This young entrepreneur weaves together all of her many interests to create a fulfilling career that’s 100 percent her.
For any person who subscribes to the myth that millennials don’t hustle and carry a sense of entitlement, they need only look at Kaylen Ralph’s resume to be proven wrong. This young entrepreneur defies that misperception, while also not abiding by the rule so many believe to be true: you must commit to just one path. Clearly, Ralph is a rule—and a glass ceiling—breaker.
Driven early on, Ralph dove into her first business endeavor, The Riveter Magazine, before graduating from the University of Missouri in 2013. Since then, she’s juggled waitressing gigs, freelancing, and working in the fashion industry—all for the sake of staying active in the creative environment in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she currently lives.
Finally finding the balance she’s craved for the past three years, Ralph is now a full-time stylist for Anthropologie by day, and runs The Riveter, a long-form journalism platform for female writers, along with co-founder Joanna Demkiewicz, by night and weekend.
“I initially really struggled to find a career that I enjoyed and didn’t just feel like a means to support me doing the Riveter,” says Ralph of when she first moved to Minneapolis after graduating from college. “Where [Joanna and I] are now professionally is so much better than when we first moved here, scraping as many odd jobs together as we could just to pay the rent. Working in fashion has become really fulfilling for me creatively, in a way that fills my tank and makes me even more excited to come home and work on the Riveter.”
Fulfilling her creative spirit, and noticing a deficiency in the industry, is why she embarked on creating a platform for female writers and journalists. Co-founder Demkiewicz and Ralph met working alongside each other at Mizzou’s student publication, Vox magazine. The duo recognized their shared interests and desire to create a space dedicated to female journalists, which they felt didn’t really exist in a satisfying way at the time.
“It became more urgent to us to actually create a magazine by our senior year,” says Ralph. “We were preparing to graduate and realized just how far reaching the gender problem really was in long-form journalism. So we launched The Riveter right before we graduated and moved the operation to Minneapolis to give it a home base that was urban and artsy. Long story short, we started the magazine because we wanted to create a space to publish work by women who didn’t feel there was a dedicated space for them in the magazine industry.”
An area that The Riveter has really thrived is with their collaborations, which evokes the inclusive environment they sought to create since the publication’s inception. Ralph runs, and is expanding upon, a book club that combines fashion and literature at the Anthropologie location where she works as a stylist. Once a month, they choose a book that has been reviewed by the Riveter. And Ralph curates outfits with Anthropologie’s current line to emulate either specific characters or a period in time in which the book takes place. Currently taking place at one location, Ralph is working towards expanding the club to other stores throughout the country.
“I’ve learned that I’m better at creating for the Riveter if I’m constantly flexing my creation muscles, using different platforms to flex those skills so they’re malleable,” says Ralph. “I think a common trait of more entrepreneurial-inclined people is that they have a lot of interests. So learning how to balance their first passion with other interests to fulfill themselves creatively and still support themselves financially is key.”