A family-owned side hustle is getting a major boost thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs second rush to a Super Bowl victory — and it couldn’t have come at a better time, explained Kendra’h Simmons.
“Now everyone is in a tizzy,” said Simmons, who co-founded KreativeMindsKC in 2019 alongside her husband, Reggie, describing ways excitement for the championship game has driven the apparel company’s sales toward the end zone in ways she’s never experienced.
Pieces from KreativeMinds’ “The Kingdom” collection were recently featured on the NFL Network during an episode of “Good Morning Football.”
“That experience was insane. … Not even five minutes after [sportscaster] Peter Schrager wore our, ‘Pick Your Poison,’ hoodie during one of his segments on air, orders started flying in,” Simmons recalled, noting such traction has continued at a steady pace for the online retailer ever since.
“It was overwhelming — but very awesome!”
Click here to shop The Kingdom collection ahead of the Feb. 7 faceoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A business 20 years in the making, the husband-wife duo is used to having more than a few weeks to think about its unique, cartoon-inspired designs — some of which developed on the back of napkins over 10 or 15 years, Simmons explained.
“Being first on the market is always a plus,” she said, further highlighting the importance of quick but creative thinking in the apparel space when a major event like the Super Bowl materializes at a moment’s notice.
“I would also say that — more importantly — it’s about being the most unique. Not everything we do will appeal to the masses, but I feel we have definitely found our niche in this competitive market and it’s not because we were playing it safe.”
Click here to see how other Kansas City brands are tapping into demand for Chiefs-inspired swag.
Current KreativeMindsKC designs range from a Pokemon-inspired Travis Kelce hoodie to a medieval sword-designed Chiefs Kingdom tee, all brought to life by the creativity of Reggie Simmons.
“Over the years I have found random Post-It notes and torn out pieces of paper with ideas and images all over them,” she recalled of the findings, which prompted her to buy her husband a sketchbook for Father’s Day — giving him a place to collect his thoughts and inspirations originating from television to books and dreams.
“Every now and then myself or the kids like to run design ideas by him. It truly is a family business. … We cater to our strengths. Reggie is the creative one and I handle all of the business side of things.”
The Simmons’ family story — including the parts unseen that include Simmons working to finish her master’s degree and running a business as a work-from-home mom to three kids — is stitched throughout much of the company’s non-Chiefs-inspired designs as well, she said.
A Wyandotte County collection represents her upbringing, while a sister line of apparel captures Reggie’s KCMO roots. A faith collection reflects the couple’s spiritual side and kids and home collections showcase their commitment to family.
Click here to connect with KreativeMindsKC on social media.
“Getting into the T-shirt business is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of competition from other small businesses — and a few larger ones — that could easily crush us like a bug,” Simmons said of Kansas City’s abundant and thriving apparel scene — in which the KreativeMindsKC team tries to stand out through customer service.
“Our business is large enough to rationalize keeping it going, but still small enough to where we can reach out to each one of our customers to handle any problems that may occur or to simply tell them thank you for their support of our small business,” she explained.
“We have a long way to go before we are known like Charlie Hustle or MADE MOBB, but we feel we have the goods to do so.”
Click here to see how back-to-back playoff success is impacting established KC apparel brands.
Getting to such a point wasn’t easy, Simmons admitted, but helping her husband realize a long-held dream — that’s now become her own — has been worth it.
“We have done and experienced many things in those 20-years, but he never forgot or gave up on his dream — and I simply wanted to see him happy and did everything to support his vision,” Simmons recalled, specifically noting times along the way where tight finances nearly jeopardized their aspirations.
“Through it all, we never gave up — and if nothing else happens with it from here on out, we are extremely proud of what we have created.”
The company hopes to leverage its new-found momentum to host pop-up shops and expand the Kingdom collection to include other local and collegiate teams, as it begins to look at growth opportunities in its second year of business, Simmons said.
“Most of all we are looking to become a household name.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.