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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kelly Walters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Walters.

Kelly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Well, when I was at least 15 years old, I knew that styling and fashion is what I wanted to do. I knew I never wanted to design, even though sometimes I wish I did since I’m always searching for the right piece, but I knew I wanted to take random pieces and create a look. As I spent my time in retail and eventually having a client book, I knew that ultimately it wasn’t about just creating a “look” or helping someone with their style… it was all about helping women LOVE themselves and how they looked. It became about showing someone they could wear a certain style or pattern that maybe someone once told them no or they just didn’t think it was for them.

Fast forward several years, got married left retail and went into corporate America. Several years later had a baby and joined the Social Selling world. From there, again it was about helping someone and I still had it in my heart to open a boutique. You know that dream that you just never let go of? Well, this was that. As much as I tried to focus my attention on something similar or even my full-time, my heart still ached for “mine”. I just wanted my safe space. With e-commerce being so prevalent in our world, sites like Shopify, WordPress, Square Space and several others made it so, so easy to just head to the website and sign up.

Next thing I know, I was developing a plan, designing my logo and designing my website. Shortly after, Cloth + Label KC launched in February of 2019, a couple of months before I was due with our second child.

The website is constantly morphing and as we entered COVID, there was a shift in how I was reaching our group, customers and overall growing the shop. Since then, we are now in two collective boutiques where CLKC is one of several boutiques inside each store. It’s been the best stepping stone to actually gaining that future brick and mortar. For 2022, we’re opening our own Collaborative space with two other boutique owners and looking forward to bringing style and home goods to a wide variety of ages.

How did we get to where we are today? Lots of coffee, long hot baths and what seems like little sleep… oh and cake. I love cake! I’m always looking to improve and grow and that means I’m constantly learning about running a business and our customers. They keep this thing alive and I love learning from them.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
If I told you it’s been nothing but gummy bears and bubbles, I’d be lying. Anyone would be lying. Owning your own business is not easy. Working full-time, having a family and running an e-commerce website that also ties in social media is definitely not easy BUT, it’s so worth it.

Everyone goes through their own struggles. What I consider a struggle may be different from someone else. For me, it’s time and most importantly managing my time correctly. I’ve had to do a lot of self-awareness and understand where my time was going and whether or not it was productive or just busywork.

COVID – that was and still is a struggle. We had an entire year where I worked to navigate what was most important at that time and it was my family. We’re still here! We survived but I know there are times where I wish I could go back and adjust what I did but at the end of the day, it was a learning lesson for me. I learned sooo much and like I said, I like to learn about my customers and it taught me to really pay attention to them.

Also, growing up where Social Media was first introduced in College and then all these other platforms have developed, I’ve had to learn about all the good stuff on there. Learn is the keyword as I’m definitely still learning.

Last but not least is space. I started with one rack and that one rack wasn’t even full. I quickly went to 1.5 racks to give myself some more inventory but everything is housed and shipped from my house. Believe it or not, I have an entire shop in my basement. That’s definitely be a struggle but a huge advantage for my neighbors. “Can I come shop” is one of the best texts to receive.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As stated earlier, my first working experience was in retail. First job was with American Eagle at the age of 16 and my manager’s name was Ginger. My goodness she was amazing. She taught me so much. She also brought out my love for visual merchandising. I went on to work for several other retail brands through my years.

After college, I stayed in retail because, well… economy crashed and it was rough finding a job. I wanted to do visuals but getting in on the corporate side of retail was extremely difficult. Retail wasn’t the life I wanted to live (but I think it was ultimately having someone tell me what to do, ha). I left and eventually got a job with a company now called Champion Teamwear where I was an outside rep for the Spirit Industry. I have a Cheerleading background and the job was a perfect fit!

I’ve been fortunate enough to be recruited from just about every job I’ve had and each job gave me the ability to learn another skill set with each role. What’s incredible is that those roles eventually all lead up to my current full time where I work for a company called Stahls’. I help educate and train people on heat transfer products to decorate garments and other soft goods. So here’s the girl that wanted to be in fashion and has somehow come full circle helping others grow their business through the heat printing side of the world. So, that graphic tee you’re wearing? I can tell you how it was made. Last but not least, my current role with them has pushed me to focus on social media and what’s trending, along with having to go live and record for YouTube. Props to all the influencers out there recording daily. That is no joke! There is so much that goes into filming and editing. Now that reels and TikTok are so popular, it was an easy addition to the boutique as it’s part of my role at work.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
My drive. If something needs to get done, people can always depend on me at work. I just had to start depending on myself to accomplish the small tasks I needed to accomplish for my boutique. I learn whatever needed so I can be better at whatever task is given to me. I’m not better anyone, but I’m better than the person I was before. While I think about failure, my goal is to of course not fail. If there’s a hiccup, you pivot and adjust.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Holiday picture (dresses) – Jenna Nuss Photography

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