Talk of the Town - Running home December 23 2004

Entrepreneur Kendal James runs the show and still has time for soap operas

Kendal James is living a life most working professionals would love. Not many can say that they've had a business meeting in their pajamas. James, however, can.

James runs T-shirt company K and J Running with his roommate and co-owner, Lance Gittens, at their home. Originally started with his younger brother, Jason, James has been in the business since 1995. While still a college student, James and his brother started off by making shirts for track and field competitions. Initially they just developed the slogans and designs and paid someone else to put the entire thing together. Eventually they decided to cut out the middle man and create the shirts themselves.

Creative Loafing: How did you decide on the name of your business?

James: My brother and I ran track — that's where the "Running" came from — and I'm Kendal, so that's the "K," and he's Jason, so that's where the "J" comes from.

What's it like working out of your home?

Oh, it's the best thing in the world. You can set your own schedule, you can work at your own pace and you can work at anytime you want to. Most of the time, my business partner and I usually start making shirts at 1 a.m. and finish up at 2, maybe 3 a.m.

Do you think that you get more things done at night than you do in the day?

Mostly during the day I meet with clients. I do advertising and often go to the mall and hand out fliers until they chase me away. I also go to events and hand out fliers and meet with people about screen-printing and then do the work at nights.

Do you get a bit lazy sometimes due to the fact that you work from home?

No, it works out. As long as I don't work between the hours of 1 to 2 p.m.

Why don't you work between the hours of 1 to 2 p.m.?

I have to watch my soap opera.

You're a soap junkie!

Yes. I watch "All My Children."

I dig the way you get the word out about your business, posting the company website, www.kandjrunning.com, and information on the side of your truck. Is it effective?

Yes. Most of my business has been by word of mouth. Of that, 20 percent has been from people I know, and 80 percent is from fliers and the side of my truck. I have people say to me, "Hey, man! We saw you driving down I-20 and I had my cousin write down your information." So most of my business is from people driving and flagging me down, slowing down and writing down my information while giving me a thumbs up and saying, "I'm going to call you later!" And they do.