Up to their necks in day-to-day details, entrepreneurs often lack the time or energy to fine-tune their operations or run powerful marketing campaigns.
That’s where Krystal Karter ’16 comes in.
“It’s fun to educate entrepreneurs like myself about how to do what you do more efficiently,” says Karter, founder and chief operations officer (COO) of Karter, Fairbanks and Jackson (KF&J), a Los Angeles-based marketing and operations firm. “And while people may know about marketing, they don’t know the details.”
Karter helps clients of all sorts — from a small fashion business to a housekeeping service —connect with customers via social media and email. She also shows them how to save time and money and improve their services. “For example, a customer who runs a clothing line may not know that it’s taking their customers three extra days to get their product,” she says. “We can cut that time in half by automating certain processes.”
Karter honed her skills in marketing and public relations while working at several nonprofit organizations and corporations. But she had always wanted to own a business.
That’s what brought her to Mount Saint Mary’s MBA program. “I knew that I was very skilled in PR and marketing, but I wasn’t as comfortable with other aspects of business.” She needed to fill the rest of her toolbox.
In Karter’s culminating project at the Mount, she developed a business plan for an app that suggests what clothes a traveler should pack to fit the climate in any destination. Karter never launched that app, but her work helped lay the foundation for KF&J in 2017. “It gave me the blueprint I needed to start any kind of business,” she says.
With ambition and energy to spare, Karter also grabbed a chance to run a vending machine business, which required her to learn the nuts and bolts of government contracting. “I have seven locations in state and federal buildings through LA County,” she says.
In addition, she serves as a recruiter for YearUp, a nonprofit that places young people in internships in companies such as Google, Facebook and Snapchat. And she’s finishing work on a book that she hopes to publish in 2021. “It’s an autobiography with a focus on forgiveness and prosperity,” Karter says.
“That’s the fun thing about having an MBA,” she adds. “You can do whatever you want, because you have the tools.”