I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel through SkillPop and instantly liked her. Through getting to spend more time with her, I learned of her business, Kind P.O.D.S. I was totally blown away by the thought and creativity that went into each box, and the concept can’t be beat- kindness and awareness, sustainability and eco-conscious. It was totally up my alley. I was so excited to partner with her to do a photoshoot and share her story!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family:
I am an open minded Aries, Enneagram 2 W 3, Kentucky Basketball Fan, Art Lover, Coffee Snob, Beer Drinker, Mountain Goer, Sun Soaker, Weather Spotter(Not to brag, but I am actually certified), Learning Enthusiast, and Speech-Language Pathologist. I am striving daily to be an ally, feminist, an exceptional wife, sister, daughter, friend, and mother of 3 kids 4 years old and under. I love everything which is a problem when it comes to home decorating, picking a restaurant, and finding a place to travel. My husband and I are both from Kentucky and went to UK. We have our kiddos; Teddy, Greta and Felix, a geriatric cat named Paisley and a toad that lives in our water feature we named Gus. We actually moved to NC for the third time last Spring but think it will stick this time.
2. What prompted you to start a business?
After we moved back from Chicago to Davidson, I had the opportunity to stay home when my youngest, Felix was born, giving me the time to be creative and consider next career steps. I am a Speech Pathologist by education and formal training, but was bitten by the startup/entrepreneur bug a few years ago after working for a few medical startups and later with Pearachute Kids, the family activities aggregate. At the same time, I was searching for concrete tools to teach my kids about kindness and helping the community. I found many resources for books, or kindness acts, or nonprofits, but it seemed like a lot of money and time to invest every time I wanted to be intentional with teaching kindness. I wanted an easy, consistent and accessible ways to keep my kids’ eyes and ears open and serve their community despite our scheduling and logistical restrictions. I figured other families like me were running into the same barriers so I created Kind Projects Of Discovery & Service a quarterly subscription box! The subscription box model is so convenient for families. You don’t have to gather and pack up the kids to go to the craft store and spend hundreds on crafts you won’t use. You don’t have to try to fit a service project in your restricted schedule- if you can even find good PMO training. You have the toolkit filled with activities that spread kindness locally, benefit nonprofits globally and teach about the community, ready for a rainy day to pull out to make your family time more meaningful. Kids get to have fun, be creative, learn something new and caregivers get to feel confident about teaching habits that will develop kindness and compassion in their kids.
3. How did you decide on the name/brand of your business?
The business and brand is still evolving. When I first incorporated I was thinking about preschoolers and named it Preschool Projects Of Discovery & Service. I loved the P.O.D.S. reference because our mascots that give the family instructions, are dolphins named Lottie and Dottie, inspired by my grandmothers. But, I quickly realized this box was more of a whole family activity. So it telescoped out to Kind P.O.D.S. Now, I am discovering that our company really advocates for even more than kindness and that Kind P.O.D.S., the subscription box, is one product of the overall company. So, I am working with my business mentor about how that will change and how we will spread this message to our community- Stay Tuned! 🙂
4. Tell us more about your product/business and your role:
Right now, we have one product, the subscription box toolkit that contains a children’s book written by an author of color, eco friendly supplies for activities and crafts that spread kindness locally and benefit nonprofits globally. I am hoping our products expand as we learn more about what our customers and communities need. My role is fill-in-the-blank. I do everything from product conception, research and design, to sourcing materials, order fulfillment and logistics. Also, I do all the branding, marketing, selling, all playing into overall business development.
5. Do you have a storefront or do you work from home?
I work from home and from the community. You will likely see me at Summit Coffee in Davidson or at the Peoples Market in Charlotte quite a lot.
6. What does a normal “work” day look like for you?
I wake up, do my Depaak and Oprah meditation and get ready for the day. Then, I get 3 kids presentable enough and take them to school. Somedays I meet up with community partners but if not, I take a walk around Jetton Park and head home. I usually drink my coffee and catch up on emails (I use a shared inbox with one of my clients), create content, research nonprofits and authors of color, create a log of activities/crafts that may be fun for the upcoming boxes. Currently, I’m working on making a hydrological map for the living room. I do manage to get some house work and errands in and catch the occasional Bravo show before I make dinner and go pick up the kids.
7. How do you handle work + kids?
My one year old just joined the 4 and 3 year old at a preschool daycare full time at nursery bolton. That has been a game changer! I don’t have to squeeze my work in two two hour nap segments anymore. However, I am getting a part time Speech job – so more adjusting and juggling to come.
8. How do you balance all of the roles that you have?
My husband and I tag team pretty well. He puts the kids to bed while I finish up what I need to for the P.O.D.S. or manages them if I need to work the weekends. My parents only live an hour away so they can help if needed. Bambino babysitting app is a life saver too. Its important to me that my kids see that I take care of my health, have dreams and follow them, be brave, be radically kind, work hard and have fun. So, they come along for a lot of the community events and are the guinea pigs for books and activities:)
9. What is the best aspect of having your own business?
The creativity, flexibility and freedom. It is so satisfying to see a dream become reality and then watch as it creates kindness ripples in the community. The limitless possibilities keeps me going. I also love learning and having your own business gives you constant opportunities for learning.
10. What is the hardest part about owning your own business?
The creativity, flexibility and freedom:) There are so many different paths to success and finding my way feels overwhelming at times. I excel in generating lots of ideas and having big dreams, but struggle with focusing in on the smaller steps and structuring my time accordingly. I also sometimes get infected with the imposter syndrome because I don’t have formal training in business.
11. What are some long-term or future goals you have for your business?
There are so many! My biggest long-term goals are to increase the intention of raising kind kids, improve the way we serve and connect to our community, dismantle racism, exclusion, fear of “the other” and change the world. More immediately, I want to target boxes according to ages, make more community partners and have more events. I want to open up new opportunities for nonprofits to meet donors and for authors of color to have another access point to get their great stories into the hands of more kids. I would also love the opportunity to travel and speak to other people about increasing intentions with raising kind kids.
12. What do you do when you’re not being supermom?
Not being supermom is something I am quite a lot 🙂 But, when the kids are in school and I am not working or if I get alone time, I am walking, taking a shower (this is my happy place), watching Amazon or Netflix, listening to podcasts, Voxering with my friends, planning neighborhood parties, drinking wine in my garage with my neighbors, or reading. Of course I get some social media time in there too.
13. What famous person would you love to have dinner with, and why?
Michelle Obama- I mean is there someone in the world that doesn’t want to eat dinner with her? She is sharp, witty, and has an unique perspective in this world. She seems very down to Earth, vulnerable and authentic. I am reading her book and would love to talk her about it.
14. What are the best resources that you’ve found as a small business owner and mom? (podcasts, online or local resources, people, great vendors, etc)
Walking in the park while listening to podcasts like SuperSOUL Conversation, How I built This, Rachel Hollis’s Rise, has helped me a lot. Putting my health as a priority has improved my mood and focus. I just finished a program called FasterWay to Fat Loss that I have found to be successful in putting my attention back to my health. I always look forward to learning, networking and generally having a BLAST at Creative Mornings Charlotte each month. They have a newsletter called The Biscuit that I enjoy each week. I have connected with my business mentor, Judy MacIsaac Robertson, recently and she helps me plan, fine tune my product and with marketing. Learning from mentors in my field, and other women/mompreneurs locally- Like YOU and online is critical. I follow awesome blogs and news outlets like Conscious Company, B Corp, Nurture and Thrive, Simple Parenting, Me3 Project, The Hollis Co., Disability Scoop, Motherly and Coffee & Carpool. I have also joined a few Facebook groups dedicating to starting and running subscription box companies that have saved me from reinventing the wheel. Apps that get me by are Planoly, Canva, and Mailchimp. I started a daily law of attraction journal called the I AM journal that I am currently obsessed with. And, Skillpop of course! I have learned so much being a class manager for them. Not to mention it is so fun to get to know so many people and being a part of a successful startup! And, last but definitely not least, I can’t do anything without bouncing off ideas for every part of this business with my friends and family.
15. What is one piece of advice that you can give to a mom starting a business?
JUST DO IT. There will never be the “perfect time” or even a “better” time. Life happens constantly and there will always be an excuse not to do it. You will never feel like you have enough money or time. Its like having a baby. We only have this one, present moment and we have to LIVE it. We might think that our kids, husband, wife, friends, other career, will be negatively impacted. Of course they will. BUT, don’t let that stop you. The benefits of living into your true self, on your unique path will positively impact your kids, husbands, friends, career and the world they live in WAY more than the negatives.
Check out Rachel and sign up for your own Kind P.O.D.S!