If you are looking for a source of high-quality, fashionable clothing for children, and a source of unique toys and gifts, you should plan a trip to downtown Guthrie and visit Kamdyn’s Kloset at 124 West Oklahoma Avenue.
Jessica Stout opened Kamdyn’s Kloset as a children’s clothing store in October 2009. She was looking for a way to build her career while still being able to provide full-time care for her daughter, Kamdyn, who was born with special medical needs. Owning her own store and being able to adjust her schedule as necessary allows Jessica the freedom and flexibility to take part in her son Caden's activities as well as other important family events.
Jessica comments: “It is really the best of both worlds because I get to go to work and interact with expectant mothers, women who already have children, and grandparents of all types. So, I get to keep up on current issues with kids and be involved with some of the best parents while being an activist for kids at the same time. I recently had a costume contest to support a family whose son was born requiring open-heart surgery days after birth. Currently, I am working on several different promotions that are all part of a toy drive to collect toys for children who, without donations, may have nothing for Christmas. In my business, I am very LUCKY to be able to be active in causes for children that are dear to my heart, while greatly enjoying children's fashion and shopping… and still having the time to be with my family.”
The location in downtown Guthrie, a unique historical community, was picked because it was next to a toy store, and because of the traffic generated by special activities in the town, as well as the proximity to Jessica's home. Jessica sought SCORE assistance to develop an initial business plan and eventually financed the store herself.
Experiencing cash flow problems after a couple of months, Jessica again came to SCORE and developed a short-term marketing plan using e-mail and direct mail to bring shoppers in for the excellent end-of-season values on fall/winter items. In turn, this enabled Kamdyn’s Kloset to move into much-needed spring clothes. This approach has succeeded several times since.
A few months later, the owner of the toy store next door came into some difficult times and began to sell toys at Kamdyn’s Kloset on consignment, thus keeping their product available, and allowing the owner of the toy store to sort some things out and still move her merchandise. This period also allowed Jessica an opportunity to experience the "toy world" with no upfront costs or risks of simply ordering toys.
In the summer of 2010, the owner of the toy store had a change of heart and Artisan toys became available for buy-out by Kamdyn’s Kloset. After seeing how well the toy store and clothing paired over the consignment period, Jessica immediately jumped on the opportunity to own the toy business. She once again sought SCORE advice and eventually applied for an SBA loan via one of the large Oklahoma SBA lenders who recognized her success and her opportunity. With the loan in hand, Jessica moved into the toy business and has been successful, due to the support of her husband, her extended family, and the continued expertise of the previous toy store owner who continues to advise Jessica on her purchases. Jessica brought training in merchandising and fashion, as well as, management experience background to Kamdyn’s Kloset, but has had to learn the ins and outs of being a sole proprietor.