We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Kara Shade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Shade, how does your business help the community?
I believe the hardest, most important work we do is within our homes and families. That work pushes us to our limits, challenges us, and grows us – when we let it. But, in my years working with couples, I’ve learned so many critical relationship skills and insights are never taught in schools, or at home. We don’t hesitate to invest in training and education for our careers, but in our personal lives, most people assume they should “just know” how to love and communicate well, without coaching or education. Managing conflicts, clearly communicating needs, navigating finances, becoming parents…none of it is for the faint of heart! There are proven, research-based tools to make these big talks and transitions go more smoothly, and I love that my job is finding creative ways to share those with as many people as I can. Everything in the Etsy shop is designed to keep us grounded in the “good stuff” of life. Each item has a connection to relationship science, so in addition to receiving a beautiful, high-quality product, your purchase includes a card that shares relationship tips or insights that really get at the heart of the slogan on your tea towel, or the important relationship moments that inspire my candles. I love that modern home decor can double as a daily relationship reminder in a place many of us are spending so much of our time right now. The little research cards provide a fun way for me to offer mini doses of relationship education on a much broader scale than ever before, in addition to free resources like my e-newsletters, relationship blog, and social media posts. For me, giving back is another way to stay grounded in good. A portion of my business’ net profits benefit Children International (you can read more about why this charity is close to my heart @ www.groundedingood.org/give). I love that shoppers can purchase with a purpose knowing anything they buy also helps support and encourage families around the world!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have to believe I’m the only Etsy seller with a PhD in Family studies running a relationship-inspired shop! There is a very crowded market for tea towels and candles, so my relationship focus is really the big differentiator. I wanted Grounded in Good to keep relationship science at the fore, but to do so in a way that was beautiful and approachable. Every scent was developed with a relationship transition or moment in mind. I let the research I wanted to share dictate the products I created and slogans I used. I wanted the products to look and smell great in their own right, but the research cards that reveal the substance behind the item are hopefully the icing on the cake! When you buy something in the shop, you’re getting more than a beautiful thing – you’re getting research-based tips, insights, and resources for more beautiful relationships. In addition to a purchase that you or a friend will hopefully enjoy, a portion of the profits benefit Children International, which helps support and equip children (and their families) in poverty around the world. I also try to share as many freebies as I can, so my e-newsletter, relationship blog, and social channels are great ways to access relationship enrichment and encouragement in a fun format without spending a dime.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m trying to think of ideas that aren’t geared toward drive thrus and 4-year-olds, but those are my go-tos these days! My husband and I love trying new restaurants, mostly take out these days. The food at Trufire restaurant in Frisco is delicious (mediterranean shrimp salad is my favorite and they have a monster chicken parm!), Haywire in Plano has a great menu, and Rick’s Chophouse in McKinney has been a go-to for a lot of special occasions and Easter brunches as a family over the years (we got married upstairs there too!).
We really enjoyed our time at the Perot Museum in Dallas. It is so impressive, and you could absolutely spend a full day there trying to take it all in! I’d love to go back there when our kids are a bit older and can engage with the exhibits more. When people come from out of town, The Sixth Floor Museum and Southfork are great tourist spots too! I’d probably vote for a pedicure if it was a special treat. I like the Glee Nail Bar in Allen, and the Woodhouse Spa in Plano is really nice for an upscale experience. Areas like Bishop Arts District, Legacy Shops, Southlake, and Watters Creek all have great boutiques and restaurants where you can grab a coffee or ice cream and do some window shopping. We also like escape rooms and are starting to dip our toes into the world of geocaching. We are really so fortunate to live in an area with lots of great options for things to eat, see, and do!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of my journey to step out on my own and build a business from scratch. That support has come in many forms, like my husband supporting me leaving my full-time job in 2014 to enter a PhD program and try my hand as a relationship educator. Later, once we became parents, my mother drove 1.5-hour round trips to watch our young baby at least once a week as I took and taught classes. Her unwavering support allowed me to complete my degree, which felt impossible as an adjunct instructor, doc student, business owner, and new mom. Without childcare help to finish my PhD, attend trainings and conferences, teach workshops and develop my Etsy shop, none of this would be possible! I’m also incredibly grateful to my family and friends, especially my poor husband, who have feigned interest in countless conversations about packaging ideas, workshop pricing, post engagement, and have listened to my gripes about mundane things like shipping weight and fonts. Being in business alone can be so isolating, and having a supportive community to stand in for coworkers occasionally has been a godsend. I was blessed with a wonderful advisor in my doc program, Dr. Rhonda Buckley, who really believed in me and was one of the first to view me as a professional in this field. I have since connected with a number of really supportive professors around the country on Twitter who share a passion for family life education. I am especially grateful to Dr. Scott Stanley in Colorado for all of the time and knowledge he has invested in me. He was a total stranger, a researcher whose work I greatly admired, but I kept asking him questions, and luckily, he kept answering them. Years later, I see what a gift his patience, generosity, support and mentorship have been, even in an informal capacity, from a great distance. The common thread here is kindness and encouragement. People who believed in me and my dreams and did what they could to move obstacles, be a sounding board, and remind me the work I was doing mattered, even when I struggled to see the forest through the trees. Knowing people are willing to invest in you, to give their time, to sacrifice for you…it’s been humbling, and I’m beyond grateful to be loved so well.