Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Boyle.
Hi Ashley, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’ve always considered myself an introvert yet I’ve always had a passion for people. I’ve always felt a strong interest and desire to connect whether it’s with someone I know, someone I’ve briefly met, or someone I pass on the street. But feeling introverted and wanting to connect is such a juxtaposition. Being more of an observer, it was inspiring when I’d witness two strangers strike up a conversation, connect, and visibly appear to feel joy and uplifted by the interaction. I loved to see it. In 2015 I went to Zimbabwe for a volunteer program and I was surrounded by people from all over the world; different ages, cultures, and backgrounds. I felt a connection with everyone, even if it was unspoken, and I appreciated every one of them, but they didn’t know it. So on my last day, I wrote cards to let people know what they meant to me. I also left there with a beaded bracelet that said Kufara, which means ‘happy’ in Shona, the native language. That trip taught me the importance of these people in our lives; those who impact us for the better even if it’s with a single word or small action. And the people and moments that make us happy should be celebrated. With that, I knew I wanted to create something that could not only be a symbol for connection but a vehicle for it as well. I wanted a way to recognize good people, show gratitude with something tangible, and also have the time and space, if needed, to thank them in a more personal way. I wanted to provide an opportunity for someone to express something they, otherwise, might not have said. Maybe they didn’t have the time, felt too shy, couldn’t find the words, or maybe they just needed a reason to do so. The more that we can take the time to metaphorically bookmark these people and the meaningful things that they do, the better off we all are for it. So that’s how my journey to start Kufara began. The rest was all business.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There were definitely struggles. When I finally launched Kufara, after spending 5+ years of weekends in coffee shops workshopping the idea, I said, “if I knew from the beginning how much work this was going to take, I probably wouldn’t have done it.” Yet I couldn’t be happier and more proud that I did. The hardest part was just continuing to push forward and believing that I could do it. Some days I felt like I was on the right track and other days I was filled with doubt and fear. It’s tough to put something meaningful and personal out into the world. It was a lot of ongoing research and learning about business, eCommerce, and software. A lot of hoping I was making the right decisions – and I continue to wonder that every day – and making sacrifices wherever I could in order to see it through. As much as I wanted to be a perfectionist and worry about every single little detail – because I definitely did – I realized not everything’s going to be 100% perfect when you start out and that’s okay. I can continue to learn as I go, but I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t put it out there.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Kufara’s known for its bracelets. They provide a simple, tangible way to experience authentic connection through the act of giving. And the focus is on connection, giving, and kindness, because neurobiologically we’re wired to connect, it feels good to give, and kindness makes us happy. The Artifact Bracelets are stainless steel, unisex, adjustable, and made to be given. Also, $2 of each one goes to a charity that you select. When you get a bracelet you’ll notice an ID number on the back and you’ll register that number to your account. Then, you can recognize or appreciate someone by giving them your bracelet. You’ll log in, post your story to let them know how they impacted you, and they’ll get to access what you wrote by using the ID number. It’s built to be cyclical, so the receiver of the bracelet can now pay it forward as well. Every time it’s passed on you’ll be notified of the people and stories it’s a part of. This way it gives you something to not only look back on but also look forward to. It’s cool to see how people have used the bracelets and incorporated them into their lives. They’ve been used to appreciate teachers, nurses, strangers, best friends, and family members. They’ve also been distributed on group vacations and in classrooms as a way to encourage people to make a *new* connection within that environment. Everything can be found at kufara.com and I’m arms-wide-open to any questions, feedback, or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @itsKufara.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
In regards to starting or running a small business, the small business development center has been a great resource, and they’re in every county in the country. In life, I’d say any book by Malcolm Gladwell or the Impact Theory podcast. I love learning about human nature, the brain, how we’re wired, and why we act the way that we do.
- Artifact Bracelet – $19
- Artifact Bracelet 2-pack – $35
- Website: https://kufara.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itskufara/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/itskufara/