My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Mentor Moments

'We Had a Feeling of Failure And Guilt' Says This Founder Who Shut Down Her Company and Relaunched With the Help of Her Mentor

Kelly Love needed help rebuilding her company after she and her co-founders pulled their non-toxic cleaning products from shelves. But a new acquaintance proved to be a valuable resource -- and friend.
'We Had a Feeling of Failure And Guilt' Says This Founder Who Shut Down Her Company and Relaunched With the Help of Her Mentor
Image credit: Branch Basics
Entrepreneur Staff
Deputy Editor
6 min read

In the Women Entrepreneur series Mentor Moments, female founders sit down to chat with their own mentors (and us!) about how and why the relationship developed, and the lasting impact it’s had on their careers.

In 2015, Kelly Love and her co-founders at Branch Basics -- a Minneapolis-based company that makes non-toxic cleaning products -- made a devastating decision. They hit pause on their company, pulled their products from the shelves and laid off their staff. The business was enduring some growing pains, and Love and her team needed to revisit their strategic partnerships and firm up their product lineup. Quietly, they began the hard work of building new partnerships from scratch and working slowly toward relaunch. When a friend introduced Love to Katie Forrest, the co-founder of protein-bar brand Epic Provisions (which was acquired by General Mills in 2016), there was an instant connection. Love found a fast friend and confidant in Forrest, but she also discovered a wealth of business-building knowledge.

Women Entrepreneur: How did you two first meet?

Kelly Love: My co-founders and I were trying to relaunch our company, and we needed partners to help with operations and finance and the business side of it. We’re really passionate about health, but we just weren’t super business savvy. Plus, two of us were pregnant. So a mutual friend suggested that I talk to Katie, who has so much amazing experience, and I'd heard she had a great team. When we got on the phone, it was just a natural, instant kind of fit. We had a lot in common -- it turned out we lived down the street from each other, we’re the same age, and we were both pregnant with our first child.

Katie Forrest: Yours was due a day before mine!

KL: It was just like, Whoa, this is crazy.

WE: What was the timeline of your relaunch?

KL: At the end of 2015, my co-founders and I discontinued our products and basically shut down. We had some supply chain issues and decided to discontinue. We needed to reformulate, find new partners. A year and a half into that process, I met Katie.

RELATED: 'Mentorship is a Conversation for Life' Says the Mentor of This Social Entrepreneur.

KF: I had been a huge fan of the product for so long and then it just disappeared off the shelf. So when our mutual friend introduced us I was like, “I want to know where the product went!”

KL: Well, we hadn’t announced that we were coming back.

WE: As you were working toward the relaunch, how did your relationship with each other evolve?

KF: Probably a month and a half after we both had our babies we talked and decided to go for a walk. We both needed to get out of the house. And we did connect primarily on babies at that time.

KL: We talked a lot about motherhood, but through the lens of a mother that’s an entrepreneur and is running a company and has employees. No question was off limits. “How do you do this and that and when do you pump and do you still go to meetings?” A lot of basic questions and insights that I was able to gain.

KF: I don’t mean to undermine how amazing Kelly is, but her kid is so much easier than my kid. Her kid sleeps, takes naps and Kelly can work. My kid is like, Oh, you opened your computer? I’m going to come press on your keyboard! So, I’ve also gained a lot of advice from Kelly about how to operate as a mom.

RELATED: How This Subscription-Box Founder Got Her Mentor, the 'Hottest Ticket in Town,' to Invest in Her Company.

WE: Kelly, what are some parts of your business where Katie has been particularly valuable?

KL: I’m new to public speaking and Katie is a pro. So anytime something comes up or I have to put together a presentation, I’m like, Katie, what’s the best way to do this? It’s a very natural, organic relationship and mentorship. We don’t have set times to talk. As things come up, I’m comfortable asking her for advice and to hear about her own experience.

KF: For me, I’m not necessarily coming to Kelly for direct business advice -- we have such a big, built out team at Epic Provisions and I’m lucky to have a lot of internal resources. But there’s so much to learn from Kelly and her partners, just observing how they relaunched their new product. It’s taught me a lot, and I’ve been sending a lot of their content to our team, saying that this is how a scrappy, badass, successful business can relaunch and come out with authentic and meaningful content.

WE: Kelly, what makes you feel more set up for success this time around?

KL: Our issue in the past was nothing but a people problem -- from accountants to suppliers, different partners just did not pan out and caused problems. When we relaunched, we needed to make sure every partner was someone we wholeheartedly trust. And a lot of people look good on paper, but Katie encouraged us to wait. And I’m glad we did, because after declining one partnership, two weeks later the most awesome partners who we fully trust came into the picture.

RELATED: 'She Was One of My Business Idols,' Says This Fashion Entrepreneur About Her Mentor and Net-A-Porter Founder Natalie Massenet.

KF: Every business decision revolves around gut instinct. Gut is more powerful than any info a spreadsheet or data can give you. And I really tried to push Kelly to trust her instinct.

KL: It was what we needed to hear. When we had to let everyone go and shut down, it was just a really, really hard and awful time. We had a feeling of failure and guilt.

KF: It takes a lot of courage to start over. These girls were willing to try it again because it was important to them and their consumers. I don’t like saying they failed, because I don’t think they did.

More From Women Entrepreneur

Sexual Harassment

Women 'Stood Up'; Now It's Time for Men and Companies to Follow

#MeToo taught women that there's strength in numbers. Those numbers will rise if women's male co-workers and employers also get on board.
Women Leaders

What the Newly Elected Women in Congress Can Teach Us About Leadership

These four congresswomen are among those redefining what it means to be a woman with power.
Inspire Me Series

How to Keep Going When All the Signs Say 'Quit'

Luba founder/designer Hannah Payne shares how she launched her fashion line for a second time after life required her to put it on hold.
Leadership

Jada Pinkett Smith on the Persistence and Passion That Drives Her as an Entrepreneur

The actress and businesswoman shares her insights about success, creative collaborations and self-care

More from Entrepreneur

Kathleen, Founder and CEO of Grayce & Co, a media and marketing consultancy, can help you develop a brand strategy, build marketing campaigns and learn how to balance work and life.
Book Your Session

For a limited time only, get this bundle of Entrepreneur PressĀ® titles for less than $30 (60% OFF) on our bookstore when you use "LEAP" at checkout.
Buy Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur