Updated: Apr 27
A conversation with Karen on The Climapreneur Show, the founder of the eco-friendly and ethical e-commerce site Kind Shop about her inspiring journey to make a positive impact on the planet. An empathetic entrepreneur who wants to connect with other social-minded entrepreneurs, together they can create a better world!
The Journey Begins..
Karen’s journey to forming Kind Shop was not an easy one. The story begins with adversity as most great stories do and Karen charting her own path to overcome the obstacles put in her way.
A successful business analyst in the e-commerce world, Karen was flying high before her health rapidly began to deteriorate and she was diagnosed with several debilitating conditions. Medically retired before 40 Karen was left to determine what her next steps would be.
This sudden change not only impacted her career but also had an impact on her relationships. Friendships became strained as people struggled to deal with the reality of Karen’s conditions. However, being the optimist and people person that she is, Karen reached out to others that were dealing with ill health and hardships in their lives. Karen became part of this new community, where people supported each other on this stage of life’s journey.
As a form of therapy and to be productive, community members created arts and crafts to find purpose in their difficult situations. Being the proactive and caring person that she is, Karen wanted to use her expertise and skills from the business world to help these talented individuals create a livelihood for themselves.
Karen decided to create an online platform where these makers and creators could sell their crafts and support each other; Conscious Crafties. Karen poured her heart and soul into the company, using the knowledge she already had and learning new skills on the way such as how to build a website.
Due to Karen’s dedication, Conscious Crafties took off and became a big success. Not only as a place where these creative entrepreneurs could display their unique creations and products but as an online community where they could meet and support each other on the journey.
Unfortunately, due to Karen's caring nature and passion for helping others she put her own needs and health in jeopardy. The stress and pressure of taking sole responsibility for the company became too much and Karen’s health declined further. She decided to put the company up for sale and carefully choose new owners that understood the spirit and heart of Conscious Crafties.
Karen took a year off to focus on her health, after caring for others Karen needed to learn how to care of herself.
Creating a Kind Marketplace
This time gave Karen space to consider what her next steps would be. Given the success of Conscious Crafties, Karen decided to use this experience to help others make the world a better place. She decided to create a marketplace where socially minded entrepreneurs could sell their ethical and sustainable products. Karen wanted to help her Kindpreneurs connect with conscious consumers who want to use their wallets to make the world a greener, kinder place.
The key difference between Conscious Crafties and the Kind Shop is that Karen had learned that she needed to reach out and ask others for help and not try to do everything herself.
With this in mind, Karen created the Kind Club, a place where the entrepreneurs could come together, share stories and collaborate with each other. Kind classes are also provided for the Kindpreneurs to teach them different skills such as marketing, social media and branding. Karen teaches some classes herself but also partners with experts to share the responsibilities.
Kind Shop offers mindset classes, knowing how easy it is to get overwhelmed and burnt out with the demands of running a business, Karen wanted to ensure her Kindpreneurs didn't neglect their own mental health.
By promoting self-care, community care and planet care, The Kind Shop has created a truly valuable marketplace that wants to make the online world a kinder place.
A piece of kind advice
‘Only become an entrepreneur if you are completely invested in making the world a better place ‘.
Listen to the full episode here: #27 There were so many times that I just thought I just can't do this anymore | Karen Thomas