Growing Up Silpada
On July 2, an email was sent from Silpada Design’s CEO Tom Kelly to all employees and representatives.
The message was the first official announcement proclaiming that Jerry and Bonnie Kelly and Tom and Teresa Walsh, along with their families, had reached an agreement with the Avon Products Company to reacquire Silpada Designs.
Kelly’s message was brief: “The Kelly and Walsh families feel that Silpada’s long-term interest is best served by being in the hands of the people who founded it, grew it and continue to love it. This move will ensure Silpada will continue for decades and generations to come and remain a family-owned business.”
On July 8, an electrifying celebration was held on the lawn between Silpada’s two buildings on its 30-acre campus in Lenexa. The celebration resembled a high school pep rally, with hundreds of pennants bearing the familiar Silpada logo waving as Silpada founders and their families took the stage to tell of the company’s bright new future.
The event was streamed live to thousands of representatives around the world. On stage, standing beside their mothers, were Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, daughters of Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh, respectively, and new Silpada co-presidents.
435 Magazine sat down with the bubbly new presidential team to visit about what it was like growing up in Silpada World.
Delka was proud to share that she is nearly 32 years old. Her birthday is in October. One of her fondest memories is her mother’s love of jewelry.
“When I was younger, I never worried about losing my mom in the grocery store,” she says. “I could always find her by the jingle of her bracelets.”
Kelsey Perry nodded in agreement: “Me, too.”
When asked what it was like to watch the business grow, both girls gushed in unison.
“It was very cool.”
Delka says she loved watching both of their mothers — who were not only business partners but best friends — as their business soared. The mothers were room moms together at Holy Cross Catholic School.
“It was very fun that they were always filled with joy and excitement every single day as they made a company doing things they truly love,” Delka says.
As children, they would see as many as 20 women ringing their doorbell throughout the day. The doorbell ringers were Silpada’s first representatives, filled with enthusiasm as they picked up their orders. That was before the company’s tremendous growth forced a move into more practical office space.
Delka says she has been instilled with a passion for her work as she watched her mother live by the adage, “If you do what you’re passionate about, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Delka worked many roles in the business, beginning at a young age peeling and carefully placing Silpada logoed stickers on brown cardboard boxes used to deliver the .925 silver pieces.
Eventually, Delka worked her way up the ranks and became vice president of sales. She worked in that position from 2004 through 2007 until her third child was born. She has three children now, ages 4, 2 and 1, and she readily admits that they are her biggest passion now.
At the core of the Silpada business, being a mother is celebrated and honored.
|Ryane Delka, Bonnie Kelly, Teresa Walsh & Kelsey Perry|
“We are known for giving women the opportunity to build a life of their choosing,” Delka says. “Most representatives are working two or three nights per week. This allows them to focus on motherhood. We love the fact that our business has been built around the philosophy that mommies can be mommies and still be businesswomen at the same time.”
Perry is 28 years old and lives in Brookside with her husband of three years. She has worked for Silpada since the Saturday after graduating college and, like Delka, has worked in all parts of the business.
Perry says she feels the co-presidency is going to work well for Silpada. The two make perfect teammates, each having unique strengths that are complementary.
“With Ryane, she really knows the sales side of the business, and my passion has always been in marketing and branding,” Perry says. “Plus, we’ve known each other and have been friends for a very long time. We were in each other’s weddings. We know how to work together very well.”
She adds that their mothers’ business didn’t start with Silpada.
“Actually their first business was a wardrobe consulting company called ‘Suit Yourself,’ but our moms realized pretty quickly their real passion was accessorizing with jewelry,” Perry says. “That’s when they formed ‘Cool Jewels,’ the business that preceded Silpada Designs.”