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CEO has designs on expanding business

Melissa Topey • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

A local business has become an international, multimillion-dollar company by focusing primarily on two things: hard work and helping others.

After starting K&K Interiors 19 years ago, owner and CEO Kyle Camp has turned his operation into a leading wholesale supplier of home décor.

His venture started humbly, as a cart in the middle of the Sandusky Mall.

“Everything had to be small,” Camp said. “I had a candle line and floral pieces”

At that time, about 50 to 70 pieces of home decorations accounted for his inventory. These days, his business offers 16,000 to 18,000 items.

Camp declined to reveal his company’s earnings, but he did say it’s now a multimillion-dollar company with international sales. It’s headquartered in Camp’s hometown of Sandusky, where he has also set up warehouse distribution.

K&K Home Furnishings is open to the public, as a nod to the local community, although most of Camp’s business comes from wholesale sales.

The company sells to about 30,000 retailers, some of them overseas, and it also has a plant and office in China to facilitate overseas distribution.

In the early years, Camp’s budget was tight — any money that came in was invested right back into the company.

Camp has invested countless hours to make the business a success.

He makes sure he gives back.

“I never forget where I came from” he said. “I don’t need to work anymore, but I love what I’m doing. There are also all the people who have been dedicated to us, built their homes, lifestyles and kids with us”

Alongside him the entire way was Mark Walls, vice president of K&K Interiors. Walls clearly believed in Camp’s potential from the get-go. About a year after K&K began operating in the Sandusky Mall, Walls left a lucrative corporate job at EquiFax to join K&K.

He never looked back.

“We didn’t build this alone,” Walls said. “It was a team effort”

That team is now made up of 200 people. The vast majority of K&K’s business is from sales to retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Macy’s.

The company still specializes in home décor, but it also offers baby clothes, accessories and jewelry.

To this day, the company remains privately owned.

“So we can control what we are doing” Camp said.

Camp has a certain style and quality he imbues in his product lines, and he has a great eye for design. He said he likes knowing exactly what is being produced and knowing it’s made to his standards — even though no one will know it’s from K&K Interiors.

The décor items K&K produces are shipped to wholesale customers, who stamp their own brand on it.

K&K weathered the tight economy in recent years by recognizing that any problems would end, and everyone was in it together.

“The struggles only made us stronger,” Camp said. “To me, this is not the time to cut. You keep fighting and you work twice as hard”

Camp keeps tight control of his costs, but he also make sure his prices are set to work for customers. With customers increasingly ordering smaller amounts of product, Camp ships small orders the next day, with discounts on shipping.

“It’s more about customer service,” Camp said. “Customer service equals sales”

This philosophy has helped the business, and its customers, succeed.

K&K Interiors recently purchased the Westgate Center, on the west side of Sandusky, for more space. The company may very well need it.

Camp is contemplating the launch of an international catalog, which would reach even more retailers.

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