ESSENCE Network: Bodyology’s Kelly Hill On Turning Her Discomfort into a Profitable Product

See Kelly Hill's journey to being a product entrepreneur scouted by Macy’s.  

While working as a corporate consultant, Kelly Hill developed a thyroid condition that led to unexpected sweat in the most inconvenient moments. She put her research skills to use and developed undershirts to keep women clean and crisp throughout the day. See her journey to being a product entrepreneur scouted by Macy’s.

Name: Kelly Hill, Ph.D

Age: 37

Title: Principal of Nexus Research Group & CEO of Bodyology

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Hometown: Camden, New Jersey

Connect

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kelly-burton-hill/9/b1/14b

Twitter: @bodyologywear

Instagram: @bodyologywear

The gig. I am a serial entrepreneur. I own a consulting firm and creator of Bodyology, undershirts that keep women dry throughout the day. 

The journey. I’ve always liked to be in charge. When I wrapped up my Ph.D. in political science in 2009, I realized that I did not want to teach. I thought I could make a better contribution as a consultant, so I went on to create my firm. Bodyology came out of my own personal need. I developed a thyroid condition, which caused me to overheat all of the time. My body would be doing its own thing and it would be showing up in my work. I tried to find undershirts that I could wear under my work clothes, but I couldn’t find anything and I was completely frustrated. I realized women are really active throughout their day and want garments that will keep us dry, confident and comfortable all day long.

Her best networking tip. Effective networking is all about following up with that initial contact and also considering how could you be useful to the other person. Also, for anybody wanting to launch an apparel line, the place they should start is makersrow.com. It’s a really great source where they centralize information related to making an apparel line. 

Being a Black woman entrepreneur.  We have only had better access to the market in the last 50 years and I’m having to really build out my network because the folks that I need in the apparel world are completely different than the folks that I needed in my consulting world.  A lot this has to do with our background and we’re still economically struggling compared to everybody else, so the rules are different for minorities.  The benefit of being a Black woman is that we are naturally resilient and I’m encouraged when I go online, and see the number of African-American women that are just starting their own businesses exceling in their professions.

Her biggest mistake. I really thought launching a product line would be the exact same as offering a service.  With my firm I focused on being excellent and my reputation grew. So I didn’t have to look for clients, I didn’t have to advertise.  With Bodyology, it’s completely different.  There has been a lot of educating customers because it is brand new and we are working on ways to better communicate with our costumers. So I am doing a lot of research.

Confessions of a word nerd. I go through probably 50 books a year. I love trivia and jeopardy is my favorite.  When I was in my 20s I was on “Wheel of Fortune” and I won.

Her career highlight. Bodyology was selected as part of the Macy’s workshop, which is an annual vendor development program with a one percent chance of being selected. That showed Macy’s had a lot of faith in us and that our brand has a lot of potential.

Her stress reliever. I read a lot. If I could convert that into a profession, I would. My ideal relaxing day is like a Saturday afternoon 70 degrees, going out to sit with some tea and read.

Her previous jobs. Even though I started my own business right out of graduate school, I have had many jobs before. I’ve been a truck dispatcher, telemarketer, bill collector and more.  

Her tech must-haves. I am a PC lover until the end. My apps that get the most rotation is NPR and my audible books.

Her beauty bag. I keep my make-up light. I have half a dozen colors of MAC lipstick that I rotate and my brow powder.

Her power style accessory. My style is classic. I like to buy pieces that I can still wear in 10 years.  I always look for pieces that are going to make my outfit pop.

Her theme song. “This Is My Life” by Shirely Bassey.

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