Entrepreneur Kelsey Rasco shares how courage, laughter and authenticity guide her – InForum

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Kelsey Rasco never thought she would have kids, but today she has two kids, two stepsons, and a baby store called Dash & White. Talk about a turn.

But Kelsey laughs it all off with her signature sense of humor and delightful wit. Though she vowed never to date anyone with children, Kelsey changed her stance completely when she met Shawn — who she describes as a complete “smoke show” and a great dad — and his sons Benjamin, 8, and Jackson, 7 changed. While busy building a business and empowering women through networking events, Shawn stays at home with 3-year-old daughter Rhyan and 18-month-old son Rudy.

Kelsey is open about her “incredibly messy” life right now, sharing that her own house is far from perfect and likely has Cheeto fingerprints on the door, even though she owns a home goods store full of chic furniture and beautiful decor. “And they’ve probably been there for months!” She laughed.

Every day, her sense of humor and self-esteem drives Kelsey to keep working and dreaming about how she can continue to touch the lives of everyone around her.

Kelsey grew up in Hutchinson, Minnesota where she had the unique opportunity to work in an art gallery where she fell in love with beautiful things. After high school, Kelsey moved to Moorhead to attend Minnesota State Community and Technical College, although her “persistent” entrepreneurial drive was probably more of a driving force behind her career path than a single degree, she admits.

She added a few more years to her resume working in FM art galleries and continued to nurture her dream of opening a shop featuring beautiful items worthy of a gallery of their own. Realizing she needed to change her life, Kelsey made her way west to Bend, Oregon, and had what she describes as a “beautiful and damaging experience.”

“I walked out there and had a super humbling experience,” Kelsey shared. “A lot of people say that living in central Oregon is a prospect of poverty, and I ended up having to put together a job presenting the owners with their mistakes and inefficiencies and a plan for improvement.” The business owners placed Kelsey in a managerial position where she implemented the plan she developed, and it turned out that her experience in analyzing and refining business practices would come in very handy later. “Oh yeah, Dash & White is doing perfectly,” Kelsey joked. “Without a doubt, these experiences really defined and crystallized the direction of Dash & White and how I want to lead it.”

Kelsey knows her entrepreneurial journey requires her to be away from her young children, but that makes the time she spends with them even sweeter and more purposeful.

Photo courtesy of Ten Little Chickens Photography

When Kelsey realized she had to leave Oregon, Fargo was the last place she would land. But actually Fargo attracted her. “There’s something so cute about Fargo-Moorhead,” she shared. “It’s sacred and beautiful and homely with growth options. Fargo is a really beautiful, youthful city with a calm vibe. It’s just lovely.”

Armed with her dream, her experiences and her entrepreneurial spirit, Kelsey decided it was time to start her own business. In August 2019, she opened Dash & White in The Shoppes on Blu Water Creek along 45th Street in South Fargo. Kelsey fills her shop with a fun mix of mid-century modern pieces, gadgets, accessories, artwork and handmade cushions and throws.

When she opened her doors, Kelsey didn’t have a grand opening or big celebration; She just quietly unlocked the front door – the one with an inviting “Hello, nice to meet you. Welcome to Dash & White” on it – waiting for customers to find it.

Looking back, Kelsey likened the situation to not telling people it’s your birthday but still expecting them to come out and celebrate with you.

“The moral of the story is tell people it’s your birthday,” Kelsey laughed at her store opening. But she was undeterred and instead set out to share her story at networking events where she connected with so many community members and fellow entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone,” she shared. “It’s exhausting and not for the faint of heart. It has ups and downs and some seasons are going to be great and then something like COVID happens.”

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Kelsey shared that she can focus on her business because her husband, Shawn, is staying at home with the kids. She said, “He filled the void she didn’t know needed to be filled in order to be a mom.”

Photo courtesy of Ten Little Chickens Photography

COVID hit Dash & White like so many other businesses in 2020, but then Kelsey was dealt another blow in 2021: problems with contractors delaying the opening of their store in a new space along 32nd Avenue South. They and a neighboring company, Allison Lundes Floret & Foliage, planned to open in mid-April, only to find the contractor they hired hadn’t done the job, they told The Forum in an April 30, 2021 story. Instead, the entrepreneurs hired a new company to complete the project, forcing a months-long delay in reopening, but Kelsey is trying to stay positive about everything she’s learned through the ordeal.

“This whole season has been so awful but you have to get up and keep marching,” she shared. “I had a whole tribe handing me water, and a whole community telling me I could do it … so I just moved on.” And though Kelsey said she’s still grappling with the financial fallout of what While the contracting situation has caused her business, she remains hopeful she will soon be far enough away from this “humiliating and horrible season” to be weathered by the success of Dash & White. After the store reopened in July 2021, Kelsey shared that she decided to look at the situation through a positive lens.

“I kind of found joy in the process,” she shared in a July 8 forum story. “Joy doesn’t always mean happiness to me. There are lessons to be learned and being intuitive in the moment, something I’ve really focused on, so I’ve found joy in that.”

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Kelsey Rasco is the owner of home furnishings boutique Dash & White, wife of Shawn, mother of two and stepmother of two.

Photo courtesy of Ten Little Chickens Photography

As the conversation turned to Kelsey’s family, the joy was evident on her face and in her megawatt smile. She honestly shared some of the challenges of being a blended family, like distance and different rules, but Kelsey has loved watching the relationships between all four children develop over the years. She recalled her “magical” secret ceremony with Shawn on December 31, 2019, where they shared vows they’d written for each other and how she could also vow to her stepsons to always be there for her.

“When I met Shawn and his boys, I knew I was protected and loved, and I wanted to give (my stepsons) the tools to thrive as much as my heart would allow,” she shared. “Then, with my firstborn, that love ran wild and burst open my heart; (that love) grew like wildfire.”

When Kelsey talks about raising babies and a business, she doesn’t sugarcoat the situation. “We’re doing our best,” she replied. “My husband is gaining a lot of weight and I can see how much more exhausting staying at home is than being a business owner…he filled the void I didn’t know needed to be filled to be a mom.” , and we balance nicely.”

Shawn is Kelsey’s Mama Dash’s daddy dash, she laughed, and together they work every day to raise little people and run a successful business. As Kelsey looks at the future of her company and family, and how much each of them will change and grow in the years to come. She also hopes that one day her children will look back and know how hard their mother worked every day to create a future for them through her business.

“My kids just aren’t old enough to see me keep going and sometimes I come home and cry and sometimes I come home late and when the boys are only here for the weekends they say I’m all the time work. . . but I hope they know that when I wasn’t there (at home) I was here (at the store) for a reason,” she said. “I hope that each and every one of my children knows that they can move mountains. No matter what it is. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be successful…but as long as you bring good things into the world, that’s nice. That’s all I want them to know.”

Strong connections for strong women

Kelsey loves to talk about how important networking was early on in her entrepreneurial journey, and she quickly realized that women in particular could benefit from a supportive community where all aspects of their lives are shared and celebrated.

“I always thought if I had a platform I would want to spread goodness and kindness to one another and I wanted to have a women’s group that was non-political and non-religious where I could be Kelsey without being Mama Dash,” she shared .

So Kelsey created the Powerful Woman Facebook group to empower and honor all women and their individual stories. (She shared a raw and candid photo of herself, which prompted an incredible amount of discussion and heartening encouragement that has become a herald of the group.) Since the group’s inception, Kelsey has hosted small events for members, but in March she’s hosting an event aimed at helping women feel great and have fun.

“Revelry by Powerful Woman” features a morning session, led by keynote speaker Rebecca Undem, with an evening session of elegance and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased for either or both sessions and tickets are available at https://checkout.eventcreate.com/revelrybypowerfulwoman/select-buy. The event will take place on Friday March 25th at the Riverhaven Events Center in Moorhead.

“It’s going to be an amazing event,” Kelsey shared.

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Dash & White owner Kelsey Rasco. Photo by Hillary Ehlen Photography

Dash & White was named Best Furniture Store in the Best of the Red River Valley 2021 competition. Honored by the award, Kelsey realized her business only exists because of customers. “We’re here for no other reason,” she said. “Everyone who shops at Dash & White is a sacred guest, no matter what they buy. You will receive the best customer service because no matter what, my family thanks you.”

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