My name is Heidi Kelly and I am owner/designer of HKelly designs that produces limited edition and one-of-a-kind funky, printed fabric handbags made in the USA. I created the business while going through 2 breast cancer diagnosis. Today we give back to some related charities through the sale of some of our handbags.
HKelly designs can be found at hkellydesigns.com.
How did your past experiences (school, work, childhood, family etc.) help you get to where you are today?
Without breast cancer I never would have had the courage or drive to become an entrepreneur. I wasn’t one of those types until facing the C-word. Breast cancer has helped me come out of my shell, help others and helped me find my passion!
Is entrepreneurship something that anyone can tackle? What is the most important thing to consider?
I used to think, no, but if I can do it, so can many others. If you really love what you do and feel passionate about it, then you should go for it. There is no point to start unless you believe in what you are doing and yourself.
What are some ways of motivating yourself in times of doubt? Do you ever feel like giving up? Why do you keep going?
I have had many moments but I am lucky to have a husband who is there for me and if I’m having doubts he encourages me. Also, sometimes, just grabbing your computer and forcing yourself to do things gets you more excited. I keep going because I hear from customers about how much they love my bags!
Is it important to dream big? What is the big dream for your business?
It is very important to dream big! If you don’t set the goals you don’t have anywhere to get to. My big dream is to be bigger than Vera Bradley and be able to retire my husband, who has been my major supporter!
Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?
It may be a mindset. Venture capitalists may still see women as being moms, and worry about their dedication. It’s great to see more women in business and I think as more women become successful and willing to gamble and help start-ups we will see more like Laurie Grenier and Barbara Corcoran. For now, though there are still a great deal of men and sometimes they just don’t get women products.