It was a business meeting. Kylee Leonetti was there to talk about her video and photography services. The organization she was meeting with, Wayside Recovery Center, was dedicated to supporting women and their families through recovery from substance abuse. But her thoughts drifted. She had a quick flashback of a fellow waitress she worked with many years earlier, who had slipped her the number to Narcotics Anonymous on a tiny slip of paper. A sweet southern accent and a look of genuine concern as she said, “Sugar, I don’t know you all that well, but I think you need help.” As she thought of that long-ago moment, she remembered that exact feeling, like she’d been exposed for the whole world to see and the wind had been knocked out of her all at once. Goosebumps began to rise on Kylee’s arms.
What may have seemed to an outsider like a brief exchange between coworkers transformed Kylee’s life forever—she went to Narcotics Anonymous, and she finally felt seen and heard and hopeful. She got clean. And in that business meeting years later it hit her like a freight train. She could help women in recovery in a way no one else could. 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 an even greater impact. And she felt strongly that it might just 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. A mentor encouraged her to take it a step further. As Kylee considered the possibilities, it quickly became more than a fun part-time project. A Minnesota tourism agency wanted gallons of bright yellow hand-cut confetti for ‘sota pop, an interactive exhibit on display during Super Bowl 52. The pop-up event was designed to showcase the state’s rich arts and music scene and created an experience perfect for sharing on social media—complete with the tossing of crisp, bright confetti. Kylee’s side hustle was gaining momentum on Instagram.
As demand continued to increase, 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 look forward to and 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 valuable 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 and the value they bring to the world.
In August, Leonetti Confetti launched officially, exclusively employing the women of Wayside. Perfectly portioned confetti packets, wands and poppers are mixed in custom color combinations for weddings and parties and are sold via Kylee’s online shop. Bulk confetti is available for bigger events as well. Leonetti Confetti is also part of a community of small business owners that have been featured at Fourpost, a marketplace offering unique products and experiences at Mall of America this holiday season. Visitors can purchase confetti and see for themselves the joy it brings while capturing it in action in the photo booth.
Kylee describes Leonetti Confetti as an experience of full-circle joy in this way: From the moment you place an order, you’re making an impact in the lives of the women who create the confetti by hand for your next party or event. You celebrate them, and we celebrate YOU. What could be better?
Are you ready to courageously share your story with the world and open the door to resources and opportunities? My Founder Story takes you through the process of clarifying your WHY and developing your WHYography—a powerful short story designed to articulate and elevate your purpose, and an essential tool for leveraging your business with potential investors, partners and supporters. Learn more here.