We recently connected with Jud Kite and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Jud, thanks for joining us today. To kick things off, we’d love to hear about things you or your brand do that diverge from the industry standard
Being a one-man show in a field that was primarily agencies with many employees at their disposal, I have to make sure that the work I produce is top-notch, agency quality. The bonus to that is the client is only going to pay a portion of what they would to a agency. I don’t have near the amount of overhead, and I can also turn the jobs around quicker. Being so close to the client, I also want to make sure the job is done right the first time, or that cost of a redo is coming out of my pocket. Let’s just get it right the first time.
My favorite part is the fact that most of my clients end up being more than just design jobs. We become closer than that, in knowing about each others’ lives and what’s been going on. I actually care about my clients, and want to know they are in good shape as we continue on this journey.
Jud, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Starting from a farm in midwestern Missouri, knew I wanted to be a artist of some kind from a young age, always drawing on placemats or napkins in restaurants and such. Got a full ride scholarship to Colorado Institute of Art, graduated second in my class, came back to Kansas City and after a hand full of jobs, decided to go full time on my own. I really like old, worn out vintage things. Old metal signs, old gas cans, gas pumps, cars, old clothes, nose cone art and pinups. Vintage stuff. Rust and imperfections make for a perfect piece in my opinion. Even outside of the rockabilly and mid-century allure, I have always liked that stuff. I needed a niche in design and that was it. I learned how to make my designs go vintage, refine it over the years, and use the space given to my advantage to make the most impactful image for 2.3 seconds of attention time. If I get people to look at it longer, I win. It’s my hope that Killer Kite Productions keeps on churning for years to come, and I conquer the midwest in marketing… one subpar design at a time.
Do you have any stories of times when you almost missed payroll or any other near death experiences for your business?
A near death moment for Killer Kite… came unexpectedly in 2002 — after the attacks in 2001. The world went into a frenzy of unknown outcomes, and businesses were shutting their doors, or their wallets. Marketing dollars were becoming non-existent. I lasted until about November of 2002, going from a fairly great income to wondering if I could afford Ramen. So, following my dad’s work ethic of keeping the lights on no matter, I went and busted shop lifters at a retail chain in Kansas City. Worst. Job. Ever. I was able to keep about 3-5 of my clients from the slew I had, and when the work came in I did it. Same vigor and customer service. That eventually paid off to the point I could rebuild over time, using word of mouth marketing and networking to get more, new clients — while I was also able to find another job as a art director for a National publication.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
There are a few things… • Have a niche in your designs. There are a TON of great designers out there, find a look or style unique to you.
• Be honest to yourself and to your clients.
• Follow through.
• Don’t say no to a job. As I said, there are a TON of designers, and they are all hungry. When you say no, that is so much louder than yes.
• Be friendly, personable, human.
- Instagram: @killerkite1
- Facebook: facebook.com/killerkiteproductions
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/killerkite1/
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/killer-kite-productions-kansas-city