Be the Impact,

to See the Impact

Ep. 79 ft. Kelly Slattery

and Marisa Polvino

“You always win when you lead with purpose.”

Kelly Slattery

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With a career spanning over three decades, Marisa Polvino is a prolific producer and entrepreneur with a skill for identifying, packaging, and producing quality, star-driven entertainment across all genres and budget levels. Presently, Marisa is Partner and Co-CEO/Founder of STRAIGHT UP FILMS a fully integrated multi-media production company that has worked alongside top-name Hollywood talent, including Natalie Portman, Rosario Dawson, Jesse Eisenberg, Gina Rodriguez and Johnny Depp.

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Polvino identifies and shapes projects that align with the company’s ethos. Presently, she oversees a top-flight feature slate which includes How to Set a Fire and Why, directed by award-winning director/actress Lisa Edelstein, Dissonance, a YA love story set in the multiverse directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Joseph Merrick – The Elephant Man to be directed by Rupert Sanders and a film adaptation of Viktor Frankl’s iconic memoir Man’s Search for Meaning.

Recognizing the profound effect cinema can have on culture Polvino co-founded Straight Up Impact. The companies mission is to create, produce and finance thought-provoking content that appeals to human emotions, shifts perspectives and inspires positive social change.

Polvino uses her entrepreneurial spirit and know-how and focuses on forging relationships with like-minded partners while also overseeing much of the company’s business strategy, development, marketing and operational structure. In 2019, she created the “Power On” series for Google’s computer science in media division which was a short-film series directed by leading actresses and designed to promote greater gender and racial diversity in STEAM fields. Polvino is currently producing the “Meaning in Madness” film series which centers around the systemic issues contributing to the mental health crisis facing young adults and teens today and the importance of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Marisa is inspired by her two children and encourages them to follow their passions, pay attention to what matters most in life and to always work hard and be nice to people.

Kelly Slattery, a native Canadian and songwriter by trade, made an interesting progression from writing music for such companies as Lionsgate, CBS and Disney, to writing screenplays and producing for film, to philanthropy and now, Barely Canadian, her social enterprise clothing line.

Down for Life which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was Kelly’s first feature, followed by subsequent Lionsgate projects like House of the Rising Sun and Cougars Inc, with Hijacked and Breaking Wind soon to follow, released by Anchor Bay.

Kelly was a founding partner of Therapy Content, the production company for Dave Grohl’s Sound City and Sonic Highways, and was fortunate to touch so many impactful products, although she eventually ventured off on her own after selling one of her TV comedies she co-created with Lee Aronsohn (co-creator of Two and a Half Men) in the room to ABC networks, along with signing a surf drama to Legendary Pictures. Whilst in development on her own projects, Kelly works as a consultant in the Film and TV space; developing, packaging and setting up projects at various studios.

Kelly felt inspired to step into the nonprofit space years later, when she and her husband adopted their then 16-year-old daughter from foster care. Starting at Venice Arts as the Director of Advancement, Kelly was quickly recruited by Film2Future as their Executive Director and went on to increase their operating budget by 83% in her first year while deciding to complete her family, Kelly and her husband foster to adopt her then 16-year-old son.
Barely Canadian was created to show their children that an idea can become a business and how to see an idea through to fruition. The moment friends and family got their hands on Barely Canadian, they quickly knew this business training idea had just become a company. As a Social Enterprise company that supports foster youth, it was important for the brand to feel as “home” and cozy as possible to align with their messaging about helping foster youth find their forever homes, hence Barely Canadian’s mainstay of super soft clothing. Barely Canadian is proud to share that they source and hire all locally and donate 20% of our profits to foster youth organizations like Kidsave and Echoes of Hope.

Show Notes

This eye-opening convo exposes the reality many foster care youth face and shows what following passion instead of a path can achieve.

If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!

And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at

In this episode you will learn about:

  • The backstory to Barely Canadian
  • Tackling a large problem and believing in the impact
  • The foster care system and “aging out”
  • Learning as you go and learning with others
  • Leading with your heart for success
  • Finding something that you want to be a part of




Lesley Logan 0:00
Hey Be It babe, what’s up? Okay, I this is just I’m like glowing. I’m like can’t stop smiling. I have two guests on today’s interview. Two women who, gosh, their, their passion and purpose, like what they care so much about. It’s like, freakin’ like, it’s contagious and like, like the only best way can get a contagion can be. Anyway (Lesley laughs) anyways, like it really is though like every time I get off a call with them I am sitting a little taller, flying a little higher, buzzing a little bit faster. And, and Brad actually joined today’s interview as well. So we have a foursome. In fact, I met Kelly, because of Brad. And Kelly and Brad go way back in time. And Kelly is such a connector, which is why we’re probably like, just to like kindred spirits there. But um, Kelly and Marisa have this amazing company Barely Canadian what you’re gonna hear about. And I really can’t wait for you to hear how they answer all their questions. Because I think that too often we’re trying to figure out how do we organize all the thoughts? How do we organize all the dots before we start something. And that’s not how things work. And even if you could connect all the dots, even if you had everything in place, and you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got the plan. I’ve got the plan, here it is.” Something is gonna come and rip that plan right out, water is gonna spill on that plan you’re gonna miss, you’re gonna lose a couple of those dots. And that’s okay. And that’s what makes that but it’s also what makes you realize what’s worth fighting for. And so these two women are super, super passionate about foster youth, and the organization’s could save and echoes of hope. And they have a social enterprise, which is like they created a product that I can’t wait for you to touch in your own lives. And it supports these organizations. And, you know, now more than ever, I think it’s really important that we follow our passions and our purpose and it really does make you light up and make you want to show up when you’re scared to death, to do something. So these two women are really doing something for a great cause. And they don’t have all the answers to how they’re going to do things but they are being it till they see it as they do it. And I’m really passionate about what they’re doing. Brad and I are so freakin’ stoked to be working with them and find different ways to collaborate with them and I can’t wait for you to also witness that journey because we are still figuring it out. And that is what makes it super super fun and I can’t wait to see how we can continue to support them in all our ways with our Profitable Pilates business and with OPC. I just the more more time and more excuse I can do to spend time with these women and what they’re doing I will. So without further ado, here is our first two guests interview and with Brad joining in so it’s special treat and I hope you enjoy it and I really can’t wait to hear your takeaways. Please tag us, tag @barelycanadian. And let us know how this affected you? How this helped you? How this show do some light and some inspiration? All right, thank you so much. Here it is.

Lesley Logan 2:59
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and business fitness coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guests will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.


Lesley Logan 3:40
All right, Be It Till You See It listeners. We have a very exciting adventure for you right now. There has there’s not only one guest, there are two guests and Brad’s joining us. So we have (Brad: What? woot woot woot) we have an actual foursome happening (Lesley laughs) on this podcast. Um, you’ve got Kelly Slattery and Marisa Polvino, I hope I said their names correctly. And I am just really delighted to bring these two women to you. They are doing something so amazing. And there just proof that like taking an idea and just going for it no matter how many obstacles or what people might think about going into a somewhat crowded market. And they’re doing it because they care so much about a special cause, I’m not let them tell you about but I just I had to have these women on because they’re I think they’re going to inspire you to Be It Till You See It and not let, not let anything get in your way. So Kelly and Marisa said thanks for being here. Can you each introduce yourselves?

Kelly Slattery 4:37
Yeah, Marisa so you go ahead (Marisa: What?) and you’ll talk… I always talk first. (Lesley laughs) You have to realize that I’m gonna be a gentle lady and say, “You talk first.” (Lesley laughs)

Marisa Polvino 4:46
Good morning Be It Till You See It people. Um, my name is Marisa Polvino. I am a film producer and content creator. I have a company called Straight Up Impact which creates thought provoking gain content around global issues that are most urgent. I also make films but I’ve been over the years moving more into the social impact space because my heart and my soul needs to be a little more fulfilled than what the customary film industry can do to one’s heart and soul. (Lesley laughs) And Kelly and I’ve been friends for a long time and I and when she launched Barely Canadian. As a social enterprise company, I immediately wanted to jump on board with her and help build out one some of the most snugly, softest, comfy where ever but also one that provides money towards foster youth and supporting foster youth. And I happened to be making a short film about uncovering the systemic issues in the foster care system. And what we can do as a community to come together and help these foster youth live a fruitful, powerful, beautiful life after the foster care system after they age out. (Lesley: Oh) So that’s about me and you can find me on Instagram at @marissapolvino and at @straightupimpact.

Lesley Logan 6:07
Amazing. Okay, I want to dive into that but we have to we have to hear back from Kelly first. So Kelly, tell us how (Kelly: So many) got here.

Kelly Slattery 6:15
Gosh such a tale. I’m a, I’m Canadian. My name is Kelly Slattery. And I came to America because I had a song in a Lionsgate Soundtrack, American Psycho 2. And I was an artist in Canada. So I was like, “I’m gonna move illegally to Canada, I mean to America,” (Lesley laughs) to your country. And so I made the journey. It was interesting that later on in life, I actually wrote a TV show about that experience of being an illegal alien, it was about, it was about an illegal Canadian who lives in with illegal Mexican family and works in construction. We did sell it to ABC. I had the co-creator of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang, as you know, my showrunner. So I went from like, then I started producing films. I was a founder of a company that we produced for Dave Grohl. We did Sound City, we did Sonic Highways. But I left actually pretty much when I sold that show that I had written. And then we had another… Anyways, I’ve always been involved in entertainment, as a as a songwriter, as a singer, as a producer, and as a writer. And when we adopted our kids, initially, my daughter from foster care at the age of 16, I decided to convert my life to service and so I joined the nonprofit space, which was really interesting. And, and really challenging. And, and it’s unique. Let me, let me just leave it there as calling it a very unique space, you know, but I learned a lot. And I learned that what I really want to do is something that makes a difference in the world. I always reference this film I had done for Lionsgate that I produced in Michigan, it was overnights, it was winter, it was exterior, it was awful, because (Lesley laughs) it was freezing and just like like physically traumatic, I would say just the cold even as a Canadian, which is why I’m called “Barely Canadian,” because I’m always freezing. But anyways, I realize this ended up in the Walmart bin for 2.99 on sale. I gave two years of my life and my heart to this, I’m not doing this anymore. So trying to really find purpose in my life. When we adopted our son, we’re actually in the process of adopting our son, we brought him into our family, we wanted to show them that an idea can become something and just with little steps and progression and just like due diligence of basic, you know actions every day or every week, you can build something. So that was the purpose of Barely Canadian was to show them how to be entrepreneurs, how to acquire basic business skills. And anyways, long and short people really liked the product and boom, it’s it became a company. And we give 20% back to foster youth. And Marisa started coming to the pop ups I was doing and she just was like, “I love everything about this. Can I participate?” I’m like, “Hell yeah.”

Brad Crowell 8:59
Did you know, did you know each other prior?

Kelly Slattery 9:01
Yeah, we had been engaged in some film projects together and and just became really fast friends. When Marisa moved out here from New York. So

Marisa Polvino 9:11
Yeah. I moved in New York, Kelly was the first one of the first people that I met outside… Well, wi… within industry, but outside of the industry friends that I had when I moved here and we fell in love immediately. It really was love at first sight.

Lesley Logan 9:24
Well, (Kelly: Yeah) you all have that because I, Brad’s known Kelly for a long time. But as soon as I got a call with you both I’m like, “Oh, I’m in love with these women. These women are amazing.” (Marisa laughs) We are donating to their cause… (Lesley laughs)

Brad Crowell 9:35
She was talking about you both for like a day and a half later. (Lesley: Yeah, yeah.) (Kelly: Oh my …) It’s really a great convo.

Kelly Slattery 9:39
Well, we can find kindred spirits, right. Like I think we connect because we were connected already. (Lesley: Yeah) I think, you know, and we’re taken by your gorgeous red hair. So that’s why we’re here. (Lesley laughs) Yeah, and then with Marisa the whites of her eyes were so white and I didn’t want to shoot you know, but honestly the whites over eyes are so white. It’s extraordinary. (Lesley: Oh my gosh) I remember that when I first met her.

Lesley Logan 10:04
Oh, ladies, I love you… I so I want to go, Marisa, you said something. And maybe the two of you can talk about this, I kind of feel like working, doing a social enterprise, working in a nonprofit space trying to make an impact, you almost have to be like, act as if what you’re doing is making the difference that you are hoping to make some day because it is so I don’t know, I won’t answer the question for you. But I feel like it’s so hard to show up every day for a cause that has so much systemic problems, that if you don’t act as if it’s like, what you’re doing is making the difference on a daily basis. It’s kind of hard. So can you speak to that? Like, what is it take to? I think a lot of people want a part of social impact. And like, what does it take to do that? Like, how do you start?

Marisa Polvino 10:50
You want me to start? (Lesley: Yeah) Well, I mean, I think everything is hard, right? Whatever, whatever you endeavor to do, is, it is like pushing that boulder up the hill, and finding certain projects, be it in the film side of the things, or in an apparel line. If you have a passion around what that product is bringing to the marketplace. And if you strongly believe that that messaging, that brand messaging around it, any kind of a product is one that the world needs, and that it can enact a change that is most vital, then it’s easy to get behind it. Because everything, everything is difficult. And you know, somebody, many, many years ago, you know, one the persistence of vision, but two like, if you do what you love, the money, the success, whatever it is that you’re hoping to achieve from it will follow. And to not just lead with your passion, lead with what you love to do. And what the messaging is and what what that content, that material, that peril, whatever that is brings to the world can add value to your soul and add value to your audience that you’re presenting it to. And I think what’s really easy is you know, like I’m wearing this sweatshirt. Yes, it is like shameless promotion. But it’s also like really super comfortable. I was taking my dog for a walk earlier, I had the sound like, “Oh, I’m just… I was not intending to wear it.” but like, “Oh my God, it’s so comfortable. I don’t want to take it off.” (Lesley: Okay…) And …

Lesley Logan 12:22
I have to say yes because I have three Barely Canadian sweaters and I wore them five days in a row. Like I just, I went through a cycle … (Lesley laughs) (Marisa: I can’t take it off. I was waiting)

Kelly Slattery 12:31
You know actually … Lesley texting you need one for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, (Lesley: Yeah) Saturday, Sunday, like the designated and I thought we should do that. Remember how they used to do underwear? (Lesley: Yeah)

Marisa Polvino 12:41
It has the labeled underwear? I was just thinking.

Lesley Logan 12:42
… I’m so glad you picked up on that because I was like, “I hope she knows I’m talking about. I’m talking about when you were a kid, the underwear.” (Lesley laughs)

Kelly Slattery 12:51
Yeah. Yeah, (Brad: That’s a…) But a kind of, I think it’s a great idea – is a fun little throwback though, you know. (Marisa: I love it) Why not?

Brad Crowell 12:57
I think somehow I missed that one.

Lesley Logan 12:59
I don’t think they had it for the boys. I think it was a (Lesley laughs) 80s girl thing.

Kelly Slattery 13:03
… wonder rose. We had wonder rose. (Marisa: We had wonder rose.)

Brad Crowell 13:06
Wonder rose. No idea what that is.

Kelly Slattery 13:08
It gotta be in northeast thing. (Marisa: … underwear)

Lesley Logan 13:11
So um, so you know, Kelly, you you started Barely Canadian. Before that you mentioned you wrote songs. And you know, you have this incredible story about like, a vision you had you you were in your grandmother’s house? And can you actually talk about that? Because I do think, you know, Barely Canadian came from the all the little steps along the way. So can we go back in time a little bit.

Kelly Slattery 13:35
It’s so funny. You should say that too because I do think that Barely Canadian is everything I tend to do is like an ode to my country, to my country. (Lesley laughs) Like it’s always like a salute, some kind of call back, some kind of like love letter, you know, to Canada. But but when I was, I had wanted, ultimately I, I’ll go back even a little bit more just to disappoint you in lengthening the story. But so I… had moved to Ottawa. I had heard about an open mic across the street. A friend of mine said, “You should go.” I said, “No, I’m not, I don’t sing anymore.” Long and short she made me go. The place asked me to start playing there the next day. I hadn’t like sung in forever. My sister came down heard me playing at this residency. Bought me a guitar. And she said, “You need to actually learn how to play the guitar because you cannot depend on other people.” With from that moment, nine months later, I recorded my very first album. I’d written all the songs. I recorded the album, and suddenly I found myself in HMV superstore. I was the, I was the only album blockbuster carried nationally. But I did all of that myself, right. So, I believe in, I think that was the empowering moment. You learn how to learn, play the guitar, you learn how to record yourself, you learn how to do all of this shit. Because if you think you can bank on anybody else, you cannot and it’s really empowering is as disabling as that might feel. So for me, I had received this guitar my grandmother had passed. I’m sitting as I offer didn’t say amongst a garden of clothes on the floor, just kind of distraught but watching the Grammys on this really shitty TV. And I thought, “I’m going to go there.” Like, “I’m going to go there one day for sure.” You know, and I wrote this song called My Life. This life is on its way, it’s actually on my first album, and, and it was like this kind of up, happy, happy song. Cut to two years later, I’m invited to the Grammys by EMI, which is pretty incredible, you know, then cut to about 15 years later, and we had done a film with Dave Grohl, that the album was nominated for a Grammy. And so we went to the Grammys. And coincidentally, I brought Marisa as my date.

Marisa Polvino 15:40
(Lesley: I love it.) That’s right, I remember that … (Brad: How about that.)

Kelly Slattery 15:44
So you know, manifestation, I totally believe that it comes from a deep rooted place, and that what you focus on will most certainly reveal itself. But at the same time, if you if you don’t focus on it for a moment, don’t worry, like your path is there. The road is windy, the road is rough. I feel like there’s a rhyme in there somewhere (Lesley: Yeah) that I should finish with …

Lesley Logan 16:06
Thank you for sharing that because I do, I do think a lot of people think it’s so linear. I don’t know why we think anything is linear, and nothing is ever done that way, like, (Lesley laughs) you know, but we anticipate that and so when we hit an obstacle, or we get distracted or something in life happens, and we have to take a pause from that. Thank you for sharing that, like, you know, don’t worry, it’s your the path is there. Because sometimes it picks up in a spot we didn’t realize, you know, so. Okay. I want to talk about you both got involved, maybe for different reasons. And I would love to hear it in helping foster youth. And I want to hear like, what, what was that? Because I think some people we’ve had people on before talking about working with charities and thing like things like that. It’s like, there’s so many things you could be focusing on. Like Marisa said, “She wants to make an impact.” There are so many problems in the world. How did you choose this? What what led you to that? And, you know, can you share more about that?

Kelly Slattery 17:03
I’ve always had an obsession with this notion within America, which is family is everything and this obsession that there’s a whole population of young kids, if family is everything, and I don’t have it, where does that leave me? Right? (Lesley: Yeah) So I’ve always just kind of really focused on that. And when I first moved to America, I start tried to start a charity called Home Base. And it was you don’t have to make a commitment to have children live in your home. But how about you just become a home base? How about at Christmas, on their birthday? They have somebody that they can connect with, somebody when they want to buy their first car? How do I go about doing that? So that was what home base was about. And in the process of trying to put this together? A friend of mine was on the board of Echoes of Hope, which is coincidentally one of the charities that we do support through our efforts at Barely Canadian, and said, “Why reinvent the wheel?A really good friend of mine has this nonprofit. Why don’t you meet with her?” Her name is Stacy Robitaille, who I now call sissy, because she is like my sissy. And we first met, we just had this immediate connection as as you do, as we do, you know, with those people that are meant to be in our lives. So I started volunteering with foster youth. I’d always wanted to adopt a foster child. And coincidentally, I think what helped put that into place was meeting my husband on our very first date, learning that his mother was in foster, and learning that he also wanted to adopt a foster child. So that was a big deal for me, because as you get older, and you decide to focus on career, instead of personal life, you think, “Gosh, I’ve missed the opportunity to have a child. But I, I’ve always wanted to adopt and have a child, I hope I can meet a guy that is okay with me not being able to have my own child.” Right? That’s the big fear for women as you get older. And so to actually have that first date with him, and that was very important to him. And a goal of his as well in life was incredible. So cut to what I guess three years into our marriage, we started to begin the process of becoming a foster parent, which is a very long process, but a very worthy process. And like anything else, little steps, and suddenly you’re there, you know, after a year’s time, and of course we we are a foster adopt family, we have fostered a couple of other kids and adopted or adopting our son and we have adopted our daughter. So you know, the whole population of foster youth out there is important to us. We helped our kids and our help kids helped us, find our forever home because truly kids save created our family for us. But within barely …

Brad Crowell 19:35
Kidsave as the organization?

Kelly Slattery 19:37
Yeah, Kidsave is how you can meet older kids to adopt. Because otherwise they’re going to age out. And so yeah, it was just …

Brad Crowell 19:46
Can you talk a little bit more about this age out thing and just, you know, (Lesley: Yeah) what does that mean? I think, I think a lot of people … like we (Kelly: I’m okay) I grew up hearing about adopting and then I sort of heard about fostering but didn’t really I understand the concept of it. And I certainly never understood the ramifications of aging out.

Kelly Slattery 20:05
Yeah. So if you don’t find it forever family, by the time you hit 18 years old, even if you’re in a foster home that you might have been domiciled for five years, but that family more often than not go, “Okay, you’re 18. See you later.” And they don’t have …

Brad Crowell 20:20
Domiciled means actually living with family.

Kelly Slattery 20:23
Living within that home, within that family. But by the time they’re 18, it’s like, “Okay, sorry, but we’re not kind of covering this anymore.” I think some people quite sadly, foster because it’s an income for them, versus wanting to really help a child …

Brad Crowell 20:40
So (Lesley: Yeah) while, so while the kids with the family that they’re getting the families getting a check?

Kelly Slattery 20:45
The family is. And by the way, it’s it’s a minuscule check, it’s nothing that’s going to be substantial. But if you are super low income, (Brad: mm-hmm) and, you know, maybe even disabled, sometimes, like, you know, it’s extra income for them. And, (Brad: mm-hmm) and I’ve met people that were super low income and not necessarily physically capable, who are incredible foster parents, you know, (Brad: sure, sure) so it’s not to say that that’s always the case.

Brad Crowell 21:10
Yeah, yeah, I don’t want to paint a bad light, but that there is (Kelly: Yeah, not at all) there there is, you know, some …

Lesley Logan 21:15
But the way the system (Brad: room) works, when they turn 18, no matter, no matter, like, you know, unless the person that is with them is able to afford to keep taking care of them and has the space, they’re going to age out because they’re no (Kelly: Yeah) longer being supported by the system.

Brad Crowell 21:29
Yeah, I guess that’s, that’s fair. I mean, it may simply be a matter of finances as well, maybe they cannot continue to afford to support them.

Kelly Slattery 21:37
Well, that’s the there you go, you know, there’s a plethora of reasons. And so it’s when you age out that the state does give the child some money, depending on the state is how much money they’re going to give them. They do have healthcare till their, you know, 25, they do have, you know, a train ticket or bus pass or whatever. But think about, what is it maybe $1,000 that they get a month, you’re 18 years old? Think about, you know, yes, our generation also, we, if you had parents, we felt very capable of leaving the house at that time, we also knew we had this amazing safety net behind us. These kids do not, (Lesley: Yeah) not at all. So so yeah, so we, we want to help kids, we want to encourage people to be open to learning about Kidssafe, which is you go in the weekends, you meet these kids, you play board games with them, make vision boards, get to know who they are. And you might even feel inspired and think I think I could be that child’s parent, you know, and that’s what those meetings are about. Kidsave actually has a Emmy winning documentary on A & E that we were actually featured in, but the process of adopting. And it’s really, really interesting, some kids get adopted, some kids don’t. But part of what we want to do at Barely Canadian is if you don’t find your forever home with the family, it doesn’t mean you can’t create your own forever home. And so we want to help with that. Hence, our fosterpreneur program that we’re developing. Here’s how you can do it on your own. You know, you don’t have to bank on other people, right, kind of coming back to that if you don’t have the family to bank on, bank on yourself, and still always bank on yourself. (Lesley: Yeah)

Marisa Polvino 23:09
Always think that yourself. (Lesley: Yeah, Marisa …) I think what’s interesting, just to add on that is, you know, these kids in foster care, they have a staff of people, you know, they have their casa, they have their social worker, they have their therapists, (Kelly: attorney) their attorneys, they have a whole staff, (Brad: Wow!) but they don’t have a person, (Kelly: Right) like who’s that person that’s in their life, that is without economic gain. Right? Who’s that person that’s not there to get the paycheck to be there for that kid? And where’s the community around that child or those groups of children that can give them the love, the self worth, the community, the skill set, so that when they do age out, they have a shot out there. And they are not then repurposing the foster care system because a lot of these kids that don’t have that come out with substance abuse problems, they’re teen mothers, those kids go back into the foster care system. And so it’s a vicious cycle. So getting these kids like through this fosterpreneural program, giving them the skill set, and the self value, the self worth to actually follow a dream, see it through and create a life for themselves outside of a system is a real huge goal. And we think what we can do as just individuals want a couple of people providing this, this life for kids outside of a system to give them something so much more than living off of a system that’s not really there to support them.

Kelly Slattery 24:39
And to kind of piggyback on that, just that we’re just learning ecommerce. We’re just figuring this out, and it’s new to us. So, I think there’s value to that when teaching a young person, you know, gosh, I’m you know, how much older than you and I’m just learning this you’re young with a fresh mind. You grew up with technology. So also kind of like I think adults show that vulnerability like we’re just figuring this out too. And I think (Marisa: Yeah) it’s a great way for anyways has been a great with for my kids to learn, you know, as Marisa knows them well. Just seeing how they’ve found growth and knowledge through this process.

Lesley Logan 25:11
I think you’re 100% correct there, because so many times I work with people, and they’re like, “Well, who am I to teach? So and so I’m just started.” And it’s like, you just have to be one step ahead. And, (Lesley laughs) you know, like, you don’t, you know, like, um, this one woman I listened to on a podcast, I can’t I can’t remember which episode it was… But she said, “If you want to learn the piano, you’re not gonna hire Billy Joel to teach you.” Right? Like, you’re gonna hire someone who knows the key, like the first few keys, like, that’s who’s gonna teach you and then you’ll, you know, like, have an either they’ll grow and you grow with them? Or do you find the next one, but like, I think, I think that vulnerability is so great for kids to see and also see that like, not everyone knows everything. And the people doing it are often making big guesses. And so it kind of allows them, maybe it ditches imposter syndrome, or allows them to see possibility, I think that’s really cool.

Kelly Slattery 26:03
Yeah, and it’s funny, you should say that too, because it’s also fun to do things together. So even though what will be a little bit step ahead, when you have somebody doing it with you, it feels safer, it feels like you have that team, you have that support. And that’s something I’m really enjoying, with Marisa wanting to get involved in the company. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s fun to bounce something off somebody, and it’s fun to have that support. And also even, you know, adults tend to be, parents tend to be accountability coaches. So that’s the other thing that you kind of offer when you’re when you’re teaching a young person. So but yeah, we’re, we’re, we’re excited. We’re building this out, and we’re pumped, and we can’t wait to talk to you guys more about it as well, knowing that you also do business coaching, you (Lesley: Yeah) know, in a really, really unique way.

Brad Crowell 26:49
Before we get into the fosterpreneur concept, which I think is really exciting. And I can’t wait to hear more about the the adoption or the excitement of the customers looking at Barely Canadian. Do you think that the social aspect of the company as a whole and the story behind it are what are lighting people up? Or is it really like the sweaters are just that amazing? Or is it a combination of both?

Kelly Slattery 27:22
I, okay, first of all, when people feel our product, they literally go, “Oh my God, this is so soft, relevant, soft and cozy, and the feeling of home.” Right? Because we’re all about finding forever home. So it’s all about feeling at home. But I definitely think that our kind of unique proposition as it were, is that we are in fact, an authentic story. I mean, we we started this to teach the kids, we really are a foster adopt family. You know, coincidentally, Marisa is doing this documentary on foster care and learning so much about it. That she’s she’s feeling fired up. So, I think when we, I do think when we share the story of how we came to be, why we came to be which, if I might make mention, we’re Barely Canadian, because I am always freezing this I kind of intimated off the top. But additionally, my husband was like you are, we just need to make you some summer mittens, summer sweaters for California summer, because (Brad laughs) you just cannot handle it. And that was that’s our first product are these super soft sweaters and super soft mittens that Lesley was wearing. And she gave us this great line. She was like, “I’ve been smitten.” You know and (Lesley, Marisa and Kelly laughs) “we’re starting to use that. I love it.” (Brad: That’s funny.) But but I think all of those really authentic pieces make a difference that that is what makes us stand out. So in answer to your question, I think it is definitely those pieces folded in and presented in the package of real and heart directed, which is would you agree, Marissa?

Marisa Polvino 28:50
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think you know, in talking about a crowded marketplace, like you know, there’s a brand that continues to come up every time I’m not going to give them any kind of nod on this because it’s all about Barely Canadian. But you know, there’s the brands that come up and there’s the cops. Like, well, is it this? Or does it fit like that? Or, (Brad: sure) you know, how much of it is sustainable? And there’s, you know, all the things that come up and it’s like we can, we are our brand. The it’s super soft. It’s very comfy. We’re giving back to foster youth. We love it. You’re gonna love it and it’s for everybody. There’s not just one demographic that’s being targeted. Everybody wants to feel soft and cozy and warm and feel like family. (Lesley: Yeah) What the brand is all about.

Lesley Logan 29:35
Your sweatshirts are unisexy. Correct? (Marisa: It’s unisexy.) (Brad: Yeah, they are.) (Lesley and Brad laughs)

Marisa Polvino 29:40
And luckily, it’s okay for boys to wear rainbows today. (Lesley: Yeah.)

Brad Crowell 29:45
So when, when I, when I first saw Barely Canadian, it was through I think an email or maybe it was a post by Stasia and I just clicked it and open it and I saw you know that you were I think I don’t know if she was too talking about you or somehow I knew you were involved Kelly. And, and I just opened up your Instagram and I was looking at it. And I was like, “This is so cool,” you know, and I was really connected to the colors of it. And I, you know, I saved it and I showed it to Lesley. And it wasn’t for like another month that I actually looked at your website. And when I went to the website, I didn’t actually know any of the story. And, and I, I started reading a little more, and I and I started to understand like, Oh, wow, it’s, it says, it’s almost as if the, the profit of it is was like the last thing. It wasn’t driven by this idea of like, “I’m gonna start a business so I could go make money.” Like it wasn’t, it doesn’t come across that way. And that was really interesting to me, as an entrepreneur who I’ve started, like, a lot of businesses to do exactly that. And and this was, was really a surprise. And then the more I started understanding, I thought what a cool example for, you know, some kids plus, you know, what a cool project to have with them. Because it made me then begin to wonder like, “Who built the website? Was it you or was it the kids?” Or like, “Who wrote the copy? Was it them?” Like, “Who picks the products? Was it them?” Obviously, they’re in like the photos and they’re trying the things on. I thought, “Man, this is a really interesting journey.” And I think it’s really amazing, you know, and when we got the products, I was like, “Okay, (Kelly laughs) alright, this is cool.”

Kelly Slattery 31:27
I love that observation, because I hadn’t framed it that way before. But that is exactly how it happened. So I just love that. You’re kind of helping us even understand what you’re right. We kind of went backwards, right? We started with “Let’s do this for the kids. We want to do something for the kids. Oh, right now, this is a business. How cool is that?” You know, and so no, I love that. I really appreciate that insight. You guys are very good at perspective, (Lesley laughs) marketing and cool things like the smittens. (Lesley: Yeah)

Marisa Polvino 31:59
I think also like do the, you know, this is a new thing, as you’re talking just about being being an entrepreneur. Right? And trying a lot of different businesses. I think a part of one is like, figuring out what is our competitive edge? We don’t know. So it is, it’s about trial and error, and getting products and maybe, you know, the rainbow on the back of this sweatshirt isn’t big enough. So yesterday we were together. And how can we like augment, like turns into lemonade, right? It’s not perfect, but let’s make it, let’s add to it. That just enhances kind of what our messaging is. Let’s take it and evolve it and learn as we go. And we’re like, “Oh, next time. We’ll, we’ll do it this way.” But by the but then maybe the zippers won’t be right. So then (Lesley: Well, so …) figure out how to make the zippers right. And the whole thing is a good entrepreneur and building the business. It’s like, shits gonna go wrong (Brad: Yeah) and have to pick up and roll roll with it and figure out how to make it right.

Brad Crowell 32:55
And now you got a hundred sweaters that have the thing wrong. You’re like, “Oh my God, what do we do with all these? We put the money in, we got to get rid of them somehow.” (Marisa laughs) (Marisa: Yeah) Like, yeah, it’s a journey.

Lesley Logan 33:03
Yeah, I mean, we’ve we’ve gotten to the… what we do create product. And it’s always, it’s an interesting process, I’ll say, but we around here like to say, “Perfect is Boring.” And like all of our (Marisa laughs) all of our merch that says that people look at it weird because it’s on backwards. And I was at the TSA (Lesley laughs) and I was like showing the guy my ID and he’s like, looking at me and like, you never want the TSA guy to look at you funny. Like, that’s not a good time. (Marisa laughs) And I was like, well, he goes, “What is your hat say?” And I was like, “Oh, it’s like, perfect is boring, dude you had me scared.” (Lesley laughs) It’s like, “Oh my God, I’m getting pulled into a room.” (Marisa: Yeah) Um, but but we say that be I say that because like, the rainbow might not be perfect. But like, is there a perfect rainbow? No, like, all the rainbows are different like, and I do think you know, what I love what you’re talking about. I hope everyone who’s listening is hearing this, they didn’t actually have all of the plans in place. They’re like, we love helping this group of people. We want to create something that helps this group of people. And we like soft things. So this is what we’re gonna start with. And so like … (Marisa laughs) I think …

Kelly Slattery 34:06
It’s exactly it. (Kelly laughs) (Lesley: I think …) (Marisa: And I’m always cold.)

Lesley Logan 34:09
Yeah. You know, I’ve been wearing my spins around the house. And (Lesley laughs) I’m like, I’m like, “This is perfect because it’s a Vegas house.” It’s either it’s too cold, it’s too cold. You have AC on or now it’s, you know, 40 degrees outside. So, but I think people get stuck on why have to have it all figured out. I have to make sure I have all the things in place. And like, more now more than ever, I think it’s actually just about getting started and, and putting the thing out there and hearing what the questions are because then you hear people go, well, you know, like, what’s your, what’s this is like this and then you can like, however you argue back or whatever you say back helps you identify another answer.

Kelly Slattery 34:48
Yeah, no, it’s so true. It’s so true. And then it’s funny because when we do introduce Kidsave and Echoes Of Hope to other organizations or companies like your incredible company, both of your companies and your multiple companies. It people are inspired and they want to get behind it, you guys made an actual substantial donation. You know, in December, it was really incredible. And so for us, that was our big we’d been alive for all of three months, we kicked off end of September, I had some serious health issues in October. And, and then, and then by December, we were able to donate to both, you know, nonprofits (Brad: Wow!) and but but but that was just one piece of it. But then you guys did this massive surprise of like, “What Kidsave? What oh Echos?” And giving these donations anyways, that that that those are the those the fields, that’s what it’s all about for us, you know. So you’re right, when you’re leading with, with with the heart, when you’re leading with the true messaging purpose, and derivative of why this all began, that’s when you’ll always win. It’s almost like when you’re writing. Like in television, you have that log line. That log line is so hard to do, right? It’s such a hard succinct thing to really pack everything into a sentence or two …

Brad Crowell 36:03
Yeah. As was I say for Tracy out there. (Lesley: I know …) (Lesley laughs) I’m stealing, I’m stealing (Lesley: It’s from Smartlace) from Smartlace here. (Lesley: for Tracy in Milwaukee) Explain to us what a logline is.

Kelly Slattery 36:13
All right, let’s talk to Tracy …. (Marisa: Let’s talk Tracy Milwaukee. What do you want …) Yeah. What’s up Milwaukee? (Brad and Lesley laughs) As you’re, as you’re going along, it’s always go back. What is that logline, you can’t completely depart from that. And that’s similar to if it’s all about the heart, it’s all about doing something that makes you feel like you’re doing something right in this world. Stick with that, you know, always make certain you stay at the core of it. That’s what is the goal because …

Brad Crowell 36:36
I think we would call our our listeners probably be more familiar with an elevator pitch where it’s like, you know, (Marisa: Right) how do you explain it in one or two sentences?

Lesley Logan 36:46
(Kelly: Right, right. Yeah and it’s true.) I want it. So Marisa, you’re working on a documentary? Is that how you got attracted to this particular cause? Or like, because I think, you know, you saw this and you’re like, “I’m jumping on board with that.” And I, and I want to point that out, because I do think sometimes people maybe don’t know how to get become part of something. And so I want to kind of go into that, like, how did you go, “Okay, Kelly, I’m in.” (Lesley laughs)

Marisa Polvino 37:15
Um, well, one in terms of foster care in, in general, I’ve been watching Kelly and have gone to some of the fundraisers. And I’ve also been with her through this process of her adopting both of these kids. And it’s really incredible, what, what it takes to become a foster parent. How, how much and how difficult if they don’t make it easy. Right? And these kids are also coming from a place of trauma. And, and, in taking that in and taking that on is something really incredible. I think like I honor Kelly for creating such a beautiful warm home for both of these kids. And I think she’s created that kind of a home for everybody that’s in her life, right? She’s has just the widest network and the most incredible group of friends and family and loved ones and created family that that surrounds her. So I’ve always been inspired by her.

Brad Crowell 38:19
I mean Kelly changed my life and I know you (Marisa: Yeah, me too) know that. But you literally took me down a different path because of a text message from like, after like a year later, after we had met. Changed, literally, that’s like a very defining moment …

Marisa Polvino 38:34
I kind believe that. (Kelly: I love connecting. I love it.) Yeah, she’s, she’s really a wonderful, beautiful, powerful spirit. And we’ve been for years wanting to work on something. And it has always been in the film side and the content side. (Lesley: Yeah) Let’s find a project to do together. And we have some projects that we’ve been dancing around for a really long time. And so just this the opportunity for Barely Canadian, you know, just to be with her and to help her I mean, started off with like, “Hey, let me just help you. I want to come help sell… sell a sweatshirts. And I love these, I want to promote it.” And, and I’d also been thinking like, “What, what do I want to do … in two years, three years in the making?” And of like, “What do I want to do in addition to being a filmmaker? I want to do something. I don’t know what it is. I have all these skill sets. What do I want to do with it?” And when this popped up, it just was something that felt right. It felt something like I’m just just soulfully, naturally, authentically felt like something I wanted to become a part of. And we had already had this friendship and a shared vision and love of have the similar similar things, similar people. So that was an easy thing. In terms of making a film about foster care is. It’s an overall series about the systemic issues that are contributing to the mental health crisis of our (Lesley: Yeah) youth today. And so we’ve already done two films. One of them was, “Have you, have the education system?” And the other one was “The pharmaceutical drug industry and the overprescribing of drugs for our youth today.” And then, because of what Kelly was doing in foster care, we were like the foster care system is such a broken system. And it’s a view of like, “What are we doing to our kids? (Lesley: Yeah) And how can we tell a story through the voice of a child,” because all of these films are through the voice of kids, to let them share their experience and give them a voice, empower them to take control of their destinies. And so I think it all like I think everything was very symbiotic because that’s the right word. (Brad: Right) (Lesley: Yeah) Like, is it all synergistic in terms of how it all happened.

Lesley Logan 40:47
But I also just want to point out, in case someone, like, missed it. She’d been looking for something for a couple of years, she was like, “What (Marisa: Yeah) else am I doing?” And I think we get stuck on I don’t know the answer, I need, like, need to like, and you I’m sure you weren’t sitting around twiddling your thumbs, you were working, you’re making these films and you but you had this question in your mind, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” And so then, when this came up, your body was like, “This, this is, this sounds really good. This feels really good.” Oh, so it happens to be really soft. So, I think I thank you for sharing that.

Marisa Polvino 41:17
So it was also… Can I just add like, it was also like it this is for everybody, cuz it gets like it can, you can start pulling your hair out. Like, “I want to do. I don’t know what I want to do. I have to do something.” But it was also like, “I want it to be a product, like a physical product that I can get behind and sell like a product that people are going to want, a product that people are going to need, a product that they don’t even know that they need that they want.” And when this happened, I was like, “This is so weird.” Like, this is actually the product and I never viewed it as, “Oh, this is the product.” It just felt like, “Oh, my God, light bulb. Hello.” This is what you’ve been putting out to the universe, (Lesley: Yeah) energetically.

Lesley Logan 41:57
Yeah. That’s I mean, and that’s just it goes back to what Kelly’s saying earlier. It’s like, the path will find you. Like it’s okay, it’s like you’re not focused on it 24/7. It’s going to find you. I have got chills. Ladies, you guys are… Your lines are friggin’ amazing in powerhouses. And I, I have I cannot believe that Barely Canadian is only from September, I feel like I’m like this been around like, I’m in. (Lesley laughs)

Kelly Slattery 42:18
I know, it’s it’s … (Marisa: … summer line) Yeah, we, um, we launched in September, by October, Nov… No by November, we had like a winter line. (Brad: Yeah) Let’s get into the next season real quick. (Brad laughs) And it’s been, it just kind of happened really quickly. It was so organic. It’s really everybody’s reaction to the product is really and it’s not just the product. It’s the, I daresay community, because we don’t have that yet. We’re so new, you guys have built this gorgeous community, you know, and you guys are so authentic with what you’re doing. And I can’t say we have a community yet, but we have, there’s just an energy when people get engaged with us. (Lesley: Yeah) (Brad: Sure) And what we want to do, they want to also you know, participate and and so it’s not, when you buy one of our products that that helps you know, a kid find a forever home. And that’s a wonderful thing. But it’s kind of, I don’t know, where I don’t know how or why. And this isn’t speaking very much to what you’re trying to kind of touch on because, you know, you’re trying to help people understand how to get to where they need to go. Right? And so, so just kind of letting it be and whatever it’s going to become, I feel what it’s going to become, I just can’t name it yet, right. But I do hope it’s the kind of community that you guys have. It’s just so flush and full of heart and authenticity.

Lesley Logan 43:35
I think that you actually just explained what I’m trying to help people do. So you’re literally being it till you see it meaning, you’re just being you’re you’re the love, you’re the drive, you’re the, you’re the feeling you want people to have around you, you’re already doing that and tell we see where this is going. So actually think you’re exactly what I want people to hear, what exactly what I want people to see because sometimes it’s not as easy as acting like a CEO, you know, sometimes as easy as acting like, you know, you are the business owner. Sometimes it is a little bit more complex, a little convoluted, but you have the passion, the story and the love. And you’re you’re literally just being all of those things to see what comes next. What comes next for Barely Canadian? What comes next for all these charities and these kids? And so I thank you for (Lesley laughs) for sharing that because like I said what I hear I don’t know, Brad, what do you think?

Brad Crowell 44:25
Yeah. Well, and also I think we haven’t touched on the fosterprenuer bit. So I think we’re gonna have to have you back on to dive into that a little more, you know, down the road. But you know, I think well, I’m going to ask Lesley’s question here. We ask every guest this, if you were to give our listeners one or two BE IT action items. BE IT being bold, executable, intrinsic or targeted action items that you have been doing or that you have tips for them when you were starting this pro… you know, Barely Canadian. What would you offer them?

Kelly Slattery 45:10
For me, be bold, is just be you, you know. You can’t, you can’t please everybody all the time, let alone every time, let alone any time. So do the best you can and be you. I always like to reference that, as I always put the great American poets Nikki – “You do you,” you know. You do you, I mean, the most kind of perhaps ill equipped person to give life advice at that time when this girl (Lesley laughs) was on Jersey shores. But nonetheless, that is the most succinct way I could think of, you know, to how to live your life. But I would also say, you know, my dad always said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” And that’s what you tend to find, you know, in Canada, where we like to align ourselves with our great hero – Terry Fox, and you just kind of put your head down and work. And when you look up, you’re often surprised what you built, you know, but just focus on what you’re doing, put your head down and do the work. And every time you look up, you’re going to be shocked, like, “Wow, and now we’re here.” This whole working thing, this diligence, this, just focusing on the task at hand really works.

Lesley Logan 46:17
That’s so true.

Marisa Polvino 46:19
Love that. I love your snooky. Something that I think about often is this quote, “Fear Eats the Soul.” And so I think a lot about that, because it can be really scary to start something new, and put yourself out there. And so I always put fear in the back in my back pocket. So that would be one thing I would say is, “Don’t let fear guide you.” It’s a false narrative. Show up. That’s the first step. Just show up. Show up for yourself and follow your gut. And stay true to your vision. Like persistence of vision is there and allow yourself to fall down, make mistakes, learn from, learn from the mistakes and just keep showing up every single day.

Brad Crowell 47:05
I already feels like that’s been happening with Barely Canadian in such a good way because of the way it’s taking shape. It’s really exciting.

Lesley Logan 47:15
Yeah, and that’s so beautiful. Just I mean like that, just like put your, put your stuff at the market, go to the thing, like get in the room like (Lesley laughs) (Kelly: Yeah) sometimes the universe …

Marisa Polvino 47:25
It’s the people that show up, that win. Truly most people don’t show up.

Kelly Slattery 47:30
Yeah, just like buying a scratch and win. (Lesley and Kelly laughs)

Lesley Logan 47:36
Oh my gosh. Ladies, okay, real quick. Where can people find you? On Instagram, it’s @barelycanadian?

Kelly Slattery 47:43
So at @barelycanadian on Instagram. I’m at @kellyslattery but really I just care about at @barelycanadian and then is our website. And if you happen to spell it with a bear instead of a bear so b e a r versus b a r e l y. Don’t worry, you’ll still land with us. We still will catch you. We got you. (Lesley laughs)

Lesley Logan 48:04
Way to, way to grab the URLs. And Marisa, you’re @marisapalvino at Instagram, on Instagram?

Marisa Polvino 48:10
Yeah, in Instagram and at @straightupimpact.

Lesley Logan 48:14
Okay, I’m with Brad we’re having you back. We’ll have to do the fosterpreneur and and just also here like what’s going on because, um, y’all we are very much going to be involved with these women and what they’re doing… I’m really, there’s it’s so many different passions and impacts I’ve wanted to make in this planet that you know, not always teaching Pilates can help. (Lesley laughs) So being involved in different ways and collaborating is huge and, and we’ll share those things as they come up. But um, definitely take the, check out the links in the show notes. And check out Barely Canadian and grab yourself some smittens and a summer sweater and, and y’all until next time, Be It Till You See It.

Marisa Polvino 48:51
Be It Till You See It. (Brad: Bye now.)

Kelly Slattery 48:53
Be It Till You See It. Thank you.

Marisa Polvino 48:55
Thank you so much. Bye.

Lesley Logan
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!

Lesley Logan
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.

Brad Crowell
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.

Lesley Logan
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.

Brad Crowell
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.

Lesley Logan
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.

Brad Crowell
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.

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