SHOUTOUT LA: Meet Kelly Slattery
Meet Kelly Slattery | Founder and CEO of Barely Canadian
We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Slattery and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
We started Barely Canadian as a way to show our children that any idea and any concept can come to fruition if you put some effort into it and take it step by step.
We fostered and adopted our kids from foster care when they were 16 and 17 and we were committed to creating a broad and accessible future for them. We quickly learned that basic business knowledge and many life skills that were modeled for my husband and I when we were younger, were never modeled for them. So, we were keen to find something that could help them garner some overall skills for their future
We had an idea for summer sweaters and summer mittens, because I’m freezing all the time. Even as a Canadian in California, I find myself wearing an extra layer during much of the summer, which is why my husband jokingly calls me, “Barely Canadian”. It was funny and the name aligned well with the products we wanted to make, and so Barely Canadian was born!
At 1 year and 10 months in, we’re lucky to have some incredible partnerships with the LA Kings, Justice HQ, Sweet Spot, SMPREP, etc. that allow us to continue to teach our kids and other Foster Youth in our community.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One thing that Barely Canadian is really passionate about is helping foster youth. We’ve worked with so many young people who grew up in foster care and it’s shocking to learn that so many of them believe the world will not receive them with warmth and that their futures will be dismal compared to those who grew up with their birth parents.
We are working hard to reverse this thinking by reminding them that they can create their own “forever homes.” They’re capable of building their own beautiful futures through strength and resilience and we’re here to help them get there.
We created a program called “FOSTERPRENEUR” that we taught at UCLA last summer that was all about creating your own brand. The youth create their own looks and concepts, and we worked with them to turn those ideas into something visual that we heat press onto our product. These hoodies – now branded with our student’s design – are then posted on our site and when that product sells, the money goes to the foster youth who created it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is full of very distinct neighborhoods, so there is always something for everyone!
We live on the Westside, so we find ourselves at The Penmar often, Zinque and Superba. In fact, The Penmar’s music night is one of our favorite events in the whole city! 700 people embark upon the golf course with kids, dogs and a whole lot of gorgeous faces to hear incredibly talented musicians play some of our favorite songs.. I highly recommend checking it out!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
They say it takes a village, and I am so lucky to have one!
I have an incredibly supportive husband, amazing kids, a brilliant family, great friends, hard-working current and former Foster Youth team-mates, and of course, my good friend, Marisa, who works with me in the business as a partner.
We’re a social enterprise company, so we give back 20% to Foster Youth Organizations and we train and hire Foster Youth. It’s incredibly rewarding!
One of the relationships that’s been really special for us, is that of a nonprofit we donate to, Echoes of Hope. We work very closely with their team, whose Founder, Stacia has been an endless inspiration to us and has gone out of her way to connect us to some pretty incredible people.
I would also really love to share that my Dad has been one of my biggest motivators. We lost my Mom 10 months ago, and somehow, in the middle of his own grieving, he goes out of his way to encourage me to stay strong and choose the happiness my Mom would want for me to choose, every single day.
This is all to say, we’re not only surrounded by our insanely soft clothing, but also, by so much love and encouragement!
SHOUTOUT LA Original Article:
Julie Slattery Miller is the amazing photographer.