I have to come clean; I pursued Tammy R Nelson. Doing research, looking for kuel women-owned companies, I found key2Bme. It was one of those fantastic AHA moments for me. Her product line was EXACTLY what I wanted to bring into the Kuel Shop. I reached out, invited her to check out Kuel Life, and if it resonated with her we could explore collaboration.
Need I say more?
Tammy is a powerhouse of talent and energy. Working as a full-time executive, she still finds time for her family and her passion to empower others through key2Bme. I am honored to have Tammy as one of my Kuel Chiefs.
KUELLIFE: What type of business do you own/run?
TAMMY: We develop gifts that use the power of words to inspire and empower. Our flagship product is key2Bme. We have more than 60 keys to inspire, show one’s interests and represent the influential people in our life. Each one comes with a mini inspiring quote card and our customers love to clip our keys on their bags, purses or key chains to be a steady reminder of that inspiring message.
We are super excited for the upcoming launch of our newest product, CONQUERing. Like key2Bme, this ring also uses the power of words to inspire but it also has a patent-pending surprise! Our customers will choose the encouragement they need each morning by popping an inspiring word disc into their ring. The word on that ring is “hidden” until the wearer needs some extra focus and takes the ring off to give it a spin. (Did you know that using “fidgets” is scientifically proven to help improve focus?) When spun, the empowering word will magically appear to help our customers conquer their day!
KUELLIFE: What prompted you or drove you to become an entrepreneur? When?
TAMMY: As a young child, instead of playing dress up, I used to play “office” and I loved the old computer game “Lemonade stand” where you could try your hand at running your own business. Fast forward to grad school when I conducted a large research project on fads and I got interested in what characteristics led product ideas take off in a big way. I set out to develop a product that had the traits common among other successful fads and first imagined key2Bme back in 1999. It wasn’t until 2011 that I really got serious about bringing it to market and then I finally launched key2Bme in 2016. By the time I launched the product, the motivation to do so made a complete shift from launching a product that would sell like crazy (like a fad) to how could we create a product that was meaningful and empowering.
KUELLIFE: What’s your biggest struggle?
TAMMY: I am a mother of three and have a demanding full-time career as an insurance executive in addition to my entrepreneurial pursuits so, without question, my biggest struggle is lack of time. Over the years as my business has grown, I have been able to hire help to handle many aspects of the business and now focus my time on the areas where I can add the most value – product development and marketing/sales – so that has really helped. Plus, because my side business is really more of a passion project, it doesn’t feel like “work” at all. It’s a creative release that also helps me fulfill my life’s purpose.
KUELLIFE: What is your biggest fear as an entrepreneur? How do you work through it?
TAMMY: My biggest fear is that I’m missing some requirement or law especially as it relates to manufacturing/importing and also regarding accounting/taxation. From a business perspective, I have the least experience in the areas of manufacturing and finance so I work through these weak/blind spots by hiring help in these areas to ensure everything is buttoned up.
KUELLIFE: How do you measure your success?
TAMMY: Our business mission is to spread happiness and kindness and, personally, my purpose in life is to empower others. For that reason, I measure success by the lives we touch with our inspiring products. Even as our annual sales have grown to six figures, we have always invested all the money back into the business to develop more inspiring products and fund our key2Bme Unlock Happiness Program. Through that philanthropic program, we recognize others who are spreading happiness and kindness to amplify their voices and support their efforts with donations of our products.
KUELLIFE: Finally, what advice would you give other women about taking an entrepreneurial path?
TAMMY: Network as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can almost always find others who have been through the same challenges and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how helpful most people are. Roadblocks are inevitable and it’s easy to look down the road and see so many obstacles ahead that it gets discouraging. If you focus on just one at a time and use your network for advice, it will keep you focused and moving in the direction of your goals. You don’t need to solve every issue at once – just the one immediately in front of you. And as you knock down each one, you’ll gain more and more confidence and momentum.
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