Caili Elwell Designs Owner Caili Elwell spoke to MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about launching and growing her business, which provides branding and customer experience consulting to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

NAN PRICE: When did you launch your business?

CAILI ELWELL: I started my business in 2013. It became my full-time business in March 2020.

NAN: How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business/be in a leadership role?

CAILI: I’ve worked and observed the customer service industry for the last 13 years. I’ve interviewed, written about, and worked alongside or on behalf of the best minds in the hospitality and tourism industries. During my time at an agency in Philadelphia, I was chosen to aid in the building and structuring of brand guidelines for Bloomberg facilities, NFL events, Marriott locations, and United Airlines directly after its merger.

Within my own business, I’ve worked with industries ranging from home products, holistic and wellness, hospitality, aviation, beauty, fashion, and restaurants. I’m extremely empathetic, witty, quick, and creative, which gives me a unique perspective.

NAN: What does being a business leader mean to you?

CAILI: It means being a voice that is actionable. One that is accountable, respectable, relatable, knowledgeable, inspiring, and most importantly kind.

NAN: To what do you most attribute your success?

CAILI: My perseverance. I have never let a setback or any one person keep me from growing, pivoting, or learning more about what it is I do or am becoming.

NAN: In what ways has your business pivoted since you launched? How have you adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

CAILI: I transitioned Caili Elwell Designs into my full-time business in March, amidst COVID-19, when I saw so many of my friends and my network of entrepreneurs begin to fail and close. It broke my heart and I began thinking that I have the experience, knowledge, and ideas to help. So here I am.

NAN: What role do women play in entrepreneurship?

CAILI: Women are amazing! We’re simultaneously nurturing and effective. We listen while getting things done. Look at all Ruth Bader Ginsberg was able to accomplish for the better good—and she never stopped!

NAN What advice do you have for others? 

CAILI: You are a force to be reckoned with—you just need to find what fuels the force and nurture that.

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