Knobēz of Hillsborough County
Creativity is a superpower for Morgan Uhl, a Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society member who graduated from University of South Florida’s College of Education in 2005. As a former elementary school teacher and preschool director, this fourth generation Tampanian is also no stranger to getting creative during the holiday seasons. So when she decided to decorate her own home and noticed that her cabinet knobs were missing a bit of sparkle, she went on a mission to find cabinet knob décor.
“I went to buy something to decorate my cabinet knobs and realized there wasn’t anything out there for me to buy,” Uhl said. That’s when Uhl created her own cabinet knob decorations and shared it with the public, thus creating her business, Knobēz.
Knowing her strength is in her creativitiy, and not necessarily in writing business plans, Uhl reached out to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Hillsborough County Economic Development for help with developing a business plan that would grow and strengthen her business.
“I love to think on the fly and one of the things that you can’t do any of those things with is doing a business plan,” she said. “And so, where I was lacking, reaching out to the SBDC really just filled that gap.”
After reaching out to her local Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Uhl was paired with business consultant Retta Parsons, who helped her navigate through the necessary steps needed in order to complete a successful business plan.
Since working with the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Uhl says that her business has grown in sales with the help of a great business plan, as well as marketing her decorative products through search engine optimization and social media posts.
“I just am extremely grateful for just making a phone call and being able to have my questions answered and so I’m very grateful for that,” she said. “Scott was also a very intricate part of this development when I had questions about my website and just how to get people to my website to even know that my product is out there. He helped me put those keywords in there so I could share my product with the world.” Scott [Carpenter] is a business consultant specializing in marketing with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida.
The creative business owner also mentions that her biggest success so far has been, “having the confidence of knowing where my business is going, knowing where it’s been and really wrapping my mind around my business plan to launch confidently with these new peppermints for the holiday season.”
With that confidence in mind, Uhl says orders continue to pour in from supportive clients that love her holiday Knobēz collections. “I was able to sell out my red peppermints within like five weeks of even bringing them to market and right now I’m already doubled in my sales with even the next order and so just seeing the happiness that this brings people and just the addition to their decorations that they get to decorate for the holiday season, brings me joy,” she added.
Moving forward, Uhl says she will continue using the no-cost services offered by the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County and the guidance received from the consultants. “As my business grows and as I start to develop, I will definitely be leaning into the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County for any questions that I have business related,” she said. She added the business knowledge that she receives from Florida SBDC Network consultants is a resource that she is happy to use, including the help of Retta Parsons, Scott Carpenter, and Gina Smith.
“As mentioned previously, I was a teacher in the classroom and I was not in the business side of things, so having them at my fingertips as a resource and just making those relationships work with my business has just been amazing,” Uhl said.
Uhl encourages other small business owners to seek the guidance of their local Florida SBDC. “If you are a brand-new business and you are looking for just some help, maybe somebody to walk alongside of you to answer questions that maybe you’ve never asked yourself before or you don’t know how to answer if someone asks you those questions, I would highly recommend that you reach out to the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County,” she said. “They’ve been nothing but helpful and I really enjoyed the relationships along the way, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds with the relationship that I’ve made.”