Kristy Starr, 31, at her office

Kristy Starr, 31, at her office

I came to know Kristy by way of Katy. And it just so happened that I heard some of Kristy's story on the Dog and Pony radio show on KPOV just before meeting her. I didn't know what she looked like, but as I made my way into the front door of her office, she was standing right there with a smile and an anticipatory look that likely matched mine. We sat and chatted for about an hour before the interview even started and chatted for another hour after it was done. Her warmth and enthusiasm are such wonderful traits as is her willingness to ask questions and listen and learn and share. I really enjoyed my time chatting with her. It's no wonder that she is finding success in her endeavors. 

Who are you and how would you describe yourself?

I'm Kristy Starr and I would say I am a person who is passionate about helping others and, as I grow in my career and my future, hopefully I can bring other people along with my success. 

What matters to you? What motivates you?

I would have to say education. I personally don't do very well with reading or even like watching documentaries and stuff like that - that's not how I learn. So the way that I've learned to enrich my life is by talking to people who are specialists in their area. So like, for instance, somebody who is really good at marketing - I can talk with them and then I'm automatically getting a peer-reviewed system where I don't have to go and read about it, I can just learn about it from people. In all honesty, I don't have a TV... my entertainment is learning and it's almost through people. And so I've found myself building relationships and then it's kind of selfish in a way, 'cause I get to learn about everything. And I would say learning is huge for me, but I'm so tired of paying colleges to do that for me (laughs). And half the time I feel like I'd go to college and I was like, Why did I even come here? I'm learning so much more out in the field than I am in this darn college. 

What does community mean to you? 

Well, I think there's kind of a couple ways people utilize community. And I think that community can be more of a symbiotic relationship. It can be like I give back to the community and the community gives back to me. And I feel like you kind of develop your own community around yourself, in a way. Like, you build kind of a tribe. There's like a small version of a community, which is kind of like your own little tribe. And then the community as a whole - the culture and the systems that are in it, different things like that - I would say that's a different version of community. So, my definition of community would be surrounding myself with like-minded people that I make them better and they make me better. That would be a community I kind of am developing and feel like I'm a part of. 

Is community something you think is important? 

Yeah. I would say so. I mean, I feel like we're pack animals in a way. You know what I mean? We can't all be good at one thing. And in order to get better as a person and get better as a business owner and become better as a community, you have to work together. And, by doing so, you kind of come up with a group of people that you are like-minded, I think. Like here, our community is sports and outdoors and different things like that and everything's kind of user-friendly for that. Like, the mountain's here and different things like that. So the community aspect - I think you surround yourself with who you want to be surrounded with, I guess. And you choose your spot based on that. 

Is there something that concerns you? And what are you doing about it?

I think what concerns me is how greedy people are. The more of a taker you are the farther you get in the definition of success in society. And so it's like it's almost questioned if you're doing something that's beneficial for the community. It's like, why are you doing it? 'Cause we kind of just know if you're doing something not expecting something back, probably there's something wrong with you (laughs). I don't know. That's kind of interesting 'cause it seems like that's definitely something that's missing - is the whole caring for each other and not giving to take. And I feel like there's kind of like givers and takers in the world. And you kind of have to have both. That's a pretty big red flag is how many people are for profit and for stealing ideas and different things like that. It messes up the dynamic of bettering each other as humans in general. People will, if they're trying to make a difference in the world, a lot of the times it's for greed. 

And overpopulation is an issue. And I feel like the population growing gets us out of touch with each other. So the lack of communication with social media and the lack of human connection there is a little fearful for me. And I feel like we're almost like a profile now - not just a human. It's like whatever we put on the internet to show people what we want them to think we are. And so that, in a way, is a big red flag, too. So that's kind of a little scary, I guess. 

What is your role in the fight against social injustice?

I'm trying to design systems in my life to make it so, whatever business I'm successful in, I never get out of touch with others. And people who I want to stay in touch with. And I mean that kind of socio-economically, too. And then it's kind of one of those things that I always want to benefit good people. It doesn't matter how much money you make, it doesn't matter how much money you don't have. It doesn't matter if you're living in your camper or you're just living off the land. I just want to make sure I connect with everybody. And kind of find a web of people that are like that. And I think the way that I've made myself submerged in this town is I'm finding those people a lot easier. And I don't know why. I mean, I kind of know why. Most of the time, it seems like there's this community of people that I keep interacting with and finding and it's very rewarding to find like-minded people or people who have the same passions as I do. And the same respect for each other and maybe their community or maybe their family. Like, you can have different religious beliefs, but you still have a common core of, I don't want to hurt people and I don't want to steal from them and I don't want to do stuff like that. So, I'm always just trying to find this group of people. I would say having human connections with people kind of helps with that. Having conversation and getting to know people and helping each other kind of leads us all to some sort of success and I feel like it's, in a way, counteracting the greed part. And the way I've designed many of my future endeavors is to kind of make it so I never do get really, really rich and I never do get really, really poor and I just kind of help everyone around me and they help me. 

Where did the idea for Beers and Business Cards come from?

(Laughs) I wanted to get beers with friends and exchange business cards. And I just listened to the feedback around me and learned that there's a need for people who are collaborative, supportive of each other, building systems and relationships with other people that are like - I don't want to say like-minded again (laughs) - that think similar, I guess. And it seems like Beers and Business Cards just attracts a certain amount of a certain type of person. In the way that I advertise and the way that I set it up is that it attracts a certain type of person and those type of people are becoming more successful and those are the people that are investing in our community and helping to make good decisions and often can have a say somewhere - either in this town or in general. Like, wherever they go, they have a common core, kind of. 

My idea was that I wanted to get together with a group of friends and better their business while I got better and as my business got stronger, their business would get stronger. And so I was trying to build that network between us and then it turns out that it's a huge need. And they're all over. Like, everybody needs that. I don't know if there's not a platform for that, but I feel like there is now. Definitely the business just started and I just went with it and followed my gut. And it tends to just stay beneficial for everybody - if I keep protecting it and trying to connect with good people. And those are the people that come and so it just continues to get stronger and stronger. And the impact builds this community of people who are collaborative and they appreciate each other and they're willing to refer names and stuff. And then you build a friendship with these people. 

What do you wish for the future?

To be more in touch, I think. Because when you're more in touch with people, you respect their thoughts. You respect their beliefs. You're willing to talk with them versus at them. You know, sometimes you'll talk to someone and they have an agenda and they're just telling you what it is. And then there's people who you talk to and you're willing to learn from them and they're willing to learn from you. That's what I love. And the whole fracturing system that's kind of... we have like male/female, black/white, [conservative]/Democrat - it's so split. And I mean, financially, there's the rich and poor. There's such a polarized opposite going on. So I want to try and get to those people in the middle. They're not necessarily liberal or they're not conservative. It's just people who are open-minded and willing to learn from each other. And so, that's who I want to hang out with. That's what I love - getting to know people and learning from each other. 

What do you want more of in your life?

More of? Oh, man. Probably structure (laughs). Yeah, 'cause I don't have any. I would say it's gotten to the point where my life is kind of so off the beaten path that I kind of need to get tied back in. Because I lose touch with friends and lose touch with family 'cause my life is so kind of out there and I'm just going with the flow of things and trying to change a lot. But I need a little bit more structure. In my camper, you know, I don't have even a place to live all the time (laughs). I don't think I physically need a connection of any sort, but just to find where my passion is and ground myself and then kind of just grow from there before I just grow all willy-nilly like and not pay attention to where I'm going. 

Do you have anything else that you want to be put out there?

I don't know. It just seems like we all need to build each other up to get to where everybody has something later. So we don't have like the 1% have everything - that means socially, spiritually, economically - I don't want one group of people to have everything and then other people don't. And I think building each other up and finding people who are similar and building each other up financially, emotionally, spiritually - doing all that - can only benefit the future. Like, if everybody's selfish and they only think about themselves, then that's who ends up breeding and having kids and then they teach their kids that. I think a lot of us are kind of over the idea of being like, This is where I want to be. This is my American dream and I'm gonna get there any way I want. I personally am not interested in that. If I'm gonna make it, I want other people going with me. Especially family and friends and just good people that I find along the way. I don't mean financially successful either. I also mean they enjoy their life and they enjoy their job and they enjoy their family and they enjoy their house and doing things with an intention of being happy in the end, I guess. There's too many people that run around just doing the grind and they don't love themselves. They don't love where they are. They can't even enjoy the community they've developed. And so, I guess, my whole goal is just to avoid that. And just make it so everybody lives happily ever after (laughs). Even though that's not realistic. But unless we try, we'll never know. If people just sweep it under the rug and everybody's just doing what they're supposed to be doing, then if there's no shaking up the situation, there's no change. I feel like a lot of people are to the point where they don't want to do that anymore. And they want to not be stuck in the grind of what society tells them they should be. I think there's something beautiful about living outside the norm. And I think it's only beneficial for everybody.