Meet Kelly & Andra, the brains behind the beautiful branding boutique – With Grace and Gold. Fast friends turned business partners, Kelly and Andra help businesses grow their creative dreams into flourishing businesses with authentic packaging and branding services. Andra (left) is the graphic designing heartbeat behind With Grace and Gold. When not creating brands and sitting at Caribou with Kelly, she is designing wedding stationery with Andra Delores Design. Kelly (right) has long had a passion for serving and encouraging women in business. After gaining experience in university-level teaching, career counseling, and business consulting, Kelly’s heart was filled with the launch of With Grace and Gold, where her goal is to instill a sense of confidence and business savvy in every Client. When she is not serving women in business, she is Guest Lecturing within a local university Business Department. Learn all about their heart behind their business, what personal style means to them, and how they stay true to themselves as business owners!
Full Name: Kelly Zugay + Andra Barkey
Age: Kelly, 27 + Andra, 24
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Current Title/Company: Kelly, Co-Founder and Brand Stylist + Andra, Co-Founder and Brand Designer at With Grace and Gold
How long have you been a full-time Creative?
Kelly: I have been a full-time Creative for two months! I feel really blessed to be able to pursue what I love as a full-time career. Prior to becoming a full-time Creative, I was a college Career Counselor and Instructor. Along the way, I was drawn to anything and everything creative – but it wasn’t until I formed a friendship with Andra that I realized my potential to wholeheartedly pursue design and branding. I’m in love with being a full-time Creative, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Andra: My career as a full-time Creative actually began immediately following College graduation! I started my first full-time business at age 21, designing Wedding Stationery at Andra Delores Design. It has been 3 years since I’ve been a full-time Creative, and while it can be hard at times, it is by far the most fulfilling challenge! Kelly and I created our business ‘officially’ in October, so now I create at With Grace and Gold and Andra Delores Design
What is your day-to-day work routine like?
Kelly: I wake up around 8 AM for a quick workout, then “meet” Andra on Google Hangout for a Strategy Call at 9 AM. We live across the Wisconsin-Minnesota border from one another, so meeting online is quickest and easiest for us. During our Strategy Call, we discuss our plan for the day – our priorities, our projects, and everything we need to accomplish. We work hard all day long and try to wrap up at 5 PM every day, but when you love what you do as much as we do – it can be tough to put work away!
Andra: I usually wake up around 6:30, which to my family, probably sounds crazy; I’ve never been a morning person! With running two small businesses, I do all of my Wedding Stationery work in the morning, so that Kelly and I can focus full-time on With Grace and Gold during our normal work hours! While each day looks a little different, we usually spend our morning catching up on emails and smaller tasks, and leave the afternoons for client work. I leave my evenings open for my husband, family, friends, and let’s be real – Netflix! In my 3 years as a full-time creative, I’ve learned that burn-out is a very real thing, and spending quality time with others refreshes me!
Best part about being a business owner?
Kelly: For me, the best part about being a business owner is having the freedom to be – unapologetically – exactly who I am. During my career, I was often made fun of for my petiteness and my high-pitched voice. After losing my confidence and reaching rock bottom, being a business owner has helped me to bounce back in such a refreshing way. It has given me an opportunity to share who I am – to share my gifts and talents, and to encourage other women to do the same. For me, there is nothing better than being able to lift people up – to share your story and say, “I overcame this obstacle, and I know you will too!” (Another amazing bonus? Being able to wear red lipstick, top knots, and maxi dresses – just because!)
Andra: Freedom! I love that my day and life looks exactly how I want it to look! While being a business owner can be tough at times, and feel like the opposite of freeing, I know that ultimately, I have the choice to do what I do! This is truly what I was made to do, and it feels amazing knowing that I am doing what I was made for! Using your talents and gifts to help and grow other women in business is truly the most ultimate feeling!
What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?
Kelly: Honestly, I’m not sure if there is any advice I wish I would have received before I got started. In the end, I believe everything has worked out so perfectly! Andra has been an inspiration to me throughout my journey as a business owner and is always saying, “You’re doing it! You’re a business owner!” She has not only been a best friend – but an amazing encourager along the way. I’m learning so much from her experience in business, and we’re learning so much as a partnership, too!
Andra: Reach out to others! Working with your BFF Is amazing, and it helps me realize that we are truly there as inspiration, encouragement, and plain-ol’ help for each other! While we are a partnership, Solopreneurs can benefit from reaching out to others as well! When I first started as a business owner, I was nervous to ask for help and as a result, I felt overwhelmed. As I connected with more women in business, I realized that we are all in this together. Reach out, make connections, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help!
What is the key to making a fool proof, creative, yet professional outfit?
Kelly: For me, the recipe for a creative, yet professional, outfit is: a basic and professional piece, a piece with personality, and a great accessory. Because I spent several years wearing business casual, I am savoring the balance of “creative” and “professional” I am able to have today!
Andra: I’m all about wearing the basics, and pulling it together with a killer pair of shoes, and some cute accessories! Being in a basic pair of skinny jeans and basic top or blouse allows me to feel comfortable – which is key – but when I’m going out to meet a Client or grab coffee with a friend, I know that I can put on a high heel, some gold accessories, and pink lipstick – voila! My basic outfit is instantly professional and chic. Plus, I believe there is power in a good pair of high heels… or it might have something to do with me marrying a very tall man!
Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?
Kelly: For a well-balanced closet, I recommend great basics (a grey or black blazer, dark denim, basic or modestly patterned tops) and pieces that reflect your personality and help you to feel confident and stylish. I also have an obsession with rompers and maxi dresses, because they’re “all-in-one” outfits; I can’t help but feel put-together!
Andra: Lots of neutrals, and lots of accessories! Lately, I’ve loved having the ability to add color where I want it in my wardrobe! While I do wear a bright piece every once in awhile, I love having a neutral palette of clothes – black, grey, nude, light pink, white – that I can work off of to create interesting outfits! Plus, accessories are an easy way to make anything ‘you!’