This month’s Badass Women in Business should be a familiar face. She’s been rocking the Content Editor gig here at Travel + Trust & Wanderlust for a while now, and has become a crucial ingredient to the evolving-world of this site. Not only is she a badass writer and editor, she’s got her own apparel company that’s in the midst of going big! Everyone, meet Kelsey!
Please state your name and where you live (at the moment!)
Kelsey Rains Shirriff – I live in Portland, OR, U.S.A.
Tell me the story of Fir Sure and how you got started.
Well, I’ve always been a writer and absolutely love street art. I moved to Oregon about 2.5 years ago and noticed that Portland has a strong street art scene, especially with stickers. Oregon is also SUPER green – there are trees and lush plants everywhere, and the Douglas Fir is the state tree. I thought, you know what would be hilarious? A sticker that said “Fir Sure” on it. People would love that. I kept playing with the idea, then about a year and a half ago one of my friends got randomly killed in an armed robbery right in my neighborhood. As death tends to do, it forced me to re-examine some things, and I realized how badly I wanted to make Fir Sure real. So I started making stickers, putting them everywhere – and it’s just kind of snowballed since then.
What have you learned in the process that will stay with you forever?
- It takes a village.
- EVERYTHING is marketing, down to how you introduce yourself.
- Love and intention are more powerful than any other forces in life or business.
Do you believe more women should become entrepreneurs? What do you think women bring to the table?
Of COURSE I believe more women should become entrepreneurs. I would say that now, more than ever, we need innovators who can take an empathetic and creative eye to the world. It’s no secret that our civilization is facing huge issues, and the actions we take now will have a huge impact on humanity. Part of the Fir Sure mission is focused on creative problem solving – taking a creative approach to big obstacles in order to benefit EVERYONE. I think as women, we are especially empathetic to unique worldviews and in excellent position to take on those innovative roles, especially as we break down some of the sexist and societal barriers.
Can you dish out some advice for women who are thinking about starting something on their own?
There’s never necessarily going to be a perfect time, perfect place, perfect… anything. One thing I’ve dealt with personally in starting Fir Sure was the thinking “Well, I don’t have this, or that, or people might want THIS instead of THIS…” just wave it all out of your mind and start now with what you have. Part of the new business era (in my opinion) is actively utilizing your resources and community to achieve what you want. It truly takes a village – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to people asking if they would be willing to help me with x in exchange for y. It builds relationships, helps your business, helps their business (whatever that is), and ultimately makes everybody happier. Share what you know and what you have! It will get you so much further.
What are your plans for Fir Sure?
Well, the main goal right now is to just keep producing fun, wearable stuff that makes people smile. Right now I’m in the midst of getting Fir Sure into a bunch of stores in Oregon, and I hope to expand to Washington, British Columbia, and Colorado by October. That would be rad. Also, there’s been lots of brainstorming around the idea of a “Fir Show.” I love music and want to strengthen our Portland music community, so I’m starting to plan that… hopefully for this fall, too.
What makes you the happiest about what you’re doing?
It’s really simple, but I love the smile Fir Sure puts on people’s faces when they see it. The whole point is to spread love, and I feel Fir Sure truly does that on some alternate level.
What’s something that you’re proud of yourself for doing? Being? Learning? Realizing?
I’m proud of myself for having the courage to come out with this completely random thing and just keep doing it. If you told me five years ago I’d be doing something like this, I’d have probably shriveled up in fear or laughed at the idea. Now I feel like I’m blooming, because I just keep doing it. I think that’s the biggest secret that creative people sometimes don’t realize – just keep doing it.
If you want to check out more of Kelsey’s brand Fir Sure, head over to her website by clicking here: Fir Sure