Ex-doctor takes care of new people

MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF Keith Leaphart hung up in his stethoscope and decided to become an entrepreneur.
MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF Keith Leaphart hung up in his stethoscope and decided to become an entrepreneur.
Posted: March 28, 2013

 K EITH LEAPHART, 38, of Overbrook Farms, is an osteopath-turned-entrepreneur. He owns Replica, a Center City graphic-design, digital-copying, printing and branding firm, acquired in 2009.

Q: You're a trained osteopath. Why did you leave medicine?

A: I'm a physician by training and entrepreneur by birth. The clinical setting was too limiting for me. I was on the staff of Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital in Malvern for about six years. I gave up my hospital privileges there in July 2011.

Q: How did your business background evolve?

A: I also got an MBA and started operating a commercial-cleaning franchise, and then got into the event-planning business. It was fun; I threw great parties. So it put me into the creative space.

Q: So what led you to Replica?

A: Replica had been around for 30 years. It had a great product but wasn't well-marketed. The previous owner invested in new technology and equipment, so I didn't have to worry about that.

Q: How's the biz-model work?

A: It's about building the brand. We were the best-kept secret to clients.

Q: What's Replica do?

A: We do print, high-quality color production and wall graphics, as well as custom wallpaper.

Q: Is that what sets Replica apart from competitors?

A: That and our people. We have a great team who probably cares more about your business with us than you do.

Q: How many employees?

A: We have 11, nine full time and two part time.

Q: Who are some of your clients?

A: The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Daroff Design, the Short Partnership. We also do work for nonprofits.

Q: What's the biggest challenge growing the business?

A: We've increased our revenue 60 percent in the last three years. This is a $1.7 million business. Once customers see our quality, the product sells itself. We're volume-driven rather than sitting here gouging each individual client. I'd rather be busy, take less margin and have more clients.

Q: What's next?

A: The goal is to build a franchise model in other cities. As you saw upstairs, you would expect to walk into a print shop but instead you see flat-screen TVs, 8-by-10 movie screens, more of a career space where designers can come in and co-work. (On the street level, the office is set up almost like a cafe with high tables. The print shop is downstairs.)

We're looking to open up a creative cafe sometime soon, perhaps in University City.

Q: Who are the investors?

A: The initial investment is through an angel who was my mentor. We believe we can open other locations here off the cash flow from Replica. We're also launching a brand that's going to focus on custom wallpapering.

Q: When you talk about the brand, what exactly is the brand?

A: Replica Creative is a brand people can come to for ideas, a social brand that is on Twitter, and we host events in our space upstairs called Replica After Dark.

" @MHinkelman

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