Have you ever looked at your cell phone, iPad, or laptop and thought, “Yikes this is dirty!” Well-Kept founder and Huntsville, Alabama resident Neeley Kolsch did and in doing so created a product you can slip into your handbag to wipe off the dirt and germs from your device. From the beginning Neeley’s vision hasn’t been just about innovation, it has also been about giving back. This interview is a motivator full of life advice and business advice, a true must read. Well-Kept can be ordered online here and also found at fab’rik stores.
What inspires you about waking up each morning? COFFEE! Actually, caffeine aside there is nothing more motivating than the start of a fresh new day. It’s our chance to pick up where we left off or hit the reset button from the previous day. I’m a recent newlywed so personally, being able to wake up to my husband is very satisfying but the newness of the day is what inspires me to wake up each morning.
What inspires your work? Someone once told me starting a business is like falling love. The adrenaline of the hustle truly inspires me to work. Travel, creative time alone, and an updated pantone color wheel inspires the new designs we launch at Well-Kept. However, the giving back element of our products truly inspires me to keep innovating. There’s nothing more rewarding than looking into the eyes of woman in Kenya who can now afford to pay for her childrens’ tuition and is now thriving because of the Business Start-Up Program our Karogoto pattern helped fund. Or receiving a letter from ALS.net stating they are making waves in Lou Gehrig research partially due to the contribution from our Drive pattern. Being a small part of big change is what inspires me to work.
How does your family inspire you? My mom always encouraged me to dream and my dad modeled the example of working hard. I also have very cool siblings with a brother who is a licensed counselor and speaks for a non-profit called Too Write Love on Her Arms (www.twloha.com) that helps people who struggle with addiction and suicide find hope. My sister is musically gifted and spread her wings by moving to Holland to teach yoga. Overall, I have a very creative family that seeks adventure, works hard, and cares for others.
What is your favorite place in the world? A beautifully set dinner table with family and friends.
What advice would you give women going through life’s trials and tribulations? Owning a business is a rollercoaster. Some days are amazing and others are an immense struggle. Be reminded that tomorrow is a new day. Also, learn to say no when needed and when to cut necessary losses. The best advice I have found is to continue to surround yourself with positive women who are moving in the same direction as you. Toxic relationships both personal and business related can be cancerous. Also, when you are feeling stuck try stepping outside of yourself and volunteering or helping a fellow girl boss in need.
How do we begin to seek a better life? My momma taught me early in life that seeking God is what truly gives us peace and joy. I’ve understood this more as I have gotten older as I’ve realized I cannot do it all on my own. I’m also a big fan of taking time for “me”. Anything from a yoga class for stress relief or a weekend retreat alone to reflect… these all help make me a better person and refuel me to be a better wife, friend, sister and business owner.
Describe your personal style? My personal style ranges from a polished cocktail dress to a casual pair of jeans with a funky t-shirt. I don’t have one particular style as I like to uniquely dress for the occasion. My favorite shades are gold and blush so I lean towards that direction with accessories.
What did you wear as a child? I remember distinctly as a child my mom having to have a talk with me about textures because I wanted to wear a leotard with a wool skirt! My parents told me I was their most “colorful child” which I think means I wasn’t afraid to be different.
What is your favorite quote? “It is in giving you receive” St. Francis of Assisi
Who have played mentor roles in your life? Dana Spinola, owner of fab’rik boutiques who gave me a deadline to launch Well-Kept and was our first customer. Sara Blakely, who selected us for the Leg Up promotion and helped to shape my vision for turning a product into a brand.
Advice to women in their 20s. Enjoy it! Spend your time on the things that keep you true to yourself, be a good friend and find ways to give back. Also, it’s okay to fail just don’t get stuck in that place.