By GREGORY ZELLER //
Some innovators are born knowing what they’re meant to do. Some figure it out along the way. And some require a little divine intervention.
There was never any doubt Stacey Foley would run her own business, at least not for Stacey Foley. But what kind of business? Even the entrepreneur didn’t know.
Her path was illuminated, somewhat, by the Swarovski Crystal craze of the last decade. A big fan of the sparkly products, Foley started crafting her own crystalline jewelry – and motive quickly met opportunity.
“Owning a business was something I always wanted,” she told Innovate LI. “And I really loved the crystals. I took a few classes at some bead shops on Long Island, made some really good stuff and got some orders.”
Suddenly, Foley was in business – literally, with the 2006 launch of her homegrown startup Kelloley (a mashup of her maiden name, Keller, and her married moniker). Fueled by a $5,000 investment for a website and materials, the Massapequa-based startup lifted off as a peddler of Foley’s handcrafted crystalwear, everything from chandelier earrings to bling bracelets.
The part-time enterprise shined nicely for about two years, Foley noted, “and then a second kid came.”
With two little ones to mother, the would-be magnate was forced to put her entrepreneurial aspirations on hold. The “pause” button, in fact, would be pressed for several years, until mid-2015, when Foley realized “I still had the itch to be a business owner.”
But crystal jewelry was no longer the ticket; Foley longed for something bigger, something more fulfilling, something that answered the question, “What was I put on this earth for,” she recalled, “besides being a mommy?”
Around this time, Foley’s aunt passed along a pair of rosaries and suggested her niece pray on them for guidance. At first, Foley took the advice with a grain of salt – a prophetic response indeed.
Slowly, the rosary beads – which Foley says she carried in her pocket – “kind of helped me find my spiritual side.” And when the once-and-future entrepreneur glimpsed the Himalayan salt lamps adorning her chiropractor’s office through this new transcendent lens, she truly saw the light.
Her revamped mission: To apply her wholesale license to selling other people’s products – specifically, salt lamps, candleholders, abundance bowls and related items produced by Himalayan Salt Cart, a New Jersey-based wholesaler of products crafted from genuine crystal salt mined from the foothills of Asia’s Himalayan mountain range.
Foley filled out Himalayan Salt Cart’s wholesale-price list request form and “ever since then, we’ve been doing business.”
It was a perfect fit for the entrepreneur, combining her crystal crush, her burgeoning spirituality and her commercial drive in an enterprise that allowed Foley to “still devote time to the little one.”
She doesn’t handcraft any of the products in Kelloley’s new catalogue – the maker merely “dabbles” these days, “making something for myself” – but since rekindling her dormant startup, she’s built up an intriguing product line.
In addition to Himalayan Salt Cart’s many offerings – which also include salt tiles, aromatherapy products and USB-enabled salt lamps, which draw power from laptops or wall sockets through standard USB ports and slowly change colors for additional chill – Foley has also cut a distribution deal with New Hampshire-based Kheops International, a self-described wholesaler of “metaphysical and meaningful gifts.”
The additional wares – including Buddha statues, incense and incense holders, yoga bags, Reiki candles and enough gemstone-based products to fill a mystical quarry – rounded Kelloley into the soulful enterprise Foley had long sought.
“I needed to find something for me, besides being a mom and a worker, and to combine it somehow with the spiritual,” noted the entrepreneur, who has found further personal enlightenment in “sound healing” sessions and integrated energy therapy classes.
“I just find it all very soothing,” Foley added. “I feel like that’s where I need to be. Like, I found my tribe.”
It’s a fairly big tribe: The “spiritual retail” business is “very good,” according to the entrepreneur, who shells out for a few select digital-advertising slots, mostly on Instagram and sometimes Facebook, and otherwise relies on word-of-mouth.
So far, she’s still handing order fulfillment and other logistics herself, storing her wares in her living room and occasionally conscripting her parents for post office duty. But she’s got bigger things in mind: Foley, who works full time in Newsday’s IT department, is thinking growth, with an eye toward someday operating in Kelloley’s own physical space.
“I definitely want that at some point,” she noted. “The five-year plan is to have my own retail space, even a small store within someone else’s store.”
For now, the business owner is focused on growing a little at a time. Up next is a new product offering: gray Himalayan salt lamps, which are carved from a different vein of the Himalayan salt rock.
The new lamps – Foley is negotiating with a third wholesale supplier – are slightly rarer and therefore more expensive, and the entrepreneur will order just a few samples for the holiday season before deciding if she wants to add the “very pretty” grays on a more permanent basis.
Such are the decisions one makes, she noted with noticeable glee, when one runs her own business.
“There’s more to life than just being a person,” Foley said. “I surround myself with positive people, and my kids and I try to pay it forward, and this fits in with that.
“And I’m just drawn to wanting to be my own boss,” she added. “I love what I do.”
What’s It? Salt lamps, crystals and other tranquility-promoting products
Brought To You By: Stacey Foley, who pays it forward
All In: $5,000, self-funded, to launch in 2006, then $10,000 to re-launch in 2015, for wholesale products and business insurance (“My dad said I had to have it”)
Status: Serenity now