Tag Archives: kith&kin

Entrepreneurs’ Cafe

View from the Galt House, 24th floor looking Eastward over Louisville, KY.

Sunday last week I split town for Louisville, KY, 200 miles straight across I-64 west (oh those beautiful fall colors on the hills!). The ABC Kids Expo was very informative, and the company I kept was delightful. I shared a hotel room with a natural parenting shop owner from my hometown, and her four year old daughter. We filled each day to the tippy top with meetings, vendors, and social-business events. There wasn’t any sight seeing, bike riding, or much sleep.

The empty shuttle bus I took from the Hotel to the Expo. Efficient?
Industry reception at Live on 4th! downtown Louisville. I was content to wonder around for water and scout for desserts but the company I kept insisted I attempt to defy some sort of broken genetic condition and move at least my foot to the deafening music being poured down from the stage. I was a good sport, but good golly, not my cup of tea.
Our hotel. Swanky.
Up for sunrise everyday.
Apple Cheeks diaper reveal ‘party.’ A new pattern was unveiled at the show by the ‘diaper fairy.’ These folks are fun. Meeting the families behind the products was humbling and inspiring.
What sort of tool was this? Motorized trike with out a saddle, not quite a Segue. Perplexed. Seen inside the Galt House.

Twelve hours after pulling in the home driveway and dragging my sample products into the house, I presented my business concept and my plea for some start up funds to a small group of lunch time supporters. Huntington recently started Entrepreneur Cafes. This lunch venue allows three business owners to present their ideas for 10 minutes each, and the dining guests vote on the idea they want to see be serviced by local company donations and the cash taken in for the meal. It is straight forward, and a great opportunity to make connections and generate ideas, as a presenter, or an attendee/diner.


I filled my large Thirty One utility tote with my things and put them in Brent’s GoGetters (a perfect fit), since we now have the PeanutShell on my Yuba (more on that later), and the legs interfere with cargo space. In my dress slacks, wedge heels and some light cold weather accessories, I slowly made my way across town. I wanted to arrive glistened, not sweaty. The bike parking was a sad situation, but I did spy a rack at the business next door. I was tempted to park there, but the access was complicated, and there were warning signs and security cameras. Not sure what business it was, but they didn’t seem welcoming to a wayward bike.

20121022-094302.jpgLocking my bike to itself in front of the main doors felt good enough for today.


We all know how frugal I am by now, right? When the woman signing people in asked if I wanted lunch, I saw it as an option and declined. I knew I wasn’t going to be paying to vote (it’s $15 total, $5 for the meal $10 for the vote) but to walk out without paying to drive, park, or eat…well, I felt pretty good. My expenses in Louisville were low too, taking advantage of comped meals, groceries I brought, drink coins provided by vendors, and sharing a hotel room.

The first two presenters at the Cafe were marvelous. They had notes, they were articulate, professional, organized. I was not. I had a really great executive summary with a short bio, all on one page for conciseness. I knew so many people in the room, who were sent by someone who supports my idea, or came to support me because they know me, and they want to see Kith & Kin Junction alive in Huntington. There were other people I knew there as well, because this is a small town and I have lived here six years, and others I knew only by Facebook groups, email communications or phone calls. It was great to meet everyone. There was really no reason for me to be tripping over my own tongue and changing colors like a chameleon, or going from glistening to the clammy sweatiness I became. I just don’t present well. One on one, no problem, stand up and speak to the room, not so much.

Despite not presenting well, the vote fell in my favor. Thank you everyone! What does that mean? I recall I am eligible for some consulting services, a print banner and some money generated from the lunch, but the details have not been sent my way as of yet. Once they are, I plan to pounce on my paperwork and wade through the beginnings of opening a business. Scarey stuff, but it feels good to be here.

L to R: Thomas McChesney with Huddleston Bolen (a sponsor), me :), Ursulette Wells with Unlimited Futures (the organizing agency), and Gail Patton also with Unlimited Futures.

After the meeting, I high tailed it back home and dragged my drenched self upstairs so Brent could get to work. He missed class one day while I was gone because Oliver developed a fever and some respiratory issues. Then he stayed home so I could present and not take the germ factory to lunch. He has been so supportive of Kith & Kin Junction, but neither of us are certain how this two working parents thing will play out. It seems to be you or me right now, and not both and all, or us.

Speaking of both and us, Brent and I are taking the Amtrak to Charlottesville, VA on Friday. Without our children (or our bikes because of the lack of roll on service for the Cardinal line). This will be our first time away in nearly nine years. We have very few dates as it is (all our dates have been posted on this blog in the last year, can you recall many?) My youngest sister is coming down to stay with the heirs and we are adventuring off to somewhere we have never been and where we don’t know a single soul. I have a light optional agenda picked out (theatre, walking tours, art galleries, cyclocross race) and can’t yet find any affordable bikes to rent ($55/day per bike is not affordable!). If you know anyone, want to meet up, have suggestions, etc., I’d love to hear! We might be going out alone, but we really do like company.


A Departure (of Huntington, of unemployment, of bikey things)

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Tomorrow (Sunday) I leave for three days, all on my lonesome, for Louisville, KY. There, I hope to meet up with shop owners, merchandisers, and industries leaders. While, my reputation has grown for family cycling, my working background is in non-profit youth services, and my educational/working degree is centered on fine art, I am venturing in a new direction. Did you expect anything less?

Brent has Q&A games he plays with people repeatedly. With children, he loves to ask, “What is your favorite thing in the whole wide world?” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asks the same children time and again, and gets a quick chuckle out of their evolving answers. “Gold.” “A paper airplane.” With me, he often asks “What would you do in that space?” “What would you put in that empty store front?” And my answer is always, “a family-community center.”

My heart and soul have been fixed on developing a resource space for the community. A place where people gather, play, and learn together. A family friendly space that offered up the riches of children’s museums and the freshness of a botanical garden, without the memberships and entrance fees. A center where you could borrow toys, take classes, sip smoothies with your friends, and check out materials that supported a healthier, wiser planet, community, and lifestyle.

Here in Huntington I am choosing to combine my love of community service with retail. Initially I was struggling with advertising, marketing and the general idea of material goods, to which I don’t have a full grasp of understanding and generally avoid. Then I took stock of the things I do purchase. The things I was seeking to bring into my home, during a time in my life where I was cutting back on spending and eliminating multiple layers of clutter (visual, physical, time, emotional). I realized I was purchasing better quality products, that were made from natural materials, could be reused, and were cultivating a healthier future for our family and community. These same products were conversation points with strangers and friends. “Where did you find ____ (pick any: those cloth diapers, that klean kanteen, a cloth pad, your Moby wrap, the kid’s sandwich bags)?”

For our region, the answer is often “online.” The second most common answer, is “this little shop where I ______ (pick one: used to live, visit family, took a vacation, went for the weekend).”

This was an opportunity. This week I finally announced my intentions of organizing a natural family retail-resource. It won’t be a community mecca, but it will be a quaint, family friendly space that has the material needs this community is seeking combined with the educational, social space that will provide fellowship. My intention is to allow the retail side support the services and resources, so they can be offered for free.

Kith & Kin Junction is in the pen and paper stage of development. I have outlined the following pitch and will be presenting my concept at Huddleston Bolen (611 3rd Avenue, Huntington) Wednesday October 17 at noon. Please join us for the Entrepreneurs’ Cafe lunch, and the opportunity to support a project that has the potential to return the investment to the thousands of families and their friends in the Tri-State region. Just being there demonstrates a desire for this store. It will help me connect with you and your needs. Purchasing lunch for $15 will also give you a vote. $5 for your meal, $10 to the winning presenter. Yes, I am asking for your help, and I will be asking again.

Kith & Kin Junction concept:

Kith & Kin Junction is a new business endeavor for the Tri-State region, focused on providing pregnancy and parenting resources to families, providers, educators, and the community. This limited liability company (llc.) retail location supports a strong community service and education component that is currently established through agencies, health care workers, midwives and doulas, art centers, sensory therapist, libraries, referral agencies, child care providers, Success by 6 initiatives, wellness centers, individuals, and parents. The retail shop will carry materials such as breast feeding supplies (bras, covers, pads, pillows, pumps, storage containers), reusable diapering supplies (covers, cloth inserts, wet bags, diaper detergents), natural, sustainable items (glass bottles, stainless steel storage, wood and mineral teethers), reusable menstrual care products, baby wearing merchandise, early literacy education materials, laboring tools, and books. A community room would be made available to all partnering agencies and individuals for play groups, workshops, education, coffee dates, parties, and private classes.

The space anticipates six phases to include:

  1. merchandise, children’s art gallery and community resource publications
  2. rental services (diapers, breast pumps, baby wearing, birthing tubs, balls) and community room
  3. lending library (toys, books, videos)
  4. home consultation and hospital visits (lactation support, bra sizing, community services)
  5. expansion of classes, indoor and outdoor sensory play spaces, pick up and delivery diaper services (by bicycle, of course!)
  6. partnership with a wellness food provider

Every phase will incorporate many established community agencies and resources. The directive is to support the current operations of the community. For example, in phase one, community resource lists will be exhaustive and shared with Tri-State Family magazine and other local publications. Merchandise will be tailored to meet the needs most in demand by providers and families (gathered by attending the numerous support groups in our region, talking to providers and surveying the community). The children’s art gallery will be a professionally finished exhibition of local children creations who participate in any number of classes (Dream Watercolor, Renaissance, Huntington Museum of Art, public and private schools), individuals, and child care providers. The gallery will embellish the site to reflect the children and families who are utilizing services and merchandise.

So, it is with leaving this information to you, that I leave for Louisville tomorrow. I am attending an industry trade show/expo where I will return with sample products and brands, a wealth of knowledge and new relationships. You can follow my progress in this endeavor on Twitter (@KithKinJunction) or Facebook, as my husband just picked out a new black iPhone 4s for me today, and I hooked Kith & Kin Junction up with its own accounts (logo is in beta). I enjoy the behind the scenes stuff, so maybe you do as well.

Bicycling and simple (ahem…we all know it’s not always simple) living family things are still under A Simple Six, and the business will carry its own weight elsewhere. I even registered a domain (currently directs you to Brent’s website) www.kithkinjunction.com. Hope this isn’t too confusing. I think it is appropriate to separate them at their core, but have them intersect where they affect my family and I the most.

Shew, I was so nervous about sharing all this with you today. I am all ears and eyes for suggestions and ideas, anytime.


Some bikey updates that will read like a sales flyer:
While I am away, Brent is carfree with four kids! He’s getting some help from my dad and our friends.

Brent’s mtb is on loan to friends for the week, and they promised to come borrow my Yuba too.

I ordered a breadbasket for my cargo bike, and the very generous reader Nicole, has taken it upon herself to make a custom liner for the basket. Both will be here later this week, and installed! I can’t wait to show you all, because she is also writing the tutorial for AS6 & Yuba!

Elliot must have grown an inch or two. He rode the 24in bike for the first time this week. It was a big transition for him, not just for size, but this bike has gearing. We did a two mile ride and worked on listening and feeling the shift of the rear derailleur. This may change his life.

Brent’s been off the bike for just over a week now. He had a vasectomy, and despite my pleading with him to let me courier him around on the Yuba deck, I shuttled him about in the van. Made for an interesting week, and some funny posts on Facebook. “Was downtown in the van, couldn’t find parking, drove home and returned on the bike. #truestory” He promised he would write up a blog post about his surgery and how it has affected his bicycle riding. I will hold him to it.

List of bikey things for sale…stop now, unless you want to be solicited to even more than you already have…

If you are in the market for a Bobike Junior seat, ours is for sale. Installed and then never used (bought another Yuba instead). $175, free shipping in the USA. I was going to work up a Craig’s Listing or Ebay post, and might yet.

When the L 29″ GT Korakoram mtb returns next weekend, it is going on the market as well. $500, includes the extra road tires. Again, might get that up on a listing site, but I like you all, and this is easier. Not a thing wrong with it, we just bought another Yuba :)

Oh, and while I am at it, we have a beautiful vintage Olmo that needs a bottom bracket and maybe some other things. If I can figure out enough about it, it’s for sale too. It’s been sitting on the fireplace mantle too long.

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