In Conversation with Kari Caden of Belly Bandit & Proof

Kari Caden_Blog Header

Describe Belly Bandit and Proof in a few words?

Both companies were created to make women’s lives a little easier in some way. We like to say our products are problem solvers. 

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

There was never a time that we didn’t want to work together – we always had the work bug. Sometimes to a fault if you ask our mom!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Early on I was an MC/DJ/Dancer for large events like weddings, corporate events etc., then when I moved to California from Michigan I had a small craft services company with a friend. Shortly after my sister Lori moved out to California we opened Caden Concepts. 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I guess so but not so much knowing the magnitude of the word or the impact it would have on our lives. Each of us had our own businesses prior to Belly Bandit and Proof. Even when we were young (I’m talking teens and early twenties) Jodi was an artist and sold beautiful canvas paintings to art galleries all over Michigan, Lori made and sold jewelry and I left college every weekend to MC for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and events.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

We all had this one paperweight on our desks that read: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail”. So everything we did we used that as our barometer. We did a lot of celebrity seeding. This was 2008 so it was before social media took off so it was a lot of magazines, print work and full page ads. We were really lucky with all of the organic PR.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Well we have had plenty to be quite honest, we call our day to day work our “business school”.  Whether it’s a simple printing issue, a management mistake, a legal woe or garment produced wrong – the upside is it only needs to happen once.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I would say it is every time I hear someone who has a story about using our products – and how it changed their life in some way. I’ve heard it made them feel stronger, gave them more confidence, gave them a lift (physically or mentally) and truthfully that’s when I feel proudest.  

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Where do you see yourself in 3 and 5 years? It’s important to see where they want to go with their career path and if they plan on being with us short/long term.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We are so thankful that it has not impacted us negatively, it’s taught us some valuable lessons but we are extremely grateful that women trust us and depend on our products.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Well we are always innovating and bringing new products and categories to each company. We are working on some new patents as well!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Cherish family and make sure to be grateful for your health. Work is always going to be there – so manage accordingly!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

How to delegate better so we could spend more time on what we are good at which is creating and innovating.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Has anyone been able to really stay that grounded?! I think when you are constantly in a team environment you automatically stay grounded in a sense. You have so much to do every day that somehow other stresses (like living in quarantine) somehow fall to the wayside (thankfully). Now weekends are a whole different beast!

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

As much as I believe in it I am constantly trying to work harder on a better balance. As a mom, wife, daughter and business partner I try my best to please everyone so it can get challenging. I try to end my day at a specific time so I can focus on being present at home with the family. 

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

None of us went to business school, none of us were great students. We only knew what we wanted and that was to work together and had a motto that failure was never an option. 

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Get your butt up and walk away from your computer a few times a day.  
  • Read a motivating quote or two if you can. 
  • Keep in contact with your friends and people that make you smile or laugh.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means you control your own narrative, you create your legacy and destiny. 

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Natalie Ramirez Designs Impactful Spaces With Her Architecture Firm

Hi, Natalie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business. Natalie Soledad Ramírez is the Founder and Principal Architect of Natalie Ramirez Architecture + Impact Collaborative. She has worked in architecture for over 14 years. She believes that the built environment can act as a catalyst for positive change and has devoted much…

Massage Therapist Gabby Garduno Promotes Self-Care and Mental Wellness

Hi, Gabby! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hola, I’m Gabby, a Los Angeles mobile massage therapist providing massage for self care and mental wellness. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Definitely being in a community with ladies who want to help build each other up! What made…

How Leslie Roberson Became a Leader in Inclusive Beauty Retail

“I became hyper detailed on the processes and how the business should run. Any good business, this should be the baseline. Nothing else, like this is it. How does your business run without you? My team understands that everyone’s on board, so they just move through the system systematically. And so if they have any…

How Renee Parsons Innovated Golf Apparel in a Male-Dominated Industry

“Just surround yourself with people that are not necessarily better than you, but that bring something to the table you don’t—and [don’t] be intimidated by that or threatened by that. I love collaborating and I love having people on my team that bring something to the table and can teach me, and I feel like…

Laurie Arron on Her Coaching Biz for C-Suite Execs and Chiefs of Staff

Hi, Laurie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Laurie. I’m a trusted advisor and executive coach to C-Suite leaders and Chiefs of Staff. I’m also the founder of ChiefSpace Boardroom, a group coaching mastermind for Chiefs of Staff. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am…

Take a Look Inside Our Founders Weekend VIP Gift Bags

We’re still thinking about the VIP gift bags from Founders Weekend! The gift bags were filled with such innovative, useful (and luxurious!) products. Amplifying women-owned businesses is what we’re all about and we want to be sure all of the founders that featured products in our VIP Founders Weekend gift bags are discovered by all…

Dalana Lara Turned Her Passion for Baking Into a Cookie Biz

Hi, Dalana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Dalana, founder of The Cookie Mania. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I moved to the U.S. in 2015. My lifelong passion for baking was always a part of me, even though I went to college and graduated as an accountant. Beyond balancing…

Ariana Olive Helps People Reach Their Financial Goals Through Planning

Hi, Ariana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: With over fifteen years of experience in finance and business management, Ariana is a performance-driven professional who provides strategic guidance to help individuals, families, and small-business owners reach their financial goals through comprehensive financial planning. She focuses on four key areas: tax planning,…

How Marina Khidekel Made Her Business a Household Name Through Networking

“Everybody has an unfair advantage. Use it. It could be an expertise that you have, that could be contacts you have in an industry that’s adjacent to the industry of your startup or can help your startup—use that. When Marina Khidekel started her search for a solution to her nighttime anxiety, she turned to weighted…

Elsi Pacheco on Her Brand Development and Digital Design Agency

Hi, Elsi! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Elsi. I am the creative force behind Link Up Level Up, bringing over 20 years of experience in marketing, design, and website development to the digital space for business owners. I was born and raised in the vibrant hustle of New York,…

How Tisha Thompson Launched the First Black-Owned Clean Makeup Brand at Sephora

“There’s a lot of things that come with being able to support a retailer like that… If you’re not ready for those things, then go DTC first because you also have to have: Is your product merchandisable? Do you have unit cartons? Do you have UPCs? All of these kinds of operational tactical things that…

Shulamit Ber Levtov Supports Woman Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health & Well-Being

Hi, Shulamit! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, CCTP, aka The Entrepreneurs’ Therapist. I’m passionate about mitigating the entrepreneurial mental health crisis and transforming the entrepreneurial ecosystem to include the whole human in business. I do that through speaking, teaching, and consulting, as well as…

5 Tips for Planning a Seamless Event

Founders Weekend was a month ago, and we still can’t get over the impact the event made for our community. Seeing our members, in person, connecting and collaborating with each other was what it was all about.  The content that was captured truly reflects the feeling of our Founders Weekend event and we can’t wait…

Gina Caracci Does it All: Trainer, Podcaster, and Charity Founder

Hi, Gina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Gina aka GinaMarieFit. I’m a NASM personal trainer, business owner, podcaster, and charity organization founder. When I set out to become a personal trainer and online business owner, my goal was to provide more than just workouts and macros. I wanted to…

Building a 50,000+ Community While Navigating Postpartum Challenges

“I really care about people and I really care to see people thrive in communities where they feel welcomed.” Amanda Smith is the Founder & CEO of Dallas Girl Gang, a 50,000 plus global community of engaged women connecting in career, business, and life. Amanda, a former elementary music teacher, has grown Dallas Girl Gang…