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2011 Forty Under 40: Kelly Campbell

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About me...
Kelly Campbell
Founder and co-owner
The Village Experience
Executive director
The Village Cooperative
32
Web sites:
Social media:
On my hip:
BlackBerry
Most-used apps:
Facebook
Twitter
Favorite stuff:
Books, including "Half the Sky," by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and "The Blue Sweater," by Jacqueline Novogratz; movies, including
"I Dreamed of Africa," "Pride and Prejudice" and "Beyond Borders;" Egyptian Café; Heartland Film Festival; Indianapolis Monthly Restaurant Guide
 

Kelly Campbell believes in stepping out of her comfort zone. As founder and co-owner of The Village Experience, a fair-trade retail store and socially responsible tourism company in Broad Ripple, she’s often out of her normal time zone, as well.

After spending years working in New York in the fashion industry, she turned her attention to not-for-profits and humanitarian ventures. She now spends at least six months a year visiting developing countries, seeking struggling women who are interested in learning to support themselves by making a product to sell, as well as leading groups of travelers who will stay local, eat local and shop local.

“So many times Westerners come and they stay at Western hotels. It doesn’t really do a community any good if you go to Kenya and stay at the InterContinental,” she said.

Since launching their business two years ago, Campbell and her sister and business partner, Anne Campbell, have already expanded their store at 6055 N. College Ave. and taken 15 trips overseas. In a related solo venture, Campbell operates the not-for-profit Village Cooperative, which raises money for sustainable projects in Kenya. She and her sister decided to focus on one country, nurturing relationships there and trying to perfect a model.

Campbell has a degree in business and merchandising from Indiana University and a master’s in international relations from the University of Indianapolis and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She says the store’s growth shows that people appreciate the concept of fair trade, which means that the people who create the products get paid fair wages.

“If there was a scarf that could be produced in China for a quarter,” Campbell explained, “we’re most likely going to pay $5 or $6 for it. That money will go to make sure the woman is compensated properly.”

As the workers earn a living wage, their standards of living can improve.

She returns to Kenya in January for the opening of a preschool academy.

“To see how a little money can actually make a huge difference, is really what motivates us,” she said.•

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

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