Iconic Ford truck carries smart Kim to business success

  • TV star goes vintage with ‘company car’
  • Texas Ranger just the job for Austin’s Kim
  • Celebrating 40 years as Ford sales leader
KIM AND PEARL: Partners in the Texas gal's design business Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA
KIM AND PEARL: Partners in the Texas gal’s design business Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA

AUSTIN, Texas – An iconic blue-and-white 1977 Ford F-150 Ranger belonging to former ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ production designer Kim Lewis is a familiar sight in Austin, Texas, home to her new studio.

The Texas native is from a long-time Ford-truck family who learned to drive in her grandfather’s 1978 Ford F-150 Ranger (still in the family garage) so, when she went to build her design business and was looking for a rugged brand identity, she sought out a vintage Ford truck.

She found one, gave it a makeover. She calls it “Pearl”.

ENTREPRENEUR IN GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT

The story figures in Ford’s ’40 Years Tough’ celebration to marking the F-Series as America’s best-selling truck for 40 consecutive years and the best-selling vehicle for 35.

Lewis, no stranger to the global spotlight because of ‘Extreme Makeover’ has helped to design and renovate more than 120 homes across America.

KIM AND PEARL: Partners in the Texas gal's design business Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA
KIM LEWIS: Her vintage Ford F-150 is her working office for the Texas gal’s design business Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA

“No pressure there,” she laughed while sitting on the back of her treasured workhorse (that’s it in the images) vintage 1977 blue-and-white Ford F-150 bought after moving back to Texas’ capital city, Austin on the banks of the Colorado River, from Los Angeles in California to launch Kim Lewis Designs.

FIRST WORK OPPORTUNITY

“People all over Texas know Pearl,” Lewis said. “She’s exactly what I needed to start my business and has become part of my brand. My Ford truck was built for life and built for my work.”

In 2006, working as a marketing manager for a furniture company, she seized on an opportunity to design for ‘Extreme Makeover’. Her first project, in Alaska, was a success. Within two years she’d taken over the show’s entire design team.

“I was constantly running to and from the airport to work on projects all around the country,” Lewis explained. “We worked with local communities to help raise people up and inspire them.”

SHE’S ALSO HELPING THE POOR

Today she designs restaurants and tiny homes all around the world – using Pearl whenever possible to reach job sites or to deliver furniture and accessories.

She’s also launched an accessory line to provide women in places such as Ethiopia, Ghana and Honduras with sustainable economic opportunities. She frequently travels to developing countries to train and assist women, finding inspiration for design along the way.

Go to Ford’s ’40 Years Tough‘ series for more about Kim Lewis and Pearl or to share your F-Series story.

KIM AND PEARL: Partners in the Texas gal's design business Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA
KIM AND PEARL: Partners in the Texas gal’s design business.  Image: Ford America / NewspressUSA
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