About Kate: entrepreneur, author, pop culture commentator
the Short Story:
Hi! I’m Kate Kennedy, a Chicago-based entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and pop culture commentator. After spending almost 7 years in corporate marketing and advertising, my life changed one day when I decided to put “turn off your curling iron” on my doormat so I wouldn’t burn my apartment down. I started selling them and named my business Be There in Five after my favorite thing to text when I’m running back inside to see if [said curling iron] is off. The business took off, we sold thousands and thousands of doormats reminding people of things they forget about when running out the door, and about a year in, I left my corporate marketing job. Since then, I’ve ramped up, ramped down, pivoted, added/subtracted products, and worked hard to outsource a great deal of the process so I could focus on other creative projects while having the freedom of self-employment. So I wrote a #1 new release book about my love/hate relationship with social media (Twinkle, Twinkle, Social Media Star), started doing pop culture commentary that led to a pop culture/influencer focused podcast (Be There in Five Podcast) that charts weekly in its category. I like to pair my years of corporate market research experience with my self-employed levels of content consumption to create easily digestible breakdowns and analyses of pop culture events, Powerpoint-style. Recently, I started working with more freelance clients to lend my experience in marketing, branding, copywriting, and strategy to other small and midsized brands. The best way to keep up with me, my current projects, and random pop culture commentary is on Instagram, @bethereinfive.
THE LONG STORY:
Kate Kennedy is a Chicago-based entrepreneur, author, and podcast host who is best known for inventing the 'remindoormat.' In 2014, as a hobby, she decided to paint "turn off your curling iron" on her doormat in an attempt to not burn down her apartment. Realizing that this was an innovation in a somewhat stale category that only contained welcome mats that see you into your home, she decided to create a line of products designed to see you on your way out. She named it Be There in Five as a salute to people like her, who tend to run out the door and forget important things in the process. Starting with 'turn off' reminders for hair and kitchen appliances, don't forget your lunch, and telling people they look great today, Be There in Five launched a line of reminder, affirmation, and custom door mats for people on the go. A couple months in, the mats took off, and after selling thousands within the first year, Kate had to quit her corporate marketing job to run the business full-time.
She and her mom painted the first 1,000 doormats by hand out of their living rooms and now have grown to an online store & wholesale distributor with over 40 hand painted & screen printed products made possible by a great team of artisans in downtown Chicago. Be There in Five Mats are always available on bethereinfive.com and Etsy (where SKUs are tested and more customizations are allowed), and seasonally sell on Wayfair, select Nordstrom stores and other retailers nationwide. Be There in Five has been featured in Glamour, Good Housekeeping, RealSimple, HuffPost, BuzzFeed, Self, Martha Stewart, and many more.
In 2017, Kate expanded the business to allow for commissioning custom artwork and prints on Be There in Five's Etsy site, which will soon be added to bethereinfive.com. She also started offering small business consulting, for other entrepreneurs who are in the same position she once was in, having to figure out how to quickly and cost effectively scale a handmade business. She specializes in business naming, branding, story telling, social media marketing, design, and small business operational process improvements and will be opening up consulting hours again in late 2018/early 2019. Read more about consulting opportunities here.
Most recently, after having difficulty dealing with the necessity of online self-promotion for a small business to survive, Kate was inspired to return to her roots; writing. Growing up, Kate was an amateur poet; starting with winning the Richmond Times-Dispatch poetry contest at the age of 13, followed by a lifetime of rhyming birthday cards, toasts, speeches, and even college essays. She’s always wanted to write a children’s book to utilize this skill set as an adult, and upon finding the humor in the advice she was seeking in order to succeed on social media, she decided nursery rhymes needed a little updating. She wondered, what if a mom sarcastically explained to her child the ridiculous ways we all use the internet, told by swiping through the social media accounts of beloved nursery rhyme characters? Would Mary have a Little Scam? Would Little Bo-Peep have a GoFundMe for her lost sheep? Would Humpty Dumpty film his egg-falls-off-wall-stunts? Could there be a parody book on this topic for a source of laughter, but also come full circle about what’s important and serve as a broader piece of social commentary? After taking several months to write formal submissions, do market analyses, and research the publishing industry, Twinkle, Twinkle, Social Media Star was signed by Ulysses Press in March 2018 and published in November 2018. It debuted as the #1 New Release in multiple categories on Amazon and is currently being rolled out to retailers nationwide, at a bookstore near you. For more about the book, click here.
She’s sure you’re thinking, huh, that’s a lot of jobs. Can’t she pick one? She often thinks this herself, and is the first to tell you she never expected to venture out of her corporate job to pursue the flooring biz (every parent’s dream!). But when life teaches you that you’re capable of things that weren’t within your realm of thinking, it’s impossible to continue arguing for your limitations; to put your career in a box. If one can move from PowerPoints to painting rugs, why can’t rugs translate into engaging your following with pop culture commentary, then turn into a podcast, and inspire a book? Kate is a big believer in your business pursuits and brand sharing one common denominator; your genuine interest. For her, this approach led her back to her roots, to something she loved but thought was dormant and void of commercial use; her poetry, almost 20 years later. She loves to share her story, a jungle gym of a career evolving in real-time, to encourage women to harness their curiosity, pursue a side hustle, and to let life show you that it will exceed your plans if you allow it to.
Kate has a marketing degree from the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech, is a former Black Belt (Six Sigma, not karate), and prior to starting Be There in Five, was an Ogilvy Award nominated market researcher, spending 6 years in the field of advertising effectiveness for major retailers and CPG manufacturers.
For speaking opportunities, press inquiries, podcast advertising and/or appearances, please use our contact form below!
ABOUT THE BE THERE IN FIVE PODCAST
As a person that often texts their friends "Be There in Five" when she just got in the shower, Kate Kennedy (entrepreneur, self-proclaimed millenni-old, and unofficial pop culture reporter) started a company that aimed to solve a major problem of likeminded people running out the door; wondering if they left their curling iron or straightener on. Concerned for the fire safety of her unpunctual peers, Kate founded her company Be There in Five, whose claim to fame is their proprietary 'remindoormats.'
Now, 4 years and thousands of doormats later, the only thing left burning is Kate's desire to share her thoughts on pop culture, TV, celeb gossip, and the '90s zeitgeist, topics which she has become well-known for ranting about on Instagram. Join her while she podcasts her way through the lonely days of self-employment, chatting about things that she says, quote "are delightfully unimportant" on iTunes and her podcast site.
Be There in Five the podcast has broken the top 200 charts within Society & Culture Podcasts and currently has over 200 5 star reviews! For sponsorship information, please contact us here.
More to come in 2019!
About Be There in Five
Be There in Five started as an Etsy shop with a simple mission: reminding people of the important things they forget when running out the door. To remember their lunch, that they look amazing today, and to [most importantly] not burn down their house. Traditionally, door mats welcome guests in your home, but I wanted to create something unique that saw you on your way out.
While these door mats were the start, Be There in Five means more to me than selling products. It's a tongue-in-cheek representation of not having to be perfect; an intentional tribute to one of my biggest flaws. It's for those of you like me, who always run a little behind, pay way too much attention to detail and try to be everywhere at once. It's for those of us that look pretty together but endure a comically hectic process in order to appear that way. I want to relieve some of the pressure we put on ourselves, to find some humor in the organized chaos. I want to make it okay not to be a DIYer, a fitness goddess or a Martha Stewart in the making. I won't pretend it didn't take me 4 months to figure out how to get 4 words on a rug. I am a big believer in using the internet for inspiration, not to feel inadequate, and I want this to be a relatable brand that reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously.
So Be There in Five is dedicated to all the thoughts and things, people and places, ideas and ideals that make me a slave to this phrase.
And to all the people out there like me, whose curiosity creates an ill concept of time.