00:00:00 Trish Calkins
And I don’t know, like maybe you can sit and think about a time where you were driving or cooking or doing something and. Thinking that you appreciated someone and or you’re laying in bed, but you didn’t get up and buy a gift for them or send them that text at that time because you were busy, right? And we’re all so busy and there’s so many options and what does that person want or need or like? And really the root of it is I just want you to know that you’re special.
00:00:30 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Welcome to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Kuehlhorn, and I’m excited to have you join me as I interview community members and business leaders from the communities. In which I lived, work and serve through my business Kooler Garage Doors. We’re going to bring you highlights on characters in our communities. Why? Because Community matters, and I want to know more about who is behind our business and leadership in order to understand and support the Community fabric that our relationships make up. And collectively, we can build stronger communities that support our lifestyles, our youth, and our health. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Kuehlhorn. And today I have entrepreneur Trish Calkins. Trish, thank you so much for joining.
00:01:20 Trish Calkins
Thanks, Matt. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here and yeah.
00:01:25 Matthew Kuehlhorn
It’s a blustery, snowy day out there, understand? You’re at a Home Office.
00:01:29 Trish Calkins
Yes, I am. So I hope you can’t hear the wind because it’s waddled out there.
00:01:34 Matthew Kuehlhorn
It is really wild. I’m curious, Trish, where did you grow up?
00:01:39 Trish Calkins
So I grew up in Littleton, which is outside of Denver. Yeah. And you, you had asked me yesterday of like, how that kind of formed who I am today. And it got me thinking a lot. And it really did form who I am today a lot. Because I actually was. Formed in that might say, sorry, I’m a little bit nervous. A lot of tragedy actually that happened to me when I lived in Littleton. And we all kind of know what Littleton is famous for, which is unfortunate. But when I was 15 my oldest brother passed away in a plane accident and and then nine months after that was the Columbine massacre that we all know about the school, one of the first school shootings. And that was a huge impact on our community. And where I lived and I think being 15. In 16 when those two. Things happened. It really sent me into this big depression. I was suicidal. I attempted suicide twice. I really struggled to find what the purpose of life was. And I think that was because I was struck so much with sudden death in just the first, you know, in those formative years of my life as a teenager. And so growing up in Littleton with kind of top in my later teenage years, I. It was a rough eight or nine years. But I did learn one thing through that as I was kind of getting through those depressed days and the one thing that really kind. Brought me out of those was doing something nice for someone else. That was the days that I couldn’t get out of bed. I would force myself to do something for someone else and that was the only way I could really get through. I hid my depression really well from my peers and people around me. Uh, but inside I was just waiting for my time to die. Which? It’s so. Hard to say out loud and and think right now. And we think of all the teenagers that we know and like how heartbreaking that is. But there’s just where I was. But then I was able to come out of it in my mid 20s by really just focusing on trying to do for others and it made my life better. Like we rise by lifting others, right? One of my favorite. So that’s kind of the story of where I grew up and how that formed me. Miles.
00:04:11 Matthew Kuehlhorn
I appreciate your willingness to share and vulnerability and it amazes me when I get into these conversations. And even just one of the reasons why these conversations happen is because we don’t know people’s back story, right? We might see a beautiful smile and you know, realm of quote UN quote success, but we don’t understand what’s happening. You know, under the hood if you will and. I just really appreciate your willingness to share because. You know, in this realm, we’ve gone through COVID years, there is mental health that’s starting to rise up in conversations. So the stigma is deteriorating a little bit, but it’s still there and and we don’t necessarily want to touch some of these topics. And so kudos to you. Thank you.
00:04:57 Trish Calkins
Thank you. Yeah, I am a huge advocate of. Really just living your truth and being honest and. There are so many kind, wonderful people out there that. Want us here armed, appreciate us and love us. And even when we can’t love ourselves, there are others that will love us. And and so I I try to have an open voice about that. So thanks for listening.
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00:06:03 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, yeah, tell me, how did the Gunnison Valley? Call you in and and how did you find it from Littleton into Gunnison Valley?
00:06:14 Trish Calkins
Yeah. So during those years of depression, between my late teens and early 20s, I was bouncing around between colleges and it actually gone to five. And I ended up in Breckenridge and fell in love with skiing. And my brother lived in Gunnison. He was a Western graduate and he just encouraged me to come check out Western to finally finish my degrees. I went to six schools. It took eight years. Um, and I did. I came here and I graduated from Western, and then I did move back to the Vale Valley in Summit County for a few years. But then I met my husband on a climbing trip and he lived here in Gunny. So. We decided once we got engaged that I would move back here because this is where we decided we the best place to raise a family.
00:07:01 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Beautiful. And and you have that family and the rest is history.
00:07:06 Trish Calkins
Yep. Yep. Exactly. I’m so glad we chose Gunnison and not Summit County, I have to say. Yeah.
00:07:13 Matthew Kuehlhorn
I love that. So you have my understanding is maybe a couple entrepreneurial pursuits.
00:07:21 Trish Calkins
I do, yes. Um, I’ve always been an entrepreneur and currently I do a few different things that I’m doing interior design in the valley and I work with a partner, Katie Huber. We have fine design, so I’ve been doing that for the last couple of years as well as I have a personal assistant job for a family up in Crested Butte. And now I am starting my. Feel like I found my purpose and I’m so excited about this. Our kindness chain is the name of this business and it is a simple subscription service. Online subscription gift service to make sending a gift of kindness simple yet really impactful. Hmm.
00:08:09 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Tell me a little bit more about that. That’s really, you know, I saw you make a few posts about that and caught my attention and I was like, OK, this is awesome and be something that I as a business owner could utilize in how we interact with our customers. Is this coming from? You know this this route of of serving others and you know bringing a little bit of sunshine and that kind of radiates back and. Is it rooted?
00:08:42 Trish Calkins
Yeah, so that’s kind of how it started was, it actually all started just September, so maybe six months ago I had sent a gift to a friend who had lost his dog and I woke up in the middle of the night and I was so excited for him to get it. And I just thought, you know, if I could just bottle up this feeling of how good it feels to give. Like, it’s so cool to get a gift, but to give one just for no reason other than to make them know that they’re appreciated. Just to me, it’s so powerful. And one thing I learned when I was coming out of that depression and doing these acts of kindness was kindness begets kindness. And the more that you do, it encourages and inspires people to do that as well. And so I just started thinking of how kindness creates this chain reaction. And I don’t know, like maybe you can sit and think about a time where you were driving or cooking or doing something and. Thinking that you appreciated someone and or you’re laying in bed, but you didn’t get up and buy a gift for them or send them that text at that time because you were busy, right? And we’re all so busy and there’s so many options and what does that person want or need or like? And really the root of it is I just want you to know that you’re special. And so I was thinking about this and I was like, this creates this chain reaction. And I was like a keychain. Everyone uses a keychain and has a key. Ane and appreciates that. And so that’s where I mean literally within 4 hours met in the middle of the night from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM. I had written out this entire business plan and started designing our product, which is simply one key chain. I just want it to be really, really simple and it’s a subscription service, so. Whenever you have that 2 minutes to input someone’s address, we you send it out for you. So I’ll show you. I have to keychain here. I don’t know if you’ll be able to see it on screen very well, but this is my my first prototype that I have. They’re in production right now. But it’s a pewter handmade keychain that I had made in Rhode Island. I designed it here. And about the design a little bit, it’s it’s hard to see on screen, probably, but I wanted to make it like a box because we all get trapped in our box of our business and our lives, and it’s so easy to just get consumed with that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re all here to live our lives and live our own purpose. But I made it hollow in the middle to show that we can kind of. Make space in our life for other people. And then this chain is because we’re creating this chain reaction of love and kindness. And so that’s another piece of the business as well is all of the subscribers will have the ability to see how many key chains they’ve sent out to others. They call it a key chain, but really this is like a piece of jewelry because it’s handmade. They’re not. Yeah, nothing, not like this cheap plastic thing, but. So they’ll be able to track how many they’ve sent out and then how many. Those people have sent out and how many of those people have sent out? And besides the key chains being sent out, we know that this is going to create inspiration for people to just do random acts of kindness and always and hopefully my dream is to bring a lot of joy and kindness to the world.
00:12:19 Matthew Kuehlhorn
00:12:20 Trish Calkins
Yes, it is. And you know, I feel like we’re so lucky that we live where we do. This community is truly my inspiration working in interior design. I get to work with a lot of locals on the the building side as well as a lot of second homeowners and the people that are drawn to this community. And sure, it is the most gorgeous place in the world to live, but it’s these people that have the biggest hearts I. I work one-on-one with. Katie by design partner and Mary might, one of my clients. They have the biggest hearts and truly just. Give and it inspires me to want to continue this and and I would love for. The specialness of our community, I believe, is because we’re all selfless and giving and wanting to do for others. That that’s my hope, is this chain reaction can feed out to the country and all around the country people can be starting to embody and live that life of kindness a little bit more and just bring a little bit more hope and a little bit more happiness everywhere.
00:13:33 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I it’s a beautiful mission. The timing is. Umm. Is is perfect. I mean, we’re seeing potentially more and more division than ever and this is starting to create these ripples of that connection of of bringing back this sense of Community, sense of belongingness. So I love.
00:13:54 Trish Calkins
It yeah, it thank you and it truly like the true reason that I want. Anyone to send one of these gifts just to make them know that they’re appreciated? And and then as they carry this daily and grab their keys, I hope it’ll remind them of that.
00:14:16 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah. Thrill of it. What might you share? And I’m trying to formulate the question, but for somebody that’s listening right now. Maybe they have a family member that. Is potentially dealing with depression. Or. Even more severe. Or maybe it’s them personally. From your perspective, what’s a gold nugget? That you’d want them to know in potentially a an action that they could take to. Help start spinning out of that or. Um, coming out of that?
00:14:59 Trish Calkins
Why that’s that’s a good question because it’s really hard as we know depression just create this vortex of just you just spiral down and down and down and it is a really hard thing to and out of. I guess the Golden Nugget would be that quote that I my favorite quote is we rise by lifting others and. So even the simple act of. Why texting someone and just telling them? What you love about them. Whether it’s their mother or their coworker or. And it doesn’t have to be cheesy like, oh I love you, it can be like with a coworker. It would be like you tell the dumbest jokes, and I really appreciate that. It makes my day better every day. You know something just little and and you’ll feel and you’ll feel something different than the despair. And you’ll feel the smile that you bring on their face. And that is the most powerful thing in my opinion. I I think kindness is even powerful than love because. Love encourages you to give and be kind and and that this kindness just. Makes you want to give more, and that’s the best way to receive.
00:16:23 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Beautiful. Beautiful. I hope that lands on somebody listening today and and can turn that around even in the tiniest amount because. It starts with just a tiny little ripple.
00:16:36 Trish Calkins
It really does. Yep. And that’s all it is. And that’s why this business that I’m starting is just so simple. It’s just one thing. And I wanted it to just be simple because it doesn’t have to be grandiose. It just has to be. Small little gesture, and it doesn’t have to be sending them a gift, it just has to be sending a text. We’re telling them just something to make them feel good. And then we can hopefully break this division because I agree. Like our country. Yeah, more and more divided.
00:17:07 Matthew Kuehlhorn
The symbolism that you put into this is really real, because the box. Is isolation. And that’s, that’s a. A component that you know has been exacerbated with COVID and lockdowns and these last few years where we relegate to meeting on zoom and. The the isolation component is also in that separation. And so, you know, again I love this symbolism. I think it’s really, really powerful and at the end of the day it is about making these connections whether it’s, you know, through utilizing your your service and setting a key chain or sending a simple text and just saying hey I see you. What are you excited about over the next few years?
00:17:59 Trish Calkins
Well, I’m really excited for this to actually launch because we are in our pre launch phase. Um and we actually sold out our pre launch phase which is exciting. So I have a wait list on on my website to try and figure out the interest in how many of these I need to purchase and capital I need to raise to buy the product. So figuring out all those, you know all of the Inns and outs of starting a new business is a lot. So that’s really exciting, but. As far as like the business goes, my next phase after I I start this launch is I want to turn it another kind of phase of it is called key chains, and it’s going to be focused on kids, kids key chains. And I want to be getting kids excited about giving and sharing, and they’ll still have the same ability to be able to track how many they’ve sent in. They’ll hit milestones that reward. Them. And to really instill with the children that this is the way of life and this is how we are stronger is by giving and making other people feel good. And actually my, my oldest son, James, he’s seven. He is my business partner. He actually paid for the business when I launched it. It’s only a dollar to start an LLC right now. And I told him that and he got so excited and he said, mom, I want to do this with you. And he ran and got four quarters and he was my initial investor. So I really hope to do that. And then long term I really hope to bring all of production to Gunnison and create. Jobs here in Gunnison with this mission, as well as create like a finding gym, American Ninja Warrior gym. Something for adults and kids to have to do inside because we are certainly lacking that in this community. It’s amazing and we have so many things to do, but I would love to be able to provide something for tourists and locals to do inside and it will still have the same mentality of you pay for yourself as well As for the person behind you, and you continue that. Queen of kindness and throughout. Well, having a really cool activity to do. So that’s the long term goal. And to raise a lot of money. I don’t know if I even mentioned this yet, but the biggest thing about this is 50% of all the profits from this business is going to feeding America and orphanage support services. So really, really hoping to be able to raise some money to give back and help the communities that need it. Food and.
00:20:47 Matthew Kuehlhorn
So cool. You’ve got you’ve got me sold. Where? Tell us your website. Where can we, where can we find you? Do you, are you on social media?
00:20:59 Trish Calkins
Yeah, so Full disclosure, my website I ended up having to make myself so hopefully better versions very soon. I’m not a web developer, but I did it in the last two days. So ourkindnesschain.com. Is the website our O U R. And then the social media, I will have to say I’m I do have an Instagram page for @ourkindnesschain, but I am terrible at having two Instagram pages so they could just follow me. It’s @ourkindnesschain_trish Calkins_And then on Facebook, I’m Trish Lamar Calkins. So those are kind of the two places to find me. I like to share about giving, kindness, depression, mental health, all the real things of what happens and life, and just really keep it real. Yeah.
00:21:54 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I can’t. I can’t applaud you enough. I can’t emphasize the fact that you know, the the keeper real is is reality. I mean, you know, I’ve got children. They’re entering in the middle school and even next year we go into high school years and it’s amazing the influences that they have that I never experienced and the world is changing and. He mentioned, you know, little tin and you know. When I was growing U. Getting under their desk for a tornado was like the head drill that we practiced in Chicago and now in our kids practice lockdowns for active shooters. And it’s it breaks my heart to even mention that. It’s real life, and yet the paradox is that is showing us just how special an. Beautiful life can be. And these moments of kindness are just little moments of glitter on top of the reel. And it’s really important to recognize that. So thank you for bringing your heart. Thank you for bringing your mission. And we will certainly. Have ourkindnesschain.com and social handles in our show notes so that people can follow you and become customers and continue their ripple of goodness. Any final words for our listeners, Trish?
00:23:28 Trish Calkins
No, I really thank you. Thank you so much for just listening and letting me share about this. I’m really excited and. Yeah, I just hope we can go out and make the world a better place. Honestly, I got big goals.
00:23:44 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I love it, I.
00:23:45 Trish Calkins
00:23:46 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Good stuff, Trish. Thank you so much for your time today.
00:23:49 Trish Calkins
Thank you, Matt. Have a good one.