The Kudzu Team

The Kudzu Team-We Grow Brands.


The Kudzu Brand Artists

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MURPHY FUNKHOUSER CAPPS Whether putting my client’s brands in the spotlight or entertaining audiences myself, I believe that “everyone has a story”. I serve the world in several ways including as CEO, co-founder and Creative Director at Kudzu Brands. I am also a speaker and educator, performer, and playwright (just ask about the baggage). A firm believer that success is not always a “straight line”, I am known for my empathy for the entrepreneurial (and human) journey and my passion for helping businesses grow. About my work, clients have said, “Murphy is gifted in sensing and expressing a business’s personality and vision. She also has a particular talent for seeing creative ways of sharing that personality and vision with the world.” I serve on the advisory board for The UNCA School of Business. I am a recent graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. I am also the co-founder and facilitator of the Bonfire Storytelling for Business Conference. Learn more at .

HEATHER JOHNSON Some call me the Space Cowboy, some call me the gangster of….ok, so, you can call me the powerhouse COO, brand strategist and managing partner at Kudzu Brands. A day in my life includes shaping the marketing strategy for a global technology company, herding ten creative cats, writing all the procedures that support Kudzu Brands’ proven process, keeping the clients happy and the brands growing like, well know. And, yes. I do all this fueled only by coffee and one hard boiled egg. Did I mention, I can also drive a tractor and lasso a cow? Yeah, I’m pretty much a badass….even if I do squeal like a kid when I see a baby alpaca. Local to the Western North Carolina area, I graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor in Business Administration. For over two decades, my professional career has included everything from business management to human resources, graphic design to corporate strategic marketing plans. Experienced in B2B and B2C marketing, my experience is in strategic business management and developing brand management plans. My focus is to assist with day-to-day operations and project management for the Kudzu team as well as offer guidance and strategic branding insight on specific projects.

ASHLEIGH ROGERS is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. She is a creative with an eye for good typography, layout and strong design elements. Ashleigh focuses on executing details that might otherwise go unnoticed. She enjoys design work because of the creative process and the ability to bring clients’ ideas to life. When she’s not beautifying brands, Ashleigh enjoys pampering her pit bull, leisurely summer nights with her husband in their camper by the lake, and living a healthy lifestyle!

DENISE SZAKALY was born a creative. She eats, sleeps and “bleeds” designs, ranging from publication design to logos and everything in between. If you want a balanced, crisp clean design with attention to detail—she’s your girl to create your mark in this world! She is CMYK—the Creative Mastermind You Know and need.

HANNAH TEO is an organizer. Whether she is directing a multi-location photo or video shoot, managing all aspects of your brand, or keeping the office plants alive, Hannah brings organization and logic to every project she shepherds. Branding is difficult, we don’t deny that, but let us handle the ‘dirt’y work to get to your business growing!

LEAH MIDDLETON – “You know that one Instagram feed that everybody wants to be like? Yeah, that’s mine. I live and breathe creating a cohesive aesthetic and powerful storytelling. At Kudzu Brands, I’m pretty much your best friend. How bout that? I support your brand experience to be top-notch and smooth sailing. And if you need a hand to hold, I got you.”

KENDRA DIAZ – “Make them stop, think, and remember. Design is about changing perceptions and making connections.” As a graphic designer I will support your brand with strategic, meaningful, engaging, and of course, creative design. My process starts with a big cup of coffee, and probably some chocolate because SOME people won’t stop bringing it in to the office (you know who you are.) Then I engage a pen and paper, I take lots of notes, doodle some concepts, pour another cup of coffee and move the ideas into the digital world. This is where the magic happens, the realm where anything is possible. I also love to make people laugh. All jokes are good jokes, even if it’s in Comic Sans. You can’t stop me from having a Helvetica good time.”