116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
KIVA IOWA PROFILE: Kehes To Your Home
A home improvement hobby expands to a full-time business for Cedar Rapids woman
By Rob Merritt, - NewBoCo
Apr. 30, 2023 5:00 am
iOWA CITY – When Cassie Kehe and her husband moved into a new home in Iowa City, she immediately had ideas for improvements, but she didn’t want to wait for a contractor to become available.
So she learned what she needed to know in order to do the work herself – and quickly discovered that her new skills could take her places.
“I had never even used a drill before that,” she said. “But after I got started, my husband's boss mentioned that he wanted to do an accent wall in his house, and my husband said 'Oh, you should hire Cassie.'
“And after that, home improvement work went from a hobby, to a side job, and then finally I quit my job as a dental hygienist last year and started doing this full time."
In 2021, Kehe founded Kehes To Your Home, offering interior home or small business renovations by providing decorative wall accents, custom walk-in closets, cabinetry and more.
Kehe is proud to tell people that her carpentry business is female-owned and operated.
“When people think of the type of work I do, they automatically think it's a male doing it,” she said. “I loved that I could do work like this without a guy there to help me. And it became so much fun that I felt like I wasn't even working."
Kehes To Your Home grew so quickly in two years that Kehe realized she needed to expand her supply of equipment.
That’s what led her to seek a loan from Kiva Iowa.
Kehe knew Kiva’s capital access manager, Kaitlin Byers -- they went to high school together -- and Kehe thought back to a conversation they’d had about business loans.
“At the time, I had all of the equipment I needed,” Kehe said. “But now that my business was expanding, I reached out to her and said, 'Hey, did you mention to me something about an interest-free loan?’ And that's how I got started."
Kiva gives entrepreneurs access to a microlending platform to raise zerointerest, zero-fee, extended-grace- period loans. The loans can be for up to $15,000, and lenders can give as little as $25 at a time.
“It’s not a GoFundMe. You’re not asking for a handout,” Kehe said. “You are paying the entire loan back. But the fact that it's interest-free is pretty amazing.”
With her Kiva loan fully funded, Kehe has invested in new painting equipment and lumber. The company aims to launch a website in the next few months.
For now, Kehes To Your Home maintains an online presence through Facebook and Instagram, which already generates more than enough work to keep Kehe busy.
“I love what I do and can truly say that I love going to work every day,” she said. “Being a woman in an industry that is mostly made up of men makes me so proud to continue to grow this business and show younger generations that you can do whatever you set your mind to.”
To learn more about Kehes For Your Home, visit the company on Facebook or on Instagram at @kehestoyourhome or email Kehe at email@example.com.
To learn more about Kiva Iowa, visit newbo.co/kiva.