#𝟖8: From Messy to Your Message through La Vie Est Belle with Kristin Rehkamp
Feeling a bit lost in your business, . Confused or not sure what's not working for you. I'd love to chat. You can grab a 20 min. Badass to Kickass call with me FREE. You'd be surprised what magic can happen in only 20min. I'd love to serve you this way.
Listen to the Podcast on Your Favorite App!
Connect with Melissa Rose
When you are ready, here are a few ways we can help grow your service business.
- Subscribe to the podcast! CLICK HERE
- Grab my FREE Seo Google Workshop! If you need more clients coming in your doors, this is a MUST for you! I teach you everything you need to do to get found on Google FREE. CLICK HERE.
Purchase a Badass to Kickass Strategy Session. An incredible way to get expert 1:1 coaching, strategy, and an action plan.
- Get support right now with my Rebel Women Course. A library of content from mindset, to visibility, to team, to systems.
- Join me for a 1:1 interest call for One on One Coaching Working one on one with clients is the best way to grow your business. Click to fill out the application and my team will connect with you to set up our call. I’m so excited that past clients have had their highest revenue when working together!
A Little bit about Melissa Rose
In 2009, three weeks postpartum, Melissa started her business in her basement while her babies were in the pack and play. With her passion, resilience and nose down, she created a business that has become "The Highlight of you Week" for her tribe, her team and her community.
Now a visibility coach for brick and mortar businesses, Melissa guides other boss babes to a flourishing brick and mortar that provides for their own tribe - creating a legacy in their community.
Melissa is a super mama of five kiddos, enjoys long hikes or playing in her garden. At the end of the day you can find her snuggling up with a self development book with an ice cold beer.
[00:00:00] Melissa: Sometimes we ask ourselves, what am I doing? Why am I doing this? Why am I tolerating this? And then there's other times when outside situations force us to ask those really difficult questions. They may force us to pivot or completely change careers. Today's guests did just that. Since September is suicide awareness month. I thought it fitting that we share Kristin Rehkamps story. She had a daughter that went through some mental illness and she took her messy to create a beautiful message. I look forward to sharing with you this beautiful interview.
Welcome Kristen Ray camp, two brick and mortar visibility is so great to have you here. Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom with our audience
[00:00:46] Kristin: I'm so grateful. I'm so excited. And thank you for inviting me.
[00:00:49] Melissa: All right. I always start people with this question. Tell me who you are, what you do and who you serve.
[00:00:55] Kristin: Yes. So Kristen Ray camp, I'm going to start with mom to three. Background is corporate America, target Optim, williams-Sonoma. My degree is interior design, but I have had to punch in the last year of my life. Probably like many of us. I had a daughter that actually got sick with a mental illness, panic disorder. It came on like a common cold, but rocked our world. In and out of hospitals for five months and had to make the decision to be both mom and care provider. So at night, while my family slept, I decided to teach myself how to build a website. I'm very tech challenged. So that was, an achievement in and of itself, but launched an online business Le Vie Est Belle . It's French for life is beautiful. It's about choosing your own path to happiness and inspiring others. So I utilize that interior design background. So home decor, gifts and baby and kids, and 20% of our net profits go to children's mental health awareness and education.
[00:01:50] Melissa: Right. So you have this niche that came out of, some messy in your life and you now have a beautiful message to share with others. So, this was a definite pivot. Something out of the blue was not expected. How did you, navigate that with family like husband and partner? Was this a conversation or was this kind of like needed an outlet for you and then it turned into something bigger. How did that happen?
[00:02:14] Kristin: Um, so honestly owning my own business and something in the gift home decor space has always been a dream of mine. So in a lot of ways, I talk about the last year as a gift, a gift from my daughter that basically allowed me the opportunity to take the leap. I think there's so many things when you take a leap in your life that holds you back. All the, what ifs, right? The loss of salary, the loss of health insurance, all those things. The comforts of, of all lifestyle. Um, but we were forced to pivot, so I didn't have to battle those decisions. And so I got to go after something that I've always wanted to do. My husband and family,have always known this about me. And honestly, when I made the choice to be a care provider, a hundred percent of the time for my daughter who required it. With the intent that I was going to be home a hundred percent. So chasing a dream and creating a store was just a luxury on top of that. So we already did not intend for me to bring any sort of income in if that makes sense. So the store was, was a gift in and of itself, right. It allowed us some additional income. Allowed me to chase a dream, allowed me to continue to learn, connect, grow network. and honestly there's been so much beauty as a result of the store. Well, above and beyond what I initially even intended that I think is just the most awesome piece of it all.
[00:03:35] Melissa: So you had something in your family happen to create this pivot? I know we've say pivot, I don't like that word. I like kind of a self discovery of realizing what are we tolerating and what are we allowing ourselves not to take advantage of in our life, in our short life that we have. And so many people have started businesses or have pivoted their business in a way to allow them more flexibility or family time. I saw that in the group that we're in so many businesses in there were started because of COVID because they lost their job because they chose not to go back to their job after being home or whatever, or pivoting their business completely because they were able to be home with COVID and now they just want to do something else. So just seeing that and the self identification of what's important to you.
[00:04:22] Kristin: I look at all those women as some of the bravest people I know. So even though I talk about what happened to my daughter in the last year and the change we made in the last year, it actually started five years ago. I was a vice-president of a $35 million portfolio and a 200 person team. And my husband was a director and we were working 50, 60 hours a week traveling. I had a two year old daughter. I never saw, we were living in our dream house. It was beautiful and our dream neighborhood, but we didn't get to enjoy it. So we made the tough decision we chose to sell that house. I chose to quit my job in tears. Honestly, I loved it, but I had to choose my marriage and my family. And I'm still grateful for that decision and that move brought us to Lake Elmo . And we very specifically move, this direction in this community because of friends and a simpler way of life. And I could not be happier with the choice, you know, COVID rocked a lot of things, right. We moved two years ago. So we came for six months, were in our house for a year. Right. And now kind of coming out and meeting people . But what I would say is I haven't met very many women that probably aren't having the same conversation that you and I are having right now and asking, well, how did you do it? It just takes a leap of faith and a bit of courage. And, I would say is the best decision I've made in my life. One of them, other than maybe marrying my husband,
[00:05:39] Melissa: I love that leap of faith and courage. That's so true there's never all green lights. There's so much faith and trust that you gotta do it, you gotta do it. And kind of that no fallback plan, like you sold your house, you chose to totally give it up and make that change. I was a stay at home mom, so I cannot imagine not seeing my kids like that. Of course I wasn't making money. It wasn't a VP. I was a VP of the household.
[00:06:05] Kristin: And I was, I was telling everybody out there, I run some pretty big portfolios at large corporations and being a mom is the hardest job. I've been a stay at home mom for the last year home, my hardest job. And it doesn't come with all the accolades. And so I would also say to anyone, listening. Pat yourself on the back and , give yourself a moment because truly, I think many of us have worked some really tough jobs. This is by far the toughest and probably not probably absolutely the most important. Yes,
[00:06:36] Melissa: absolutely. All right. So back to business, as you started this journey with your business, what was a moment in the journey of starting your business that you realized I can do anything? I got this
[00:06:46] Kristin: probably back to when I launched the website, because it is pretty well known in my family that I am not only tech challenged. I just don't want anything to do with it. My husband takes care of all of it. So when I managed to build a website. And I think a fairly good website, meaning it operates well and I think it looks well, so I'm very proud of it. So I think that is it for me of holy cow, I built the website. The rest is easier.
[00:07:13] Melissa: Isn't it a funny, I remember doing that the first time. It was probably about 10 years ago. And the fact that I was like, holy crap, I did this. But this is one big concern people have when working with me is they, they see what needs to happen or what they want to have, but they realize there's a tech learning curve and it is, it can be scary. When you say you're not good at it, you already have your defense up. Like, oh, I can't do this. I can't do this. And we don't learn how to ride a bike by just getting on it. We start and we just take little coasts down the grass and then down the sidewalk and then around the block, same thing with tech you're not going to get it all right away. We just take baby steps and there's so much out there to help you. YouTube is lovely. y'all right. And, and the tutorials and there's people to help you. But it is, there is a lot of tech behind this that can be overwhelming, but just baby steps, baby steps. Okay. I love that. Cause that is legit.
[00:08:06] Kristin: And honestly you'll just fine this hilarious . There as well. I have not been on social media for almost 45 years of my life. And so when I suddenly have any e-commerce business, I have to be on social media. So everybody I've been on social media for about six months and I am learning every single day. And I know that sounds silly. Most of you are very good at it, but I'm learning. So all of that tech component where one might say, holy heavens how do you design a brand? And what's your marketing strategy and how do you find the product and the logistics. That was easy . It was truly the tech component, but it's not as scary and as hard as we might think it was actually pretty easy and actually a lot of fun dare I say.
[00:08:49] Melissa: And you're learning. Having a business as the best, self-development . You're always learning because you have to, to keep up to keep growing, to keep stepping forward. Okay. So who is your ideal client for your business .
[00:09:02] Kristin: I think generally from what I've noticed, it's generally moms, grandparents, you know, I'm in the gifting home decor, baby and kids. And generally I try and provide meaningful product. I'm an interior designer. So I have a very specific type of. Let's just say I love west Elm. So I have a very specific style and look. So when I curate the store, I'm certainly keeping that in mind, but a lot of it has a meaningful component. And at the same time, I don't want them to be too cheesy. So everything that I curated in the store certainly looks like it's been curated for one type of look or it's cohesive, but it generally has a meaningful component. Any of us that have really experienced a lot of life. Anytime you need a special moment in your house, a special moment for somebody that's a good reason to shop the store. So I'm not just curating product to put in your house I'm really, truly about inspiring, giving and beautiful living. So it's really meant to be thoughtful. So again, I am finding that, moms, care providers, et cetera, are really my primary, consumer.
[00:10:06] Melissa: Can you tell us a little bit about your business model tell me a little bit about that.
[00:10:09] Kristin: All our product is for sale on our website. And then 20% of our net profits are given to, mental health non-profit. And specifically the one that I donate to now is Prairie care fund. And I happened to be on that board of directors. So I enjoy giving money to that organization. Cause I get to have a hand in steering where that money goes. And so I see the output or the outcome of that spend. Praire Care Fund itself a nonprofit that raises my and provide grants to schools. So it's all about educating, school teachers, administrators, students, families about mental health, reducing stigmas. They provide suicide prevention training. Just basically bringing awareness and reducing stigmas.
[00:10:53] Melissa: So you curate the store, meaning you get vendors to come in and do that. Okay. So you have that partnership with different people.
[00:11:01] Kristin: Yeah. There's a kind of a fun story on how the store also got started in that way. Nobody can see this, but the Gideon bear, and Anna received one of these when she was in the hospital in Brooklyn park, Prairie care, mental health hospital in Brooklyn park. It's an inpatient hospital. She spent 10 days there. As we were leaving that facility, we as a family decided we want to do something for the kids moving forward. It was pretty tough experience and, felt for all the other kids as well. Long story short, it raised enough money and worked with the executive team at Prairie Care and procured Prairie bear, which is cousin of giving bear. And these are all made by Dumdaygo and Dumdaygo . I didn't know at the time, a year ago, but as a pretty well-known high end gift manufacturer, highly respected. And so I actually met their product designer, lead product designer, Peter, and worked with Peter and his team to, transition the Gimme bear into a Prairie Bear . And so there's 1200 Prairie bears going to Prairie Care's inpatient mental health hospital in Brooklyn park. Probably by December, January. And the intent is every child that now goes to that hospital will have a bear for them on the bed. The beautiful part of it is they let us attach a note from our daughter. And so every bear has a note that starts with I've walked in your shoes. I understand. Be brave. You'll be okay. Love Anna. And so through that relationship, I was also starting to think about the store and I just said, Dumdaygo. And I'm wanting to do this. Would you consider being my first wholesaler? And they did. And then the rest is history. I have other really great vendors now, like MudPie . So the products that I carry are very similar to the products that you would find in, gift stories you love like, the general store in Minnetonka, or forget me not and still water or Christmas point up in the Brainerd area. So I just feel really honored and privileged that honestly, mud pie, for example, reached out to me and said, Hey, we're seeing you on social media. We would love if you would carry our product
[00:12:59] Melissa: What I love is this business model that is working collaboratively with other businesses to do good in the world. And that is a big visibility strategy that I teach my people. But, you take it to the next level and it's just beautiful, so well done. And we'll be sure to tag all those people and let them know that you're, promoting their work so awesome.
As a business owner, you are juggling all the things. We joke that we, we do our business 80 hours to avoid the 40 hour work week. What is something that you are doing consistently that you need to do consistently, or that you realize I have to do this every day to move the business forward? What is one of those things that you find that if I don't do this, my business doesn't work
[00:13:43] Kristin: networking. Networking relationship building. I have been moved to tears about the outpour support for, my business, my mission, and honestly, without people like you and Melissa and others who that have reached out and offered guidance, support resources, I'm not sure I'd be where I am. I heard this the last women's business bridge, but give more than take. So approach everything you do in your business as how do I give versus take? And I think that is such a, an important message. Because I would even say on social media, I've found recently, or this is where I market, how I market that I don't necessarily always market product or talk about product. I'm finding more and more that I'm talking about what it is we're doing or the impact that we're making or the people we've met or their relationships or partnerships that have started. Because to me at the end of the day, yes, I need to sell product to keep my virtual doors open, but that's not really why I'm here. I'm here to make a difference. I'm here to learn. I'm here to help others. And you're right, Melissa, we do work 80 hours to avoid the 40 hours , but by doing it with people that I, respect, appreciate makes this so much more meaningful and fun.
[00:15:02] Melissa: You said a few things there. I want to dive deeper in, you said networking. Can you share it with the audience? How are you doing that best? What's your process in networking and connecting with people.
[00:15:11] Kristin: You know, honestly, I feel like I've lucked out and I'm again, so grateful for all of this. I am new to the area, so I don't know a lot of business leaders or even residents in the community. So honestly, I started by joining the women's business bridge. Any female business owner out there, I would strongly advocate for that because it's a , safe place to enter a networking environment. And yet at the same time, really value added. So I started there, and then I joined the greater Stillwater chamber of commerce and really impressed by Robin and Laura and Stacy and Lindsay. It's a four person, women led chamber. There are a powerhouse . I also threw in an application and just recently kicked off leadership in the valley . That's a one-year program available, where you learn about the community, learn about the residents. So for example, I met 22 additional business leaders in the community yesterday that I probably would not have met otherwise. I have been pulled into, or maybe I volunteered myself. Let's put it that way, but helping, springboard, uh, lake Elmo business steering committee, in partnership with the chamber, the city and the counsel so honestly, it's just about getting involved and finding those networks, finding those organizations.
And once you join one, the doors will start opening. You know, I didn't know about all those other things when I joined women's business bridge, but as I got into women's business bridge, then I found out about this. And then I found out about that and I try every week to meet probably at least I do more if I could, but two to three new people every week.
[00:16:47] Melissa: So I want you guys to hear that she got out of her home and she dove in and she got into a group, but she just didn't get into a networking group. She got on the leadership part of it. Okay. And that is a big takeaway. If you can get on a leadership team or on the steering committee or on the board, that is where you're going to get most bang for your buck, as far as meeting people and really learning and getting to know people and getting connected to other people. So that is a visibility strategy to get your, your name out there and, and she's doing it by being intentional about it started one and the ripple effect, but networking is huge because you're B2B, you're working with other business owners to make your business work and go.
[00:17:29] Kristin: You know, I think there is the running of your business. And then there is the networking and the relationships and the marketing. And I would say if I had to put a percentage to those things, I would say the building relationship, the networking, the learning, getting out there is probably 70% and an actual running of the business is 30%.
And, and a lot of that is done at night, right? When I can't connect with people. So my day is spent doing things like this, Melissa right a podcast with somebody over lunch to, look at a space for ribbon cutting. Those are not necessarily bringing dollars in but the intent is that. It drives growth in the future.
[00:18:06] Melissa: And you talked about how you're promoting yourself. You shared how you were learning that it's not always selling your product. It's about educating. It's about sharing the relationships. It's about sharing what you're learning. So that was another takeaway. I wanted everybody to hear that when you are sharing on social or writing your blog, communicating to people talking about the relationships and the transformation of clients or your experiences, or what's going on or educating your mission and what you do. And then the sales will come. That creates the interest there.
So you're, a mom, your wife, business owner. What is one nugget of wisdom that you could share with a business owner or a future business owner that's considering that? I think I want to do something like this,
[00:18:50] Kristin: Well, one make sure you always keep yourself front and center, right. And take care of you in all of this, but I, but here's the interesting part. My business is so much a part of who I am, , is very purpose, mission driven, very passionate to who I am, as I'm very passionate about what it is. So it doesn't feel like work to me. So I certainly would say that anything that you're diving into, make sure that you believe in it, make sure that it's who you are to the core, because it's going to make everything so much easier. when Melissa asks you to do a podcast, it's, it's easy to talk about it because you love it so much. But you know, on, on a tactical basis, the one thing I do every day is I go for a run. So, physical, mental, emotional, social health, right? Keep it all balanced as best you can. But. As much as I always promote work life integration, I'm probably not very good at it. I'll be honest. So I would say they'll make sure that you just absolutely love what you're doing because that will shine through and the rest will also follow .
[00:19:48] Melissa: Great advice. And I love the tactical stuff because that's true. Like, so how do you do that? So you go for a run. I walk every day. It's my therapy. I have to. So I want to know how can people best get ahold of you? Where should people go and see your store?.
[00:20:03] Kristin: Yes. So visit my website. So grab a pen because it's French.
I'm going to give everybody grab a pen and ground paper. It's French. So my website www.LAVIEESTBELLe.live. That's the best way.
[00:20:24] Melissa: And I will make sure I have the link in the show notes. If you don't want to spell it and we will just click it right there.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kristin, for sharing your story and your wisdom and your gift to us today. I know our listeners are going to really appreciate it. I know, I appreciate it.
I always learn something from my guests. So thank you so much.
[00:20:46] Kristin: You are a gift to thank you. Thank you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
[00:20:49] Melissa: Absolutely. All right, everybody. Have an awesome week. Everybody go visit her store La Vie Esta Bell, and we will see you here. Same time, same place. Next week. Peace bye-bye.