What’s passion, Anyway?

I came to realize that I was an entrepreneur, masquerading as a happy and compliant employee.
— Kelly Nyland


We are moments away from our One Year Anniversary of Petalfox founding. This time last year, Kelly decided to embark on a new journey, that simply calling “a career change” doesn’t do justice for.

Before I started my company, I would spend an hour in the car every morning listening to the Gary V Audio Experience podcast. I would pair this podcast with a daily flat white and it would fire me up just before I spent the rest of my day as a cog in the corporate wheel.

However, this daily experience left me with a residue of disappointment, angst and frustration because I came to realize that I was an entrepreneur, masquerading as a happy and compliant employee. And each day I felt less like myself as I listened and compared myself to all of the founders who had found a way to do what I [seemingly] could not.

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And then something happened.

She decided that her dream of retiring to open a flower shop, didn’t have to be a dream, and it most definitely did not have to wait to be the end of her career. So she infused what she knew with what she loved.

"Spending time in the tech industry has given me an appreciation of the wired jungle of start-up offices - full of dev boards & robot parts. However, I've often wished there was a way to infuse more organic material into my life and workspace.”

Cut flowers require little attention. There is brevity in both their fading beauty and necessity for care. There are few things in life that need nothing from us.

There, in the middle of her journey, dreamt up in her Los Angeles home, Petalfox was born.


Kelly Nyland grew up in the green space between Flint and Detroit, Michigan.  Her father would query her on the names of plants, trees and flowers during their weekend strolls through their 500 acre farm.  Her grandfather raised orchids in his greenhouse while her grandmother sculpted, painted and grew rare botanical beauties in her garden.

At 19, Kelly helped her father start a paper company which she later grew into a boutique creative agency just after college.  Over the past 15 years, Kelly has had a hand in building 4 tech companies from Paris to Los Angeles.  She has brought over 120+ digital & physical products to market in 40 countries and launched 10 global brands.  Her expertise ranges from marketing & communications to product design and creative strategy.

After spending the last 15 years working in technology, Kelly has founded a new lifestyle brand, Petalfox, which commences with flowers and plant life.  She believes that time is our most precious and valuable resource and that curated experiences inspire collaboration, creativity and a desired sense of community.

We asked Kelly to share with us about Passion, seeing at Petalfox is a fusion of both knowledge, experience and “passion.” Check it out below.

Kelly, on “Passion”

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The word ‘passion’ is thrown around a lot these days:

Find your passion.

Follow your passion.

Do it with passion.

Enter the first quirk you’ll need to know about me.  I love etymology. I frequently google words to more fully disect their true meaning.  I believe we spend our words like currency. Some we throw away for immediate gratification and some we invest.

Passion is defined as showing or caused by strong feelings or a strong belief.  

There are many things I have strong feelings about when it comes to Petalfox, but I’d love to talk about those most relevant to the audience that will read our Founders blog.  So I’m going to assume you’re a founder or you have an entrepreneurial passion that you’re hoping to pursue a side-hustle or full time gig.

I am most passionate, both in life and related to Petalfox, about learning.  Building Petalfox puts me directly at the center of learning how to build a company, how to architect a great customer experience through technology and how the global supply and growing of flowers can be made accessible every day.  It’s no secret that while I’ve had exposure to both of these areas, I would consider myself an experienced neophyte in both domains. It is at this intersection that I feel both equally vulnerable and charged.

The strongest belief I have about Petalfox is that we are building one of the most interesting lifestyle brands, beginning with flowers.  We have the opportunity to elevate the role that self-care plays in our daily lives by making the things we love (enter FLOWERS) more accessible.  I believe that we are the most equipped founding team to create and build Petalfox - a brand with a text commerce and subscription approach to delivering the things we love, more often.

I recently heard the most interesting piece of advice from Amit Shah, the CMO of 1-800-Flowers.com, on hiring.  Amit recalls that in the past we’ve hired people based on IQ (intelligence quotient), that in present day we talk about hiring people for EQ (emotional intelligence), but that in the future we will hire people for LQ (learning quotient).  This statement illuminated not only a path I’ve been following, but the process we are currently undergoing in hiring the first members of our team. When I set out on this adventure almost a year ago, to build Petalfox, I chose this path in knowing it was the single greatest way that I could achieve both professional and personal growth.  And now, Rhenee & I are eager to ourselves with smart advisors, friends and a team that is passionate about learning.”

Super best


Fave things this week:  

The Girl Powered Shop by Lou & Grey features LA designer Hilary Novell and her brand, The Style Club.

The Style Club is based in Montebello, CA. The Style Club started back when founder Hilary Novelle opened for major artists on a concert tour, making her costumes before she went on stage. Provided with a free denim sponsorship, she was designing a new pair of jeans everyday - ripping, shredding, bedazzling, embroidering and sticking patches all over anything she could because she didn’t have the money to buy fancy costumes. It quickly caught the eyes of the girls on tour and the head denim designers. Little did she know, that was when The Style Club was born. Crew neck. Short sleeves.

Kelly Nyland Petalfox Founder CEO

Something new I’ve learned that I want to share:

I’m so excited to introduce a new flower hybrid this week.  The flower is called “Belonica” and it’s a variety of the oriental lily.  What makes this flower special is that it is a lily….grown inside another lily [insert MIND BLOWN]!!  And while everyone likes a good stamen, I especially like that this breed eliminates the annoying yellow pollen that lillies are notorious for spreading.  

Guess what? This flower is cut fresh at our farm in Southern California and shipped directly to you this week 🙌.  

What’s got my attention:

I thought the piece that Goop put out on polygamy was very interesting.  I’m fascinated by the shift of gender roles and relationships right now. Read it here:  A Therapist on Polyamory and Consensual Nonmonogomy

Song on repeat

Leave the Light On, Overcoats

Dear Petalfoxes - When it comes to “passion” and learning; what has been the most impactful thing that you’ve learned this week?

— Kelly