Kelly Kabotoff

Co-founder - Lake + Co.
Director of Retail - The Lake + Co. Shop

What’s your mission? 

I want to create a space that believes in collaboration over competition. A space in my family, my team, my community. I want to help people see that we are better together than alone 


If you could have a conversation with anyone - past or present - who would it be? 

This is such a hard question.  UffdaMyself at 10, I guess. I have an 11-year old daughter, and I feel like she is in this crazy space of being little but wise. I see so much of myself in her, and I wish I could remember what I thought back then. I honestly feel like it would be profound. Because she’s profound! Which makes me think that maybe in some ways I was smarter back then than I am now. And that I could take something away from that conversation that would lead me somewhere pretty cool.  


What personality trait or skill do you consider your greatest asset? 

My desire to connectAnyone who knows me knows that I love to connect the dots. I love nothing more than figuring out the 6 (or 5 or 4 or 3) degrees of separation between people.  I’ll admit it might be an obsession…maybe a fault. But I think my desire to connect people also makes me easy to connect with. And that leads to some pretty awesome things.    


What attributes connect you to your purpose? 

Transparency.  You can’t collaborate fully without being transparent.  Which isn’t always easy, but it’s so worth it. You should try it.  


What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without? 

Hugs. I love a good hug. From my kids, my husband, my parents, my friends…hell, I’ll take one from a stranger. It is the best medicine.   


What does success mean to you? 

Leaving things better than I found them. I don’t have this grand vision of going down in the record books, but I hope that I can leave a positive mark, however small it may be.  


What is the biggest challenge or greatest sacrifice you’ve made in pursuit of your passion? 

It’s hard for me to think of it as a sacrifice when it’s a passion. But I guess it would be time…and balance. That’s a challenge and a sacrifice.  I’m a believer that ‘You can do it all, but you can’t do it all at the same time.’ And I’m okay with that. Because everyone in my life knows that is the gig.  And I know that what I do do makes me who I am, not what I don’t doAnd it makes me better.  I’m better at my job because I’m a mom. And I’m better as a mom because of my job. And I’m a better person because of both of those things. Most people don’t understand that, but I know it’s my truth. And I’m okay with being misunderstood. 


Is there a significant decision you made or experience you’ve had that has forever shaped your life? 

Deciding to move homeHonestly, it would have been easier to stay. Scott and I had a fabulous life in Colorado. Great friends, happy kids, a beautiful home, Colorado sunshine. But window of opportunity opened up to move back to Minnesota and be closer to family. And something told us both it was time to go. I truly believe we could have been – and would have been – happy staying. But something called us home, and that decision forever changed our livesNot just because it brought me to Lake + Co., but because it brought us back to a place where we were able to redefine our life on our terms. And that is something that I will always be thankful for.  


In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up? 

I try to remember to breathe. It’s amazing how this simple and essential task can so often be forgotten.   


What are you afraid of? 

I’m afraid of losing myself in the whirlwind. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and I’ve always shared that part of myself openlyBut it’s hard to balance when the things that make me happy (kids, work, etc.) are also the same things that make me anxious. So, I have to get comfortable in the uncomfortable, which is…well...not comfortable!  


Do you have a motto or philosophy that you live by? 

This too shall pass.” It’s a great reminder in good times and in bad. The good times fly by, and the bad ones can feel like they linger. So, it’s a good reminder to appreciate the ups and downs.  


Is there a piece of advice you’ve received that brought you to who you are and the meaningful work you do today? 

You can be anything you set your mind to. My parents, both entrepreneurs, always supported that. I decided when I was 9 that I wanted to be an actress. I stuck with that all the way until I went to college. Even though nothing in my previous years had supported my ability to act. But I was fortunate enough to have my parents pay for my college education AND let me choose who I was going to be.  I never did become an actress, and didn’t even graduate with that degree, but I learned so much about myself in the process which was truly a gift.  


What words of wisdom would you want to tell your younger self? 

Trust your gut. It never fails, and I wish I’d listened more often. 


What are you most proud of? Or what do you envision your legacy to be? 

My transparency. I hope that people will remember that there is strength in being who you are. Even when that is flawed (which it always is!) and when you feel weak (which leads to strength). If I raise my kids to be transparent and kind I will consider it a win.  


What does the world need more of? 

Collaboration. We are all so much stronger together than alone. I wish everyone would see that.  


Favorite place? Why? 

The end of the dock at my family’s beach. It brings me a sense of calm that I can’t explain. It’s a place that holds my oldest, and fondest, memories and it can bring me back to my center instantly.