As Porter Teleo, Kansas City’s hometown, high-end line of fabric and wallpaper, moves to a new location in the Crossroads, we catch up on what prompted the move and what else is new with founders Kelly Porter and Bridgett Cochran.
You’ve been in a relatively small space in Merriam for years and I had the feeling you liked the anonymity. What prompted the move?
Bridgett: We were packed so tightly in our Merriam studio space that by the time we moved it was absolutely necessary to find a new home. Kelly and I looked for a solid two years. When we walked into our new space, we both knew immediately that it was perfect for what we needed. And while there were pros to being tucked away in an obscure location, there are major pros to being in the middle of some of the most exciting things going on in this city. For example, swapping Chili’s for Parlor as our lunch spot. No brainer.
How do you divvy up the business? And have your roles and responsibilities changed since you launched?
Kelly: We really overlap on everything. We are both creatives in the business, doing design work and artwork, and we both also drive the sales, marketing, and other entrepreneurial direction we need to always be focusing on. The innovation in building a business and keeping it successfully operating requires just as much creativity as the design work does. It’s funny, as people do not always realize that.
Crossroads is a both lively and visible. Do you have plans for a showroom that is open to the public? Or for retail?
Bridgett: We do not have any plans to have a Kansas City-based showroom. We have beautiful showrooms all over the country and we intend to leave displaying the entire line to them. But we see opportunities for pop-up shops where fans of the line can dig into the hundreds of archives we have and pick their favorite or look through our seconds and get an amazing deal on some of our hand-painted papers. We are excited about our recently launched line of pillows and table linens, framed artwork, and giftware for the home. Those are always available to retail customers via our online store.
Your work is art. Will you participate in First Fridays?
Kelly: Yes, we’ll participate in First Fridays in some capacity. We have a very unique e-commerce boutique called porterteleo-studio.com, where we sell archives of our pattern development and the paintings that are results of the processes we use in strike-offs and color testing. We are planning on showing and selling these at First Friday events in the future. We have an additional 3,000-square-foot open studio space as well that can be rented for First Fridays events, photo shoots, or gallery openings.