Hey Hey, Guys! Kari Jo, here. Veterinarian turned small town entrepreneur. Can I call myself that?!
Here's the deal: I didn't start out dreaming about making + selling my own t-shirts or apparel. Heck nah! I wanted to be a designer. Buttttt my farmer dad reminded me we lived in the middle of nowhere, and at the time, it was kinda impossible to imagine a career as a designer in rural Illinois.
So I went to veterinary school.
The year after graduating, I moved to Texas and dove head first in 70+ hour work weeks, sometimes working 11 days in a row without a day off. Meanwhile, my dear mother was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. A beast of a breast cancer, no less. I knew I wanted to be home at least once a month to spend time with my mom, but plane tickets were insanely expensive to the middle of nowhere!
I knew I needed a side hustle to make an additional $600 per month.
I REALLY wanted to start a line of margarita mixes, but a t-shirt business was much easier to start up.
And so the side hustle, Rosebud's Tees was born.
After moving back to rural Illinois and losing my mom all in the same year, I started to question my 70+ hour work weeks grinding away, missing time away from friends and family.
"What's it all for?" was the question I kept asking myself.
I quit my full time gig as a veterinarian and dove head first into creating graphics for fellow small town and rural women. Over time, the business evolved into a goods + apparel brand for rural men and woman. Kelso & Company was born in early 2024.
The mission here at Kelso & Co. is to connect rural men and women to their roots through apparel and goods.
It’s the sound of farmers with silver hair and old caps chuckling in the corner of the local cafe before the sun rises, the smell of rain soaking the fields into mud, the feeling of crisp country air meeting your face when you crank the windows down, and the sight of pinks, reds, and oranges marrying into a peaceful rural sunset at dusk . . .
This is Kelso & Company.
Here’s to the sons and daughters carrying on their family’s Farm legacy..
Here’s to the guys and gals blazing their own trails and building legacies of their own in their small town.
Rural roots really do run deep.
Orders are shipped 4 days a week all over the world from our office in Macomb, Illinois + our line is carried in retail locations across the United States.