Kylee Leonetti’s Whyography is one of more than 30 stories featured in the “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose” book. 100 percent of proceeds from book sales benefit the Fueled by Purpose micro grant fund for womxn-owned businesses. To purchase the book, visit the Marketplace page.
Kylee Leonetti was at a business meeting to talk about her video and photography services. But her thoughts drifted as she learned more about the organization she was meeting with, Wayside Recovery Center, which was dedicated to supporting women and their families through recovery from substance abuse. She had a flashback of a fellow waitress she worked with many years earlier, who had slipped her the number to Narcotics Anonymous on a tiny piece of paper. With a sweet southern accent and a look of genuine concern, she’d said, “Sugar, I don’t know you all that well, but I think you need help.” As Kylee thought of that long-ago moment, she remembered that feeling, like she’d been exposed for the whole world to see and the wind had been knocked out of her. Goosebumps rose on Kylee’s arms.
That interaction had transformed Kylee’s life forever—she went to Narcotics Anonymous, and finally felt seen and heard and hopeful. And in that business meeting years later it hit her like a freight train: She could help other women in recovery. Kylee and her husband, Christian, had been working together for years, bringing stories to life for organizations with their film, photo and production company. It was what brought her to the meeting with Wayside Recovery Center in the first place. But in that moment, Kylee knew she could have a greater impact. And she felt strongly that it might be her purpose to do so.
A year earlier, Kylee had quietly started another business, making confetti by hand. It began as a way to add color and whimsy to her photo shoots, but it quickly became more than a fun part-time project. When a Minnesota tourism agency wanted gallons of bright yellow confetti for an interactive exhibit on display during Super Bowl 52, Kylee’s side hustle started to gain momentum on Instagram.
As demand increased, she knew she’d need more workers to create her hand-cut confetti. So Kylee connected the dots. The women of Wayside Recovery needed something to focus on as they got sober. But even more, they needed someone to trust and believe in them. Kylee proposed a partnership with the organization—she would provide employment experience, some extra cash, and a bridge for women leaving addiction so they could cross into their new sober lives with a greater sense of purpose.
In 2018, Leonetti Confetti launched officially, exclusively employing the women of Wayside. They mix perfectly portioned confetti packets, wands and poppers in custom color combinations for weddings and parties. Bulk confetti is available for bigger events as well.
Kylee describes Leonetti Confetti as an experience of full-circle joy: From the moment you place an order, you’re making an impact in the lives of the women who create the confetti for your next party or event. You celebrate them, and they celebrate YOU.
About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose.” Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.