded a construction company that built many of the roads in my hometown.
I always loved art and studied Fine Art at Columbia College Chicago. I graduated in 1997 and continued to exhibit my work while also building a career as a designer.
I moved around over the years living in Denver Colorado, Charlotte North Carolina, and a brief stint in Milan Italy before settling in Nashville in 2012. I’m also a world traveler and I gathered a lot of design ideas from my travels throughout Italy, Spain, Nicaragua, Croatia, Belize, France, Morocco, and China in 2008 for the Summer Olympics.
I founded k2forma in 2007 and I began working with corporations and non-profits all over the world. In 2012 k2forma was selected to create the branding and graphics for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
In 2021 the k2forma team decided to shift our workspace back to a work-from-home modality. We did this in 2020 in response to COVID and then came back to the office in early 2021. As the summer wound down and our lease was expiring, the team and I made the decision to not renew. With this shift, we were able to donate all of our desks and computers to End Slavery TN to help support their growth.
One of my other passions is interior design. I love diving into the interior design process to uncover what the space needs to make it functional and beautiful. I’ve purchased and renovated three homes, and just started my fourth.
I am also beginning to build a vintage car collection and you may spot me cruising around Nashville in a pale aqua Nissan Figaro convertible, skillfully driving from the right side of the car. They were only made for one year and at the time only produced 20,000. It’s believed that there are only about 14,000 left in existence worldwide, and only a few hundred here in the United States.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t think any entrepreneur would describe their journey as a ‘smooth road.’ Some of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered have come from growth and change in the market. When I started k2forma, Facebook was just getting started. Now, fifteen years later, social media is a significant factor in marketing. Watching our world change so significantly in such a short time has taught me to be nimble and that you can never stop learning!
One unique challenge I faced in 2020 is recovering from a serious bike injury. I live by the adage that if you get to the grave unscathed, you’ve done it wrong. My philosophy was put to the test in October 2020 after a bicycle accident resulted in a rare 11” Morel-Lavellée lesion in my quadricep requiring surgery and months of rehabilitation. It literally was a one-in-a-million traumatic injury that immobilized me for four months. That experience has taught me patience, compassion and resilience in business and life.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about k2forma?
Creating great work has always been about bringing together design and form for me and for k2forma, the creative agency she founded in 2007 and headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. My art school education has also been at the heart of our design approach. We’re not just about making things pretty; we want to solve problems and make communication easier.
I was launched into entrepreneurship led by a desire to help clients grow their business through marketing strategy, advertising, digital marketing, and PR. I lead our team through the creative process and develop trusted relationships with our clients, often telling them things they may not want to hear but need to hear that make a difference in their marketing. This direct approach has served me well – helping to attract and retain clients for years.
k2forma is best known for our award-winning brand identities, websites, and campaigns for world-class organizations such as Caterpillar, Houzz, Wake Forest University, Talbots, Harris Teeter, Polo Ralph Lauren, and the 2012 National Democratic Convention.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Curiosity, patience, resilience in the face of adversity, and a deep belief in yourself are the essential qualities that I think you need. Along with these – it’s essential to be a good listener. If you’re not listening to feedback and adjusting your approach, then you’re just an ‘idea bully’. I see everyone we work with as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: k2forma.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k2forma/
- Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k2_kellyk/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/k2forma
Rachel Moore Photography
Dolly Delong Photography