*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Mandy, Kansas
“I kept thinking, ‘When I’m 80, will I regret not trying to open this place?’ And the answer was yes, every time. If we opened, and it closed in a year, at least I can say I tried.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: This sounds petty and silly, but I’m passionate about having fun! And I want others around me to have fun! I’ve always been the socializer, the party planner, the gathering of people for a good time. I just took that passion a step further to open a permanent structure for all people to have a good time!
Because we live in rural Kansas, fun isn’t always prominent all around us in the form of concerts, activities, and shops like in bigger cities. So I’m also passionate about finding fun and beauty in the little things all around us and bringing activities to rural north/central Kansas.
Kettle hosts 2-4 activities every month, most of them free. This is in the form of live music, wine and beer tastings, street dances, art classes, private themed dinners, and murder mystery nights. Our family also loves to support those around us who bring fun to our area like festivals, music, pottery and paint classes, reading programs, fun walks, etc. If you look in unfamiliar, non-obvious places, there is always fun to be had no matter where you live!
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I grew up in rural western Kansas. My brother and I grew up in a special small town where everyone knew everyone and we had two supportive parents. We grew up with my parents hosting block parties, sports parties after big sporting events, and summer days outside with our friends—maybe that’s where my love of fun and socializing came from! We also had to find our own fun in our small town, which instilled in me a passion to not be complacent with “a boring day.” If you wanted to do something, you had to go out and find something to do!
Before my senior year of high school, my family moved to Iowa, two states and about 10 hours away from the town I grew up in Kansas. The town was by no means big, but about 5 times bigger than the town I grew up in. This was hard. And it really forced me to grow up and make good decisions for myself. I could have moped around and just skirted by until I got done with my senior year. But I made the decision to play in the band, do school activities and make friends. I’m certain this helped my maturity level and personal drive immensely before I headed to college, where I completed a bachelor’s degree of the arts in corporate communication at Simpson College in Iowa.
Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?
A: When my husband and I were thinking about opening Kettle, we researched for about a year. Talked to other restaurant owners; went to every coffee shop when we traveled; looked at every price imaginable; talked to financial services and looked at our own finances; talked to other downtown business owners, beer distributors, and countless other people to do our due diligence on what we were jumping into. I wrote a very detailed business plan and talked to every bank in town. And although all of this was helpful, you can never FULLY prepare yourself for owning a business. It’s hard, but it’s fulfilling as well. Prepare to cry, laugh, pull your hair out, be humbled, be irate, be exhausted, be exhilarated, and all the emotions in between! It’s a serious up-and-down journey!
But you know what ultimately led to me quitting my very stable paycheck at a great job and opening a completely weird restaurant in a small rural town in Kansas? YOLO. You only live once. I kept thinking, “When I’m 80, will I regret not trying to open this place?” And the answer was yes, every time. If we opened, and it closed in a year, at least I can say I tried. At least it wouldn’t be eating at me every day with a cloud of regret hanging over my head. I’m one of the brave ones. I took that leap of faith, and so far, we’re still in business and people seem to like us! And if we close tomorrow, I’d have no regrets. And that makes for a more fulfilling life.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: The respect, appreciation, and love of women. Most everyone loves and appreciates a woman in their life. Whether that’s your mom, a friend, or sister. But respect is the key word here. Are women respected enough for them to be “trusted” with a hard job? Are they respected enough to be paid equally? Are they respected enough for their wisdom that they are offered positions over a man? And will they be respected enough so they don’t have to worry about sexual advances and being uncomfortable in the workplace and beyond? We’ve come a long way, baby, but we have so far to go!
Support your fellow sisters, ladies! There is no room for hate, pettiness, jealousy, or sabotage in feminism.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and I’d love to know you and any comments you may have for me!
Kettle Instagram: Instagram.com/kettleclub
Kettle Facebook: facebook.com/kettlebeloit
Kettle Web site and blog: kettlebeloit.com
Mandy Instagram: Instagram.com/mymandy14
Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you!