In 2004, KEP Designs hung a crisp wooden sign outside of their adorable boutique on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for the very first time. When the designer of KEP’s classic yet modern pieces, Kelley, made her journey from Chicago to New York in 2001, she did not originally set out to become a style maven. Her unexpected career started one wedding season as she searched far and wide to find the perfect necklace to compliment the ideal black dress that she intended to wear to a friend’s black tie wedding. As the event drew near Kelley could not find the simple, classic design she envisioned in her head as the consummate compliment to her new favorite dress. Instead of compromising, the stylish and resourceful young lady created her own necklace. And so the first piece of her collection was born – a triple strand, pink opal necklace. As guests complimented her necklace, they were thrilled to find that Kelley had designed the piece herself. The seeds for KEP Designs had been planted.
She spoke to her friends and found that she had not been alone in her quest for fun, but elegant jewels. Kelley began to design simple, fresh jewelry – the inaugural “Classic Collection” - using semi precious stones allowing her young shoppers to be able to afford the stylish pieces and start building a collection. A buzz began to build in the summer of 2002 as she and her friends wore the glamorous baubles around Nantucket and other summer towns. Boutiques began placing orders. Brides began commissioning necklaces. Kelley began realizing her dream of creating an elegant line of accessories for young ladies and stylish women -as one editor put it, Kelley’s designs are a “modern take on the classic Jackie-O look.”
The design of her first custom clasp - the now signature “Tulip” – was received enthusiastically. The Tulips provide an introduction for even more color and personality into the pieces and encourage layering of necklaces as the clasps play off each other so beautifully and effortlessly. The success of these fun and feminine pieces inspired her to begin introducing new custom designed clasps using precious metals and stones.
In the fall of 2014, after 10 years in her New York Boutique, Kelley and her growing, young family moved from Manhattan to the mountain town of Stowe, Vermont, where KEP continues to design modern classics.
Whether it’s for a cocktail party on the beaches of Nantucket or the crisp button down you have just purchased, KEP Designs offers ladies an instant transformation with elegance, taste and personal style.