Name: Kelly Fox
When did you know starting a business was right for you? Tell us about your business: After leaving my career in sales and marketing in New York City to follow my husband, I spent 3 years working in jobs that just didn't seem quite right. After we found out we were expecting our first child, I thought I had resigned myself to staying at home and raising my son, which was no doubt the right decision for us. After about 6 months and finally getting above water, I missed using my brain for business. I had always worked in and around fashion and marketing so, I began to design clothes and started an Etsy shop and fashion blog. Somewhere along the way I realized that I liked the marketing aspect as much as the styling part. I re-branded and made a new business plan to include creative marketing and consulting services including social media marketing, matching brands with prominent figures that have similar aesthetics to review their products, and finding innovative way for companies to cross promote each other and get more exposure.
What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in business?: I've been able to meet several other local business owners throughout the past year and the one thing that always amazes and encourages me is how supportive other businesses are of each other. I have paired up with several business owners to cross promote our products and services and everyone has always given 100% to each project, it's very rare to have such a great community of entrepreneurs who are so genuine and have such a great desire to lift each other up.
What is the most disheartening thing you have encountered in your career as a military spouse?: I hardly ever see it happen, but it really disappoints me when military spouses aren't supportive of each other's aspirations and businesses. It's hard enough juggling obligations through the military, taking care of your family, and promoting your business, oftentimes doing so while feeling the empty space left by a spouse deployed or off training; to not feel supported by the network of other spouses that should be rooting for your success up just shouldn't happen, there's enough room for everyone to shine and it's about time we realize that.
What advice would you give a military spouse, interested in starting their own business?: Don't compare the start of your journey to the middle of someone else's. If you are just trying to get your business of the ground, don't look at successful businesses and get discouraged. See if they will sit down with you so that you can learn from their successes and setbacks. Also, there's nothing wrong with failure as long as you keep moving forward!
What is the most challenging thing about being a military spouse and business owner? What is the most rewarding thing?: The most challenging thing about being a military spouse and business owner is having to pack up and start over every 3 or so years. The most rewarding thing is to be able to encourage other military spouses, especially ones who are new to the military. I remember being pretty lost and overwhelmed when I began this life and I really love talking other spouses through that time so they get over that initial hump and start working towards where they want to go!
How did it feel when you made your first sale?: I felt great! It was a positive affirmation that someone else liked what I was doing!
What is one obstacle you have faced as a business owner, or on a personal level, as a military spouse, that you would have never expected?: Balancing everything. My family and making sure they are taken care of comes first. I always felt like my time management skills were great, until I had my son. Sometimes I don't feel like I have enough time in the day to do everything, but coffee really helps!
What is one business goal you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?: I really would like to have a great portfolio of work and to expand my network of other creative business owners that I can call to collaborate with on different projects.
As a military spouse, or business owner, I know one thing for certain. It is . . .: you have to stay true to who you are and what you believe, because if that gets lost along the way then none of the work you put in to getting where you are will be worth it.
What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur?: I didn't realize how effectively I could take an idea and turn it into a reality.
My biggest fear is . . . : that I will lose sight of what's important in my life.
My greatest accomplishment is . . .: raising my son while growing my business.
When I grow up I want to be . . . : a successful creative director, and a good mom.
In 2050 I hope military spouses are/can/have/achieve . . .: I hope that military spouses have a great network and support system to help them find the type of career opportunities they desire and deserve wherever the military takes them.
Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs?: Military spouses have exceptional personal and networking skills. Having to start over every few years gives you a lot of experience with striking up conversations with total strangers and finding common ground. They also have thick skin and are resilient which helps them persevere in stressful business and personal situations.
What is your legacy?: My legacy
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/petiteetoileshoppe