What started as a creative outlet for former social worker and stay-at-home mom Kelly Lachney has taken on a life of its own. Where she once distributed her pieces to friends and family, now her jewelry brand KML designs is supplied by shops across the southeast. The appeal, according to Lachney, is in the classic designs that allow the earrings, bracelets and necklaces to appeal to a wide audience, from teenagers to their grandmothers.
Read on to learn more about the brand’s beginnings, inspirations and what to expect in the future.
1. What is your professional background?
I was born and raised in New Orleans and graduated with a Masters in Social Work from LSU in 1994. Shortly after graduating I moved with my husband to Overland Park, Kansas , where I worked as a social worker and started my family.
2. What prompted you to open KML Designs?
In 2007, my family moved back to Baton Rouge. I was a stay-at-home mom to my three children for many years. However, as my kids got older, I wanted to get back to work, but I wanted to be in a more creative field. I started getting interested in jewelry making as a hobby and selling to my friends and family.
3. When did KML Designs open its doors and how has it grown or changed since then?
I officially opened KML Designs in 2010. As customer interest grew, I began to wholesale my jewelry to a local art and decor store. This opportunity quickly turned into having my own space in the retail store. For the past 10 years I have sold my jewelry to clothing boutiques, gift shops, and home decor stores in Louisiana and the Southeast area.
4. What sets your pieces apart?
My pieces are current and priced accessible to a wide variety of buyers, from high school girls to more mature women.
5. What are some of your favorite items in the store right now?
Right now I’m in full gameday mode with the LSU football season starting soon. I have been working on many new pieces which will be available in early August. My other favorites include my Marie medallion necklaces and earings.
6. What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical workday might include making new pieces, restocking local stores, shipping bulk orders, photographing my jewelry, and working on my website.
7. What are some of your best-selling products?
The mainstay of my business since day one has been religious jewelry, which make wonderful gifts. They are most popular during the holidays, Mother’s Day, Easter, and Confirmation, as well as for teacher gifts. My house blessings are also offered by real estate agents when their clients buy a new home.
8. What do you think customers should know about your line that they may not be aware of?
As a small business owner in my community, I happily support other local businesses and appreciate the support the Baton Rouge community has shown me over the past 12 years. I treasure the relationships I have developed with other local business owners as well as the friendships that have grown through my business.
9. How can customers find KML designs?
KML designs can be found locally at Vertage Clothing, Hi Penelope, The Beauty of Maison Designs, The local shop of Lagniappe and seasonally LD linen. My website is kmldesignsbr.com, where I offer shipping or local pickup in Old Goodwood. You can also follow KML designs on instagram and Facebook.
10. Can you give a hint as to what buyers will see in the future?
This time of year brings to mind the holiday shopping season and gift options for most of the women in your life. And of course, LSU football.