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Wednesday Woman : Kelly Helfman

Kelly is one of my dearest friends that was gifted to me through mutual girlfriends. We connected instantly, and on many parallel levels. We both chose to marry outside of our faith, while maintaining the values, traditions and practices of our religion. Not an easy feat! We are both deeply devoted to our families as well as our careers, another balancing act we both share.

Kelly is an incredibly dynamic human being, and a true inspiration to women. She gives everything she does a 100%. She juggles motherhood, a husband, a demanding full time job, and still somehow invests in her friendships wholeheartedly. Kelly shares openly of her struggles as a working mom that take her away twice a month for business engagements. She sacrifices major events, like talent shows, first days of school, open houses, to name a few... It isn’t without difficulty, but her hope is that in the long run Davie and Grey (her kids) know she did it for them, and that she’s setting a good example. I truly look at her with so much respect, and quite honestly, awe, as she does everything with grace, positivity and exceptional courage.

Kelly has always believed that she could have it all. A career, a family, and deep friendships. She has proven that all can be achieved with dedication, faith and love.

She comes from generations of deeply committed working mothers. Kelly’s sweet Grandmother was a holocaust survivor who was a seamstress, she literally sewed uniforms for the Nazis. Kelly’s mother owned a vintage clothing store in LA as well. They used to spend their weekends buying for the store at estate sales, the goodwill, salvation army and garage sales. Kelly learned from a young age how to have an “eye” for a good piece. Working at her mothers store, is how she learned the basics of retail, wholesale, markups, budgets, etc. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2003, Kelly started her own clothing line called: KWEEN by Kelly Markiewicz. The line was a collection of tops, dresses, and bottoms that were inspired by some of her favorite vintage pieces that she had collected over the years. Kelly was fortunate to be in a great showroom with brands like Heathrette and Megan Fabulous. The line was a great success but such a hustle.

Kween got in Lucky Mag, In Style, on celebs and was in a major show room, but ultimately, Kelly just was not a business owner at heart and wanted a steady income and structure. In 2006, Kelly interviewed for an entry-level position as a Customer Service Rep for WWDMAGIC and got the job. Thirteen years later at the same company, Kelly has worked her way up to the President of all the West Coast Women’s events, overseeing sales, merchandising and partnerships for WWDMAGIC, which was named the top U.S. tradeshow in 2018, along with PROJECT WOMENS, STITCH, and POOL Tradeshow. These 4 show brands take place twice a year in Las Vegas and total over 35 million in revenue yearly of her companies fashion business. Kelly has a team of 14 people reporting to her between Sales and Marketing. Talk about a go-getter with an inspiring work ethic.

With over a decade of experience at MAGIC, she is passionate about helping retailers and designers succeed at trade shows and in business, sharing her expertise on fashion podcasts such as Boutique Chat, Successful Fashion Designer, Gather Geeks and Boost Your Boutique.

Kelly says, “the best piece of advice I can give to all young girls that are starting out is to be punctual, patient and accountable while also showing confidence. In addition, dress the part!! (sort of a fashion tip).”

I have heard Kelly share this inspiring motto which is “ be the CEO your mom always wanted you to marry!” I have to say I love that.

Kelly is a visionary, a leader and most definitely a women of influence. In addition, Kelly is a supporter of others success. I love that about her. If only more woman were this way, the world would be a different place. As a woman, and a mother of daughters, I feel an enormous sense of pride to see my friend trailblazing on behalf of women. May we all remember that we can, and deserve to have it all.

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