Pink Pump is a well known clothing and accessory store located in the Michigan area. After the original locations closed a few years ago, Kelly Kirkwood, along with her husband, Vincent, decided to take over and revitalize the brand.
We caught up with Kelly and this is what she had to say:
SB: Please tell us a little about yourself.
KW: My background is in education and service. I went from leading Summer Peace Camps at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, to leading an Elementary School.
My career choices have instilled within me, an eagerness to create and control my own career path. I enjoy dressing up and hitting the town with my girlfriends (sisterhood time is important to me). I have been married for six amazing years and enjoy dating my husband. We have a beautiful and joyful daughter.
SB: You purchased the intellectual property rights for the PINK PUMP brand from the original founder after its store locations closed . What inspired the decision to keep this brand alive as opposed to creating a new one?
KW: I have always yearned to be an entrepreneur and to create a brand that makes a difference. I had countless meetings with my husband, family, mentors and close friends about my desire to open my own business. These conversations turned into an opportunity to purchase the intellectual property rights for PINK PUMP.
I was inspired by the previous owners success story and by the positive impact she had in the local community. Timing was everything! I believed in the brand and the brand aligned with who I am as a person.
SB: In what ways do you feel being a former high school principal prepared you for your role as an entrepreneur?
KW: I started as a high school English Language Arts teacher and transitioned into an elementary school Principalship. As a Principal, you are a leader at ALL times to students, teachers, families and community members.
You have to be flexible, bold, resilient, determined, confident, knowledgeable, passionate, optimistic and also have the attitude of a go-getter. These are the exact same qualities an entrepreneur must have.
As a Principal, you have to provide excellent customer service. Your families and students are your customers. They must be treated with the highest respect, and valued. Our customers are treated in the same light of respect and value.
KW: “I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together”-Neyo
The most important thing to be considered when going into business with your spouse is to understand that you are both individuals. The stronger you both are as individuals, the better your chances are of building the foundation of a phenomenal partnership.
SB; How do you plan to keep and grow the brand’s customer base?
KW: We plan to keep our brand’s previous customers by providing them with a shopping experience similar to the one that they have always loved. However, the new Pink Pump will rise to the next level and expand into a lifestyle brand.
Pink Pump will become a space where generations of women can find something they love and feel confident in. As mentioned before, customers will utilize the space for their most intimate and special occasions.
SB:What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
KW: It’s time to go for it. Start NOW! Change your thoughts from “I wish”, “I hope”, “one day”, “maybe”, “not right now”, to simply “I WILL”. Change your habits, wake up earlier, read more often and take steps to develop a plan.
Keep a journal – write down all of your ideas and plans. Be reflective on the plans and perfect them. Get a mentor in your desired field and pick their brain and emulate their work habits.
UPDATE: Pink Pump has now expanded and has added a full-service mobile boutique. The new store on wheels brings the shopping experience to their customers.
Visit their website here.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson aka @thebusyafrican