A Yorkshire based entrepreneur, who started her recruitment agency in her mum’s front bedroom with just a laptop, a mobile phone and small amount of money, is now celebrating five successful years in business this week.
KD Recruitment’s founder and Managing Director, Kelly Dunn, had no other income when she decided to set up her own recruitment business. Kelly discovered her local job centre had an initiative to support those who wanted to set up their own business and they supported her journey for the first six months.
Today, the Yorkshire-based recruitment business is a market leader across the whole region. KD Recruitment works with some of the area’s best employers to find them the best talent within their office-based jobs, from administrators to accountants, marketing and sales to Human Resources and Information Technology.
Kelly said: “I had left my job and was suddenly sat there wondering what I was going to do next. My son was just about to start secondary school and my daughter was still a toddler. I knew that I wanted to be there for the kids more after commuting over an hour each way for work for the last 10 years.
“I left home at 6.30am every day and didn’t get home until 7.30pm, I missed sports days and harvest festivals and I didn’t want to miss any more. My husband was a chef at the time, and he worked long shifts as well.
“I made the huge decision that if I wanted to be there for my family, something needed to change and I needed to get out of the corporate world and start my own business.
“I asked everyone in my family if they could lend me a bit of money and then set to work researching what I should do to start my own recruitment firm. KD Recruitment was born and I knew I had to make it work for me and for my family.”
This took place in September 2017 and the business has grown steadily ever since. KD Recruitment has survived the pandemic and expanded their team, as well as diversifying their business during lockdown to adapt to a changing market.
The KD Recruitment team has worked with clients of all sizes and sectors that include The Beverley Building Society, Ellis Patents, Age UK, Anglo American and many more across the region, successfully placing hundreds of candidates in specialist roles across North and East Yorkshire.
Kelly has also been thrown a couple of curveballs along the way, which she has had to dig deep and fight even more to make the business a success.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Kelly furloughed her team and went back to running everything herself from home.
Kelly said: “It was de je vu for me as this is how I started to business three years earlier and I didn’t know if the business would survive. But I worked hard and listened to what my clients needed and adapted our business model to support them as the year went on.
“I invested in updating the website, changing the services we offer, as well as bringing temporary recruitment into the business. When everyone else around me was looking to make cost savings, I was using the time to invest into my business.”
Kelly has also suffered a number of personal losses during the last few years from her brother passing away in the summer of 2020 to her mum being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in the summer of 2021 before losing her battle with the disease in Summer 2021.
Kelly said: “I have dealt with so much over the last few years but my team at work and my family have always been my biggest supporters. I owe so much to my friends and family and without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. My mum was instrumental in me setting KD Recruitment up, so I want to make sure I continue to grow the business for her.”
Kelly has worked closely with a number of school and college students across the region as she wants to support and inspire our next generation of workers as well as showing them examples of what the world of work is like. Because of this support, she became a board member of North Yorkshire Business Enterprise Partnership earlier this year as well as a trustee of Norton College in January 2021.
Kelly also works closely with the Federation of Small Businesses, supporting local organisations with support and guidance that is out there, being a voice to listen to and share her expansive market knowledge as a thought leader in her field.
Kelly works closely with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation supporting them with their monthly jobs report. She works alongside their teams to look at what is happening with businesses and the world of recruitment across Yorkshire, Kelly also looks at ways that they can work with the Government on improving the local economy.
With all of this success, Kelly has remained focused on her family. Kelly said: “I knew that starting this business would be a full-time job, but I am flexible so that I can attend every appointment for my family, I cared for my mum when she was ill and I still made sure that my clients we looked after.
“However, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without my amazing team at KD Recruitment. I always wanted to be a more flexible employer and be one that others wanted to join and go on this crazy journey with me. I support my staff and do what I can to look after them and their wellbeing.
“I am so proud of what we have achieved, the culture of KD Recruitment and the reputation we have across the region. We all love our jobs and that just doesn’t seem like work when you come to work happy. We change people’s lives on a daily basis. What better job is there?”