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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

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Growing as you Go with Kari Jo Kelso

Guys, this is a big deal. Today we welcome Kari Jo Kelso of Rosebud’s Tees to the podcast!

Kari accidentally started her business six years ago after she graduated from veterinary school. She was looking for a side hustle to help fund her air travel back home to visit family and while as she always loved drawing, she simply googled one day how to get one of her sketches on a t-shirt. 


After taking baby steps for the past five years, 2021 was the year Kari Jo was able to officially go part-time and now use both her creative outlet with her t-shirts as well as her degree in veterinarian medicine. 

Kari Jo is such an inspiration and I know you’re going to love the wisdom she drops during this episode!

Key Takeaways

  • Kari Jo was able to start her business with minimum start-up cost. After a year of printing just a few tees at a time, she was able to invest more money in inventory. Although she says it was scary, it was an organic way for her to grow her business without a huge investment of capital up front.  Kari says that the first inventory investment was scary for her, but she took the risk when she had built up some savings and knew she was in a place in her life that making this investment made sense.
  • “I just loved that everybody knew everybody and you got your news from Hardees’…and the farmers are in the corner drinking their coffee. For me that was very nostalgic, and I missed walking into a place and just knowing people,” Kari Jo shares what she loves about small-town life.
  • “I didn’t start Rosebud’s with a niche in mind; I made space for creativity,” Kari shares that a lot of the small-town designs come to her naturally, “If you over consume content, it just waters down your ideas.”
  • A blank day on the calendar might look like a wasted day, but for Kari Jo she schedules those when she needs a day to get creative inspiration. Going for a walk, sitting outside, spending time with her puppy, Bucket, all help Kari Jo free up head space to get new, creative idea for Rosebuds.
  • “Take time out of your schedule to analyze your data,” Kari Jo reflects on the importance of taking a look at the ebbs and flows of your business to know what resonates with your audience and where to channel efforts going forward. Anticipating success or popular products isn’t always easy, but doing small launches and sneak peeks with her social media followers can help Kari Jo gauge popularity for new products and designs.
  • “The profession is going through a wake-up call. There’s a problem here, and we need to address it.” We end the conversation discussing the major hardships facing the veterinary community, which is Kari Jo’s degree field. The mental load for veterinarians being on-call at all hours and having very little work/life balance is extremely taxing, and younger veterinarians in the field are shining a light on the need to rethink the field of practice.

Shop Rosebud’s Tees

Show your small-town, rural love with apparel and products from Rosebuds Tees!  Follow Kari Jo on Instagram, Facebook, and visit her store Online

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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

Meet the blogger

Best Year Yet!

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