Kryshon Bratton: When Dreams of Growth Require a Business Shift

Kryshon Bratton of Houston runs a solid pool-building company, but she sees her real opportunity for profit and scale in another sort of construction business.

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Kryshon Bratton – Owner – Bratton Pools

Kryshon Bratton (KB): We didn’t start out with the idea that we were going to build pools. We uh had a friend who said, “I wanna have a pool but I don’t want anybody else building it for me. Will you do it?” And we did and from there we uh did their pool in 2009, and then the next year we did two more, and the next year we did four more, and the next year we did these.

CARD: Kryshon Bratton – Owner – Bratton Pools
Houston, TX USA

KB: Bratton Pools uh is a pool builder, renovator, re-plasterer. Uh we, we upgrade pools. We uh take pools out. We also are building outdoor kitchens and pavilions.

CARD: Kryshon was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of 3 girls.

CARD: When she was 7, her parents divorced.

KB: My mom all of a sudden became a single mother with three children, all under the age of ten. She’s a, a really inspiration because she, at one point, was working three jobs to support my sisters and I. We lived in-, with friends, with family, sometimes we spent time in the car, right in someone’s driveway. Swimming was my passion. It was an escape.

CARD : Kryshon worked and saved for college from an early age.

CARD: In 1997 she started studying political science at the University of Houston.

CARD: In 2000 she married Michael Bratton.

KB: I didn’t graduate. I’m, I’m 10 hours shy of graduating. I got pregnant with Piper and it was a difficult, complicated pregnancy and I just never went back and finished the hours.

CARD: Kryshon started working with Michael.

CARD: He owned a lifeguarding company, staffing and maintaining pools all over Houston.

KB: I was in charge of all the teenagers, all 500-plus teenagers and, I loved what we were doing together at that point but it was not family focused. There was no time for family.

CARD: In 2006 Kryshon became pregnant again.

KB: Mother’s Day, I’m very pregnant with Whitney, I’m at a pool, I’m dealing with other people, and it kind of hit me that I wasn’t with my own child. It really got me thinking, “Is this what you want to do? How can we have a business and be successful but still have the family as the focus?”

CARD: Kryshon decided she and Michael should pivot to building and maintaining pools.

KB: Thankfully he bought in and he said ok. There’s a path for success.

CARD: At the end of 2006 Kryshon registered Bratton Pools, and she is the sole owner.

KB: It’s a better lifestyle choice. And we get better financial benefit from it.

CARD: Bratton Pools has annual revenues of about $2 million.

CARD: But it has turned out to be largely a seasonal business.

KB: We started to working with permeable on the side yards or the offshoots of the pool itself. And that kind of grew away from swimming pools and into driveways and parking lots.

SOT: It’s a little windy so far.
SOT KB: Right, we’re just going to have to make it work
Once we get the fabric down then we’ll, uh, start laying the grid.
Right.
So-

KB: We all at one point have dealt with flooding in Houston and it’s never a question of “if.” It’s always a question of “when.” Permeable uh allows for proper drainage. So whenever you have concrete water goes everywhere. But with permeable it’s all going back into the ground. So it’s cleaner. It’s environmental friendly.

CARD: At the end of 2015 Kryshon started Piper Whitney to build walkways, parking lots and drivable lawns.

KB: I just love the fact that it’s green. I love the fact that it’s responsible, and this is my city. This is my town. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’m creating something and it may be a parking lot, and it may just be a sidewalk, but I created something that’s gonna last and it’s going to have value.

SOT KB: Actually I’m in the middle of something but I’d like to touch base with you, what’s a good time?

KB: My goal personally is to get to a point where I can tell my mom, “We’ll take care of you. don’t worry about it.” But to get there it’s gonna cost a lot of money and it’s gonna take a lot of hard work. And this is how we’re gonna get it done.

Posted: July 20, 2016

Nusha Balyan at The Story ExchangeKryshon Bratton: When Dreams of Growth Require a Business Shift