Questions with Kayley Reed
What advice would you give your 16 year-old self?
Perfection is a myth – you are allowed to be flawed. In fact, you should embrace your flaws. Take ownership over them. They are a part of who you are, but they don’t define you. Only you get to do that.
Who were your mentors when you were in high school and university? And why?
A couple of really amazing teachers/professors. I never felt like a part of the “in” crowd. They taught me the importance of staying true to your – and taught me to love learning, beyond the classroom.
What do you remember about growing up that was fun?
Spending lots of time at my grandma’s house, with cousins. As I got older, I remember being mad at my parents for making me go with them when I was missing parties and hanging out with friends. Looking back, I’m so glad I spent so much time with my family. Especially before my grandpa passed.
What were some of the challenges too?
I always struggled with mental illness, without knowing that’s what it was. It wasn’t until university when things became more challenging that I was diagnosed with depression. I tried to keep it a secret for so long, because I was scared of being “weak”. I felt so isolated and alone. But once I started reaching out for help and sharing my story, I realized how common mental illness is. I wish I would have reached out sooner, and not let myself be my own worst enemy.
Which of your traits are you most proud of?
What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?
What I’m doing now! (And I’m still afraid of failure, every day. I’ve failed a lot. But you learn the most in those moments. Failure isn’t the worst thing.)
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself up?
A lot of self-care. Taking time to remove myself from the situation, and do something for me, to clear my mind and inspire me. Taking a bath, going to the SPCA, hanging out with my boyfriend or making late night dessert. Then, returning to the situation refreshed and ready to tackle it.
Courage and resilience are so important to living an authentic life. Where do you find yours?
Through the people I surround myself with. They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. After hearing that, I became very conscious of who I let into my life, who I let influence me, and who I build relationships with. I’m very lucky to have a strong support system who build me up, and remind me of my courage and resilience even when I don’t see it in myself.
What does success mean to you?
Self-love, a healthy and inspiring relationship, personal wellness, and the opportunity to travel and experience things that I love. I would rather make $30,000 a year with that lifestyle than $30 million without those things.
What are sacrifices that you’ve made in running your business or building your career?
After graduating from university, I was accepted to the Masters in Fashion Studies program at Parsons New School of Design in new York. It was my dream program, dream school, dream city. But I was also starting Wear Your Label. I knew I couldn’t do both, so I declined my offer to focus on WYL full time. At that point, we hadn’t even made any sales. It was still an idea. It hurt me a lot to make that decision, because I was so scared that I would regret it. But I can’t imagine how my life would be different had I chosen to go.
What characteristics do you admire in other women?
Authenticity, honesty, and a willingness to collaborate rather than compete. Girl on girl hate is real – but when women support each other amazing things happen.
What does the world need more of?
Fresh air. Beyond the screens, school desks and office cubicles. We all need to get outside more.