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I first met Kendra when she helped GatherDC rebrand and host our launch party. I was lucky enough to observe her passion and dedication to her work first-hand. This week, we dove into what inspired her to start her own business, what have been some of her favorite projects, and her love of food (even though she isn’t a foodie)!
Jackie: You founded your own PR firm KRPR. What made you want to start this business?
Kendra: I had started a film festival in DC through my old employer, Yachad (a Jewish nonprofit that works on affordable housing and community development). It was called Our City Film Festival and it screened DC-focused films to encourage pride in DC and community relations. When I started this, I got my feet wet with media relations and marketing and realized how much I loved it. It was such a thrill to get some press for the event, or watch ticket sales go up, or learn that someone found out about Yachad through the festival. I decided to get my Masters in Communications from Johns Hopkins University so I could learn more about the field, and soon started taking on clients on the side while still working at Yachad. It got to the point that there were enough clients where I could comfortably leave Yachad. My husband, Travis, and I had always dreamed of starting our own business. We both took the leap that same year and haven’t looked back.
Jackie: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about starting their own business?
Kendra: Don’t think so much. I know that sounds crazy, but if you think long enough about something you can always find a reason why you shouldn’t do it. The other thing I think worked for me was building up my business on the side before I went full time. It allowed me to learn a lot, meet great people, and still know I had a paycheck coming. It took a lot of energy going to school, working full time and running a “side-hustle” but I got through it and it was way worth it.
Jackie: What is your favorite campaign that you have created?
Kendra: That’s too hard to choose since there have been so many fun campaigns (and I don’t want to choose favorites). But, helping GatherDC on their rebrand was certainly at the top of my list. Oh, and some others that are a bit unique were the Pony Pop-Up on 14th Street for Constellation Theatre’s production of Equus, and working with Library of Congress on their WMATA ads for a campaign to try and get more WWII vet testimony. I have ridden the Metro most of my life so seeing an ad we conceptualized and placed was a huge thrill.
Jackie: Your husband Travis also happens to be the co-principal in your business. How do you manage to work all day together?
Kendra: When we started, we worked from the living room table together. This was a recipe for divorce! 🙂 Now that we each have our own offices, we love it. We’re both very different people so we try and use our different perspectives and skill sets to offer more to the business, our clients and our creative brainstorms. Oh, and not working at the same table. Did I mention that?
Jackie: I know you love food, so I assume you are a big foodie. Is there a restaurant on your list to go to that we should know about?
Kendra: Ha! To say I’m a foodie is a gross exaggeration. I love food but ask any of my friends, family or aforementioned husband if I have a sophisticated palette, they would say, “She’s not allowed to pick the restaurant.” But, since you asked…I would say my favorite place to go on Sunday morning would be Bethesda Bagels for a toasted sesame bagel and cup of coffee. Sophisticated? No. Delicious? Oh, yes!
Jackie: How do you connect to the DC Jewish community?
Kendra: Through my work and my family. I spent 8 years working full-time in the Jewish community through Yachad. Now since we run our own firm, we have actually ended up working with a lot of Jewish organizations again. This makes me feel like I’m home. My family also lives close by and I see them a lot. Also, Travis and I have started doing Shabbat every week – to wind down and spend some quality, non-work time together. He usually cooks (see previous response).
Jackie: What is one thing you can’t get through your day without?
Kendra: Can I say two things? COFFEE and petting my dog, Chase. One gets me moving and the other calms me down.
When the Jews Gather… you can hear laughter from very far away.
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