We had the good fortune of connecting with KELLY Furano and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi KELLY, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?

For as long as I can remember, my parents, both successful entrepreneurs, encouraged me to turn my dreams into reality.

In my teenage years, I loved to perform. I landed a top talent agent and auditioned weekly for film and TV roles.  Mom and dad always encouraged me to write my own scripts and create my own content.  Being in the driver seat of my goals was an important lesson they preached.

By the time I graduated from university, I was ready for a new dream.  Enamored by the fashion industry, it became my obsession to build global fashion brands.  I became the first employee of True Religion Brand Jeans, a world-wide premium denim public company that sold for an excess of $800 million. It was my first taste of building something from scratch.  I traveled 250 days a year for 10 years and managed sales teams on every continent.  The learning curve was steep but the ride of a lifetime.

From there I continued to incubate and scale other people’s incredible brand ideas through an agency I formed.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I garnered the courage to leverage my network and skillset for some of my own untethered dreams.  No doubt the fear of failure was suddenly so much greater.

I’m so inspired by brands with meaning, quality, fun and integrity. Successful businesses that stay true to their values and honor their legacy. Having supported such beautiful success, it has been hard for me to think small when it comes to my dreams. Not long ago I realized this was exactly what was paralyzing me from going for it.  I try to remind myself every day that I have to start somewhere and small sounds just right.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

For 20 years I’ve supported a wide variety of creative founders and CEO’s.  Whether I was a corporate executive or a senior advisor, my fundamental role was to support leaders in growing their businesses all over the world.  Mostly because I love to learn, I recognize that I have a uniquely diversified expertise of branding across multiple industries including entertainment, music, fashion and hospitality.  Something evolved in me a few years ago and I felt a strong pull to build my own brands.

in 2018, I dreamed up a hospitality concept called Forrest, a multi-cabin dwelling and experiential membership club for families.  Part of my dream was to inspire my favorite hospitality companies to embody the values that we as conscious, connected, global community thought leaders crave in a hospitality experience.  Through this endeavor I was hired to support AMAN on a luxury glamping development at Amangiri called Camp Sarika as well as SIX SENSES on their latest development in Costa Rica.

During COVID, I moved our family to Kauai and the entrepreneur in me was inspired to create a product that would connect people in a fun, authentic way.  As a lover of beer with a family who owns and operates restaurants and breweries in Los Angeles, it seemed like a no-brainer to tap into this resource. I collaborated with a local Kauai juicer and our award-winning brewmaster in LA to develop a beer brand for women called Sandy.  Often frustrated that women don’t embrace beer, I wanted to create a brand that changed just that.  Sandy is a beer for the beach, named after my mother, inspired by Shandy.  Sandy will launch in Summer of ’22 with an I.p.a, blonde and a hard shandy.

What sets me apart from others might be that I have a global understanding of market needs and have been fortunate to foster relationships all over the world with retailers, investors, innovators and wonderful humans alike. 

I have been incredibly lucky to have met such talented founders and creatives who trust me with their dreams. I am most fortunate to still have these people in my corner as I embark on building some of my own.

The most important lessons I’ve learned along the way is to have fun, stay focused, and ask for help. I know I can do anything I set my mind to but this often means I try to juggle more than one person can handle. I have to remind myself that a great leader is someone who is not afraid to ask for help.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

In September of 2020, I told my husband and kids we were escaping LA. We moved to Hanalei, Kauai, our favorite Hawaiian island.

Living there was so transformative, we bought a house so we can always have a place to bring the family when we need to turn the volume down.  For those who understand how sacred the north shore of Kauai is, I want to take them on my favorite 5 mile hike to the most incredible waterfall they’ve ever seen.

I want to stop for shave ice at wishing well before grabbing fresh ahi burritos at Sushi girl.

I want to take them stand-up paddle boarding up kalihiwai river to a secret waterfall and have mai tai’s and tapas at Barracuda for dinner.

I want to watch the sunset over the ocean at Ke’e beach and rise early for a longboard surf at the cape and a hot yoga class lead by Kristin at Black coral.

I want to swim the reef at tunnels beach with my mermaid friends and take a nap under the pine trees at Hanalei bay.

The most incredible thing about this place is the community. I am forever grateful for this magical island paradise.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My dad, Dave Furano, showed me how to be an entrepreneur, In my lifetime he has been an executive at IBM, a tour manager for the greatest musicians in the music industry, a restauranteur, inducted into the rock and roll hall fame, a brewmaster, incredible husband and father to my brother and I.

My mother, Sandy Furano, showed me how to sell what you believe in, how to love big and share your light.

Jeff Lubell, founder of True Religion showed me how to learn by doing and lead by empowering.

My aunt Cindy and uncle Mike taught me how to research, ask questions, listen more, humbly lead, and take calculated risks.

Website: www.sandybrew.com, www.kellyfurano.com

Instagram: @kellyfurano, @sandybrewco

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyfurano/

Image Credits
@poppetpenn

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