Kylee and Chad Champlin, co-founders and CEOs of clothing shop Roolee, were announced as Utah regional winners of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the Fashion Retail category on Monday. The Roolee CEOs were selected as winners at a gala event at the Grand America in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
On a scale of 1-10, Kylee said her nervousness at the gala was at a 12.
“It was like the Grammys,” Kylee said.
“You just don’t know what to expect,” Chad said. “We did all this work, and so you hope you win, but you really don’t know because these companies are incredible.”
Roolee was one of 24 businesses to be selected as regional finalists, and one of eight businesses to win a Utah regional Entrepreneur Of The Year award. As regional winners, the Roolee CEOs now qualify for a chance to win a national entrepreneur award to be announced at the Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, California, on Nov. 16, 2019.
“It’s a pretty prestigious award,” Chad said.
For the Champlins, this award signifies how far they’ve come as a business — it’s affirmation of hard work paying off. From small-town brick-and-mortar boutique to online purveyors of “fast fashion,” Roolee is continually working toward growth and cultivating a family atmosphere.
“It kind of gives you fire to keep going,” Kylee said. “It gives you confidence that we’re on the right track.”
Roolee started in October 2013, when the Champlins were presented with the opportunity to buy the Logan branch of North Ogden’s Bella Me Boutique. After discussing myriad business ideas, the couple, finishing their last semester of college, took a leap of faith and purchased the store.
After seeing enthusiastic engagement over social media whenever they would post photos of products, the Champlins began seeing the promise of e-commerce.
“We would post a photo on social media and instantly the phone would start ringing like crazy,” Kylee said.
In April 2015, the Champlins launched their website and changed their name officially to Roolee — a combination of Kylee’s childhood nickname, Roo, and the last syllable of her first name.
“It was very hard to come up with a name,” Kylee said. “It was harder than naming a child.”
According to Chad, the business now completes 90 percent of its sales online. They unveil between 40 and 50 new items every week — hence the term “fast fashion” — and they employ around 110 employees who help facilitate their goals.
“We couldn’t do any of this without our team,” Kylee said. “I think about our team and I just cry, because I love them and I’m so grateful for all that they do.”
By the end of summer, Roolee plans to open a second brick-and-mortar store in Salt Lake City at City Creek Center mall. The Champlins are also building a new Roolee headquarters in Smithfield, which they expect to be completed by fall of 2020. They are laying down the groundwork they believe will lead to the next level of growth.
“Growth is the idea,” Chad said, “but we just need to make sure we can handle it.”