"When you have a child, life as you know it changes completely. While the journey of motherhood is one of life’s greatest gifts, learning to balance business, family, and your own sense of self is an incredible challenge. Kelli Murray inspires me because of the way she has turned her passion and creativity into a business, while staying true to herself, and putting her family first. She's the type of person that, when you meet her, you instantly feel a connection to her genuine heart, candid demeanor, and open mind. An ambitious go-getter, she pursues motherhood and entrepreneurship with equal enthusiasm and balance. Kelli is a true Bella: open, grounded, passionate, real, and full of love."
“For as long as I can remember I have always taken an interest in art and creativity. My father has owned a silk screen factory for over 30 years. As a child, I remember him teaching me about color and ink and the printing process. I always found it so fascinating. He owned several clothing labels and staffed a handful of really talented graphic designers. In high school, one of those designers took me under his wing and taught me the basics of the design programs. I knew I wanted to somehow merge my passions in art and fashion into a career, and graphic design seemed the natural route. I began to exhibit my work in art shows and slowly began to take on commissioned work for clients. I created a website and a ‘blog,’ which at the time was just a tab titled “NEWS” on my website. It was a place where I shared my new work, commissions, events I was a part of. . . and organically, that space grew into what it is today.
Most days I wake up to either a baby crying or my daughter pulling at my arm to get up and make her bacon. Yes, she loves her bacon. My husband owns a retail shop called Loneflag which opens it’s doors at 11am. So really, mornings are usually our family time.
I’m most passionate about my faith, family, and my creativity. Everything else is just extra.”
“I first discovered Cleobella a few years ago when a friend of mine was carrying one of your beautiful weekender bags. I loved it so much that I went and looked up the website when I got back home and quickly fell in love with everything about the brand. When I hear the word Bella, I think of beauty. But not just physical beauty, more so, beauty of the heart. I think of a Bella as a woman who is kind and gentle, but carries herself with strength and confidence.”
“It wasn’t until after I had my daughter Rylee that I decided to go full time with my freelance business. And I think blogging played a big part in helping me do that. With more readers, came more work, came more opportunity. My favorite creative medium is paper and watercolor. I feel like I am constantly getting inspired by new and different things. But I’ve always been inspired by nature - the ocean, animals, flowers, etc. I’ve also always loved drawing girls- something about hair and facial expressions. My kids are of course an endless source of inspiration as well.”
RYLEE & CRU
“Rylee & Cru is my children’s clothing line that launched in November of 2014, so we have one season under our belt. I’m getting ready to release our Summer collection in just a few weeks. Ever since the birth of my daughter, I had it in the back of my mind that I would someday put my passions and experience to use in children’s wear and start a line of my own. It wasn’t until last year, when I was pregnant with my son, that I decided to really put those wheels in motion. It sounds silly to say, but I truly feel like this is what I was meant to do. It’s taking my past experiences and everything I love-fashion, design, my kids; and merging it into one dream job for me. The collection is made up of everyday basics from tees and tanks to dresses and rompers. The color palette is full of soft, muted tones and every print is hand painted and designed by me. I wanted the collection to feel “baby,” but in a pretty, dreamy sort of way. Each piece is garment dyed, giving it that vintage feel right out of the box. I have dreams to expand the collection into a broader range and eventually offer different product categories, but first things first” ;)
ON TURNING YOUR PASSION INTO A BUSINESS
“I think you first have to just be willing to take the risk and put yourself out there. I think that’s the hardest part. Once you’re there though, it’s just about working hard and staying inspired. If you are passionate about what you are creating, that will translate to others as well. It’s important to be authentic, dream big, take risks, and never give up!”