Matthew Keller

Design entrepreneur

JCCC alumnus Matthew Keller started his own interior design business, Matthew Keller Design, in January 2010, even before he graduated from JCCC’s interior design program in May 2010. 

He realized that younger clientele would search the Internet looking for interior designers, but some established design firms in the Kansas City area didn’t even have a web site at that time. 

His first focus was to build a web site aiming for the young-and-hip crowd. The result was contracts for designing the interiors of three lofts, as he expected, but he also fielded calls to design the interiors of office spaces, new homes and remodeling projects. 

“I’ve put 25,000 miles on my truck so far this year,” he said. “You just drive…You’re constantly on the go. You’re answering the phone from 7:30 a.m. to sometimes 10 p.m. It’s juggling.”

The real surprise for him? “That I was really getting paid to do this,” he said. 

“I still feel guilty every time I give [a client] a bill,” he said. But he’s getting used to it, he said. 

Thanks to his confidence and some advice from his teacher (Diana Allison, former associate professor, interior design), he increased his prices closer to market levels. “When I started out, I knew I was way too low,” he said. Now he aims for consistency. 

If he’d known then what he knew now, he would have taken more business and entrepreneurship classes at JCCC. “The business side is a lot more than I expected it to be,” he said. 

To see his work, stop by the lobby of the Western Auto loft building. He designed the interior.