If you know me, you know I love to support women in business; in fact, I formed my very own business on that very premise.
It's not that I don't love men, because I do; but for too long we've seen other women as our competition, almost like we didn't have a choice. Media and society heavy-handedly shoved women on women crime all up in our faces, and I'm just over it.
When I was in college I met my best friend and soul sister, Beatriz; and she's the true definition of a girls girl. I remember lending her one of my favorite books, and when she told me she didn't like it was like, "umm, I'm sorry, what!" And she was like, "yeah, the story centers around two girlfriends who are real friends to each other and put a man over their friendship." I hadn't really focused on that part, but it hit me then just how down for the cause she was. She's low key about feminism and never all up in your face, but she's all about her girlfriends and something in me changed for the better after becoming her friend.
Ever since then, I knew I didn't want to just have my own business, but that I wanted to build up other women in the process. In addition to supporting women in their own business development, I like to seek out women owned businesses as a consumer.
I recently stumbled upon Koheesiv on Instagram, an online boutique that focuses not just on selling super cute clothing (which they do), but also helping women feel amazing in their clothing. I thought that was such a unique approach to business, and something our society really needs. I reached out to the owners, Kalissa and Brittany, and asked if they would sit down with me and chat about what inspired them to start such an amazing business!
Lucky for me, they were happy to share some of their story with us! Check out my interview with the babes of Koheesiv below!
Kalissa and Brittany, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, and share a little more about yourself with Leslie Lately readers. I’m such a huge fan of Koheesiv and what the two of you created. Aside from the business itself, your mission of supporting women and making them feel beautiful is one that I admire so much.
Many of my readers are fellow business women, mothers, aspiring bloggers and business women themselves; all of which deserve to feel beautiful daily! I know from my personal experience with shopping at your boutique, just how much care goes into each woman’s experience. I can’t wait to dig deeper with you, so let’s get started!
Koheesiv is owned and operated by the dynamic duo of Kalissa Maynard + Brittany Starnes. What inspired the two of you to create Koheesiv?
K || I think deep down I always wanted to do something like this. I worked for Nordstrom for many years, in all different roles, so I gained so much knowledge and, most importantly, my passion, from them. My hands were tied as an employee, and I could only do so much, so I started to feel a gaping hole when I would leave work, like there was so much more I could and should be doing. Once I narrowed down where I would needed to start, Brittany was the answer to prayer that I was looking for. From there, everything happened pretty fast and smooth.
B || Im with Kalissa, this has always been a dream of mine. But I never knew how I could make it happen. I too, like Kalissa worked for Nordstrom for years. (It's where we met) I think at Nordstrom I found my passion. I realized that I not only had a love for fashion, but more so for people. Creating connections and relationships and helping people to look and feel better. There’s really no greater feeling for me to see the difference an experience like that can make for someone.
And really Kalissa inspired me to do this. She will tell you that she had started this process with someone else and when I heard about it my thought was, it should be me. Lol. A few months later I got a 2 am text from Kalissa and I knew exactly what it would be about. I couldn’t have done this without her courage and vision. I’m so grateful for her. She inspires me daily!
K || Gaul! You sound so much better than me...can I re-do mine!? Britt is SO amazing!
After reading both of your bios, it really seems like this is more than a business for both of you. It’s a passion project. I love that about you! Did you always know that you wanted to have a business partner for this passion project, and do you think having each other makes the business run more smoothly?
K || I had actually started this with someone else before Brittany, and while I loved her, our vision for the future of the company was much different. I knew I wanted to move forward with it but not on my own. I needed someone to bounce ideas off, someone to reel me back in when my thoughts were getting crazy, and someone that could bring different strengths to the table.
Brittany and I were meant to do this together, there is no doubt in my mind. She is strong where I am weak, don’t get me wrong, we have disagreements, and we are girls so we get our feelings hurt sometimes, but we handle it with mutual love and respect for one another.
B || I knew I could never do something like this alone. I only have certain strengths, as does everyone. Right? The nice thing about Kalissa and I is that I think we balance each other out. She’s the yin to my yang. She is strong where I may be weak. We have very different taste and points of view at times, but that’s what makes us cohesive (KOHEESIV) because we are able to bring it all together to bring you the very best.
We have our moments when we are totally in sync and other times when we totally disagree, but it’s good for us and it's good for our brand. Overall we strengthen each other and I'm so grateful for Kalissa as a partner and what she teaches me.
K || I sound so cold and business- like compared to you! I tell her that all the time “You're the fun one, and I’m like the mom”. When Brittany is actually older than me ;)
Haha! I'm the mom in every group too, literally and not! Something I love is that you have a feature that not a lot of online boutiques have, called “Ask a Stylist.” It’s one I personally used and loved while shopping at Koheesiv. For those who don’t know, can you explain what it is, and what inspired this extra level of customer care?
K || You got this Britt….
B || Ask a stylist is an option where you can chat with one of us directly. You can ask questions about styling tips or ideas or just about the product directly. We were both Personal Stylist’s with Nordstrom for years, during that time we gained a lot of experience and knowledge with styling, fit, dressing for your body type, etc. It’s our passion, and we LOVE helping others pull it all together.
That’s why we created Koheesiv. We wanted to create a place online where you can receive the personal service you can get in a storefront with the convenience of shopping from your own home, or work or swimming lessons. Ain't nobody got time for anything else these days, am I right? We want to hear from you, to connect with you and to be able to use our passion to educate and help empower women.
You are SO right. I can express from personal experience of working with the "ask a stylist" feature, it really helps! I felt like I was shopping with a friend, even though it was online. Truly revolutionary in the world of online shopping! So, tell me, what is your favorite part of running Koheesiv?
K || For me it's knowing that I am sharing my gifts and talents in a positive way. Its watching people fall in love with something that you created. It's having a Stylist Appointment and knowing that you changed that person’s life, by the things that we teach them and how those things make them feel. It’s also about being able to be home with my babies, and working on my time (for the most part), so that I can spend the important hours with my children.
B || Sheesh. This a tough question! I love SO much about it. Getting to do what I love, getting to meet, connect with, and work with so many amazing and inspiring women. Getting to shop for a living, i mean, come on, to me it doesn’t get much better than that. And like Kalissa said, being able to do things on my own time, so that I can have more time for my two sweet littles ones.
You two amazing me, seriously! Where do you see Koheeiv in the next 5-10 years?
K || LOL! 5-10 years seems like a lifetime right now! We talk in weeks and months right now, because we are still so fresh and new. We are headed in the right direction but understand that it doesn’t happen overnight. KOHEESIV changes every day, the industry changes and evolves, and we want to be at the front of that.
Personally, I would love to be able to expand into Men’s and Children’s, I would love to design our own line, and create a more interactive website, but we have to get this part right first. Be the best at this, and then move forward.
B || Same. We are just taking it one day at a time right now! We have so many ideas and dreams, and I'm sure even those will always be changing. But we want to nail this right now, get it right and make it the best it can be and then keep growing and reaching as many people with our passion as we possibly can.
K || AMEN sista!
I totally understand that, and I think it's absolutely the right approach. I have no doubt that in the future you'll be on to mastering those next steps! And I can't wait to buy some Koheesiv for my man and babies! On the more personal side of it, you are both mothers. How to do you find ways to balance motherhood and business?
K || Real talk? My family comes first. My children and husband are more important and will always be at the front of the line. There are days when I just have to put it all down and give one of them, or all of them, my undivided attention. Sometimes I don’t check my phone for hours, I’m sure that has driven Brittany nuts a time or…50, but it is just the way I have to separate myself. But then other days I’m not so good and It’s all work, I’ll have my mom come and stay with the kids for an entire day because I need some uninterrupted time to focus and create.
B || This is tough. Not gonna lie. I’m a single mom and balancing everything is never easy. I don’t sleep much that's for sure, and I definitely rely on my caffeine intake a little too much. Ha. But, with owning your own business and for us having it online gives us the freedom to work on the go, or when we can. I get to work as soon as my babies are asleep and that’s not something you can do with every job. I'm grateful the opportunity to try and balance work life with mom life and that was a huge drive in creating Koheesiv for me.
Brittany, I was a single mom for 5 long years, and I relate to what you're saying so much. I have so much respect for both of you.
Lastly, what’s your biggest piece of advice for new female entrepreneurs starting out?
K || Don’t give up! Find good mentors that you can call and ask questions to. I have a couple of those, and it has given me so much confidence. Sleep on big decisions, don’t make quick decisions that can change your business. And be kind and respectful! Brittany can be better at this than me, but kindness will always win.
B || Mentors are huge, like Kalissa said. I feel so fortunate to have such an incredible support system through family and friends, and people that believe in myself when maybe I don’t enough. Just GO for it ladies! If we can do it, so can you! Ha. Understand that you are going to make mistakes daily, I know I do, and change your mind and have set backs and difficult people to work with. Things will not always be cupcakes and roses, but the joy is in the journey, you will learn grow so much, and why not do something you love?!
K || See! The fun one! LOL!
You ladies about both so amazing, seriously! It's been such a honor getting to chat with you, experience your shop, and ultimately becoming friends! You know you'll have a life long customer in me! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today! I’m an endless fan of Koheesiv!
Friends, check out my links below to find out more about Koheesive and the outfits I wore in the post from Koheesive!