We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Klein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I studied journalism in college and got into marketing afterward because I wanted to exercise my creativity every day. I bounced around the PR and marketing teams of a few different companies, and I came face-to-face with the harsh reality that unless I was completely in charge, I would always be carrying out someone else’s creative vision. I felt drained and worked to death doing something that didn’t invigorate my creative energy. I was working on the marketing team at a tech company when I met my business partner and boyfriend, Connor, who was the graphic designer there. As we got to know each other, we discovered an inevitable synergy. Not only did our marketing skills complement each other, but we had the same goal in life: to be in control of our own creative freedom. With that mission in mind, the decision to start Kreativ Alchemy in 2019 came effortlessly.
What should our readers know about your business?
Kreativ Alchemy is a marketing agency that specializes in defining and launching startups and personal brands. We made Kreativ Alchemy what it is, and it changed our lives. Now, we’re passionate about helping other entrepreneurs do the same thing. If someone comes to us with a business idea, we help them turn it into a real brand with a logo, business cards, website, social media profiles, imagery, ads, strategy, and other vital assets. We’re problem solvers. Businesses need branding and marketing services because they have a problem that they can’t solve. Figuring out how we can create the assets and strategy to solve the problem is our special sauce – we’re not just creating something pretty. The journey to finding that special sauce was far from linear, though. We stepped away from our office jobs to run Kreativ Alchemy full-time in March 2020, three days before the U.S. shut everything down for COVID. We lost tons of promised contracts and client acquisition was a nightmare. It forced us to think about how we could adapt our services to deliver something that was still relevant and necessary during the lockdown. We explored a lot of different niches before looking back in on the company and realizing that exactly what we did for ourselves when we started Kreativ Alchemy is what other businesses need too. We don’t need to pitch a logo to a big company just because it looks cool. We need to pitch an identity strategy to businesses and brands that are struggling to reach the people who need their services.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let’s pretend that everything’s open and back to a normal schedule for this one. My favorite part about Denver is that you can go from skyscrapers to mountains in 30 minutes. I love the old architecture in the city so we’d check out all of the landmarks. In my opinion, you can’t miss the Colorado State Capitol, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Cheeseman Memorial, and the Brown Palace Hotel. Winter is my favorite season, and I just moved back to Denver from California, so I’m craving snow! We’re spending a day in the mountains ice skating on Evergreen Lake and getting Beau Jo’s pizza – apparently, honey on pizza is Colorado-exclusive. If you’re willing to travel a little farther outside the city, the Ice Castles in Dillon and Red Rocks in Morrison are totally worth the drive. We’re definitely capping the experience with wine and bruschetta at Postino. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Connor Foltyn-Smith, the second parent to our Kreativ Alchemy brainchild, deserves the highest accolade for making Kreativ Alchemy the best place to work and making my decision to start it so much easier. I’ve tried to start my own marketing ventures before (as a freelancer), but I was too scared to risk everything to go out on my own without financial security. Having a springboard for my ideas and support for the many mental breakdowns I’ve had starting a business in the midst of a pandemic is invaluable. We got to a point together where we couldn’t imagine going back into an office and executing some else’s vision without recognition. As long as we had each other, we were going to find a path to success. I’ll wake up with a crazy new campaign idea one morning and, by the evening, it’s online. We teach each other, support each other, bounce ideas off of each other, and force each other to get off of our computers every now and then. This story wouldn’t exist without him.
Connor Foltyn-Smith, Jefferson Pichinte, Samantha Kurland