Welcome back for another episode of the podcast. This week, I am sitting down with our amazing guest, Kelly Butler and I'm so excited for you to hear about how we met, her story and journey of making her ultimate leap.
Welcome back for another episode of the podcast. This week, I am sitting down with our amazing guest, Kelly Butler and I'm so excited for you to hear how we met, her story and journey of making her ultimate leap.
Kelly is an interior stylist, coach, and the passionate founder of Gratify Home where she teaches women to sustainably style homes they love while leaving a positive impact in this world. She does this through virtual one-on-one interior style coaching, designing directly with her clients, and virtual room design that is designed and done for you.
Kelly helps women overcome their sense of overwhelm in their own homes. They are generally curious about how they can also leave a positive legacy, about the food they eat, and where things are sourced from. They want to translate those values into their homes but feel stuck in knowing how to do this.
That’s where Kelly comes in. She teaches them how to invest in themselves to be their own sustainable interior stylist and create a space they can be proud of.
It all started when Kelly was still working in her corporate 9-5. Walking through her office one day she heard a voice call out to her in a loud whisper saying:
“You're not supposed to be here.”
She realized that her heart was not in her job and she was meant to do something completely different. She had a lot of pent up creativity that wanted nothing more than to be fulfilled. She began journaling to see where her journey would take her. She knew change could be scary, but she made her decision and was ready to face it.
The year prior, Kelly had applied to participate in a program sponsored by her company. She hadn’t heard anything about it and had almost forgotten about the opportunity when one phone call changed the direction of her life. She was offered the opportunity to travel to India for 30 days doing pro bono work for her company. She accepted and traveled to Mumbai where she worked in what would be considered the poorest slums and worked with an education nonprofit and local mothers learning to be advocates for their children's education.
The entire experience was incredibly transformational, very uncomfortable, and very emotional. She became obsessed with sustainable business models, how to use commerce and business as a way to alleviate poverty in a way that went beyond giving or volunteering, but rather in a way that is sustainable for artisans that preserves cultural craft.
She allowed her intuition to take over and filled her journal with things on her mind - ultimately questioning how she could funnel her passion and discomfort into something productive.
She decided that the first step was to open an online boutique, selling goods for women and home. The items were fair trade and artisan made and really uplifted the makers from across the world. She wanted to introduce these beautiful goods to women and into their homes. She began hosting parties with her products in friend's homes all while still working her corporate 9-5.
Kelly was admittedly a ‘corporate perfectionist’ and was trained to believe that the final product should always be perfect. That meant pushing back deadlines if need be. She knew this was something that she would need to retrain her brain to no longer believe. She needed to get comfortable with imperfection.
Kelly finally realized that she was filling a much-needed industry void and decided it was her turn to really take that and run with it. She combined her industry experience and her passion to develop her own business model. She had also learned the part of business she didn’t like and how she could pivot her business from that.
In early 2020, Kelly decided she no longer wanted to ship physical inventory and had planned to host a closing sale to clean out her inventory. She was going to cut the cord and transition into a fully virtual and digital business model. However, in March of 2020, Kelly’s health threw her a curveball. She initially assumed it was probably COVID and would be sick for a few weeks. A few weeks turned into much longer and she noticed that while she was recovering in some aspects, she was actually getting worse in others. It got to the point where one day she could no longer stand on her own, chew her meals, and even had trouble speaking. Kelly was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Because of COVID, Kelly was completely alone in the hospital. During her time in the hospital and during her months of recovery Kelly decided that this disorder would not define or defeat her. She decided that it was ultimately up to her to choose how to see what was happening to her and how she would deal with it. Leaning into losing her freedom during this time really set her on fire to move herself forward, even with baby steps. She began working even for just 15 minutes at a time.
During our interview, Kelly said:
“It's not always easy. It's different for every person. But I just hope that sharing all that I've been through to make that leap reinforces the commitment, the drive, the fire, the choice that I felt. And I just hope that it will inspire you listening to know that you can also do it no matter what comes your way if it's in your heart, if it's the burning desire that you feel it as possible.“
Earlier this year (now into 2021), Kelly finally made the decision to not return to corporate America and to make it work, no matter what that looked like. It was a sense of relief mixed with fear, but Kelly has learned that fear is not necessarily a bad thing if you work through it.
Kelly began pitching herself and despite her fear has made some incredible connections along her journey. She collaborates with other business owners doing Facebook or Instagram Lives and through collaborative blog posts, like this one with Elizabeth Joy (whom she met at a SDIHW Summit!). She takes every opportunity to expand the scope, scale and exposure of her own audience. She has learned to focus on the ‘no’s’ and use them as learning experiences.
Something Kelly and I have in common is that we both firmly believe in the Wayne Dyer quote,
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
“I always have a choice. And I am not the victim of life circumstances.”
Kelly looks at the world around her and is filled with gratitude by this world of possibilities she has opened herself up to. She has finally learned to overcome her fear and found her drive and determination.
Until next time, keep doing it your way!