Kelly Buffin: Blending Mindfulness with Physical and Nutritional Well-Being
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Learning to trust what is deep in your core and your passions, could help you build a life in a new place. What I find most interesting about Kelly is that she has positioned herself at a young age to provide advice and guidance to others on how to live a well-balanced life. You don't get to offer that unless you courageously place yourself in that role. She moved from the east coast to LA about three years ago and since then has found the grounding she needed toward her own independence, and to offer up what I believe is most essential in life—the practice of well-being. Her experience in weeding through her own differences between the two coasts, and looking past her emotional feelings about what life is supposed to give you, has led her to just be present. This self-reflection she is still going through provides the opportunity for her to share with others how to take chances on people or places that might seem different to you. To take hold of what is important, while embracing what is. Kelly is doing just that in her time in LA by building a wellness brand, learning the strategies of the influencer and social media industry, and just simply navigating a massive city. I am truly inspired by her belief in movement and balance, as I am encouraged to understand where I need to be, while enjoying this time spent being exactly where I am.
How did you end up in Los Angeles?
To complete my final semester of college and co-op internship, I took a job in LA working for a talent management company called, at the time, MC Projects. The job entailed social media management for a long project we were working on (posting content + community engagement), managing 8 influencers who had large followings on social media as well as executing all paid and branded campaigns for those creators. I really enjoyed the campaign management portion and keeping the organizational flow between our influencer and the brand we were working with on the projects. I've been at the company for 3 years now, still managing campaigns but focusing more on partnerships and acting as the primary lead for our brand relationships. It was a tough year but I was grateful to have stayed employed and worked from home! (My couch became my office.)
Living in LA has changed my life in so many ways! It taught me how to truly be independent, self-sufficient and work through my emotions on my own. I moved here with only my older brother, so having to make friends, build my network and figure out my living environment was a tough part of the experience. Being away from the influence of home (friends, family, my childhood neighborhood) encouraged me to find my voice and true passions. I started fitness training + wellness coaching for local clients which became a really fulfilling part of my life.
In all honesty, a little part of me was always missing while being away from New York and the east coast. It's a different world here, which I appreciate because it's taught me how to slow down, care less about my appearance and not sacrifice my well-being for work or things that aren't as important as they seem. I have definitely missed a sense of community and closeness that I feel New Yorkers embrace in a different way than in LA. For new people moving here, I suggest taking the time to try new things, meet new people, keep a "don't bash until you try" mindset, step out of your comfort zone, discover what really excites you and spend as much time outside as you can! The weather is too good to miss out on.
Can you speak a little about the influencer industry you work in? Do you think that influencers today are continuing to want a traditional education or is this community they have built enough?
Honestly I don't think they want that. Some are really happy with being able to create content and not have a traditional "job," so education might not be a priority right now. Maybe some will feel they missed out on the "college experience" later in life, but right now, as they focus on building their craft and creating content, some could feel it would be slow down their production time.
I am sure there are two sides to this issue for them, and I hope they are taking care of their well-being. Do you see their work as shaping a new generation, and could there be consequences to this?
Definitely! Creating content with friends and peers is an awesome way for creators to connect in-person and feel like they are a big community. They also go to brand events and know a lot of other creators doing similar things in the industry so that helps them feel seen. The team I work with is a great group of kids who love each other on and off camera. It works out in their favor because they film all day so basically get to hang out all day too!
My team of creators has a very "brand-friendly" and "Disney-esque" style, so they are promoting funny, humorous, cute and relatable content to young kids to adults. Their content is a refreshing break from the more "showy" type of content. I do believe they are doing a great job at shaping the next generation because they are kind, relatable teenagers just trying to figure out life. I do worry that in time, all creators will lose a sense of self because 1) they are committed to entertaining people all day, every day, to make money 2) if their engagement drops, does their confidence take a hit? 3) as they get older and become less "relevant", does this impact their sense of self? Lots of big questions to ask and think about.
What is your perspective on the learning journey and how do you feel students should be better prepared after college? What do you think teachers should provide their students, today vs. what you might think of education from the past?
Love this question! I had no idea what I was in for when moving across the country, and I don't think there is one best way to prepare for it. Some strategies that could've helped early on but learned later on were mindfulness practices. I truly learned how to deep breathe, journal, stretch and take care of myself both emotionally and physically—something I wish I did during college! Doing those things daily, or often, helped me break bad habits and find ways to cope during stressful or new experiences. I used to feel anxious during experiences like phone calls, video chats and meetings but taking time to be present and slow down beforehand really helped me find a groove and build stronger confidence during those public moments.
A turning point year in school for my interests and hobbies was senior year! Finishing up my final semester of college in California was such a cool and new experience for me. It was a wake up call that I needed to try new things and meet new people out of my comfort zone. During this point of my life, I decided to do a lot of things differently and focus more on my overall well-being.
How would you describe your individualism? Do you feel that people are lacking in this by what is happening around the world, or are we headed somewhere powerful?
Wow love this. I believe my individualism is something I hold strong, especially during influenceable times. It's interesting to see a lot of people follow trends, styles or content patterns on social media, simply because they see it perform well. I believe that can make you sway far from who you really are, and your identity becomes a version of what you think people want to see. You then have to maintain that image, which can be a daily stress catalyst. Aside from that, I do see a lot of amazing things happening for the positive. People are doing or saying "yes" less to protect their well-being. From athletes to actors and people between, seeing people care about their mental and physical wellness has been an incredible change. I believe it's giving people an opportunity to be more authentic, and THAT means changing social media for the better. <3
What are the struggles, purpose and goals of the business you started and where do you see it going? How have you seen people respond to their wellness since you began doing this work?
Absolutely! I call my business Be Well (a branch of my LLC) and it is essentially your home from wellness. I offer postural alignment healing, personal training with a focus on functional movement, intuitive eating coaching plus meal prep + cold-pressed juicing services. Most services can be accomplished virtually so I have clients in a lot of different places. It has become a really cool world of wellness for all the things I love and have failed through along the way (lol).
I experience a lot of different struggles doing this on my own, one of which is helping people see why these things matter. What I love about LA is people prioritize their wellness and pay money for things that east coast may view as a luxury or unimportant. Focusing on overall wellness, joint health and true healing will add years to your life and prevent a lot of issues down the road. Sometimes finding clients can be tricky when my product is more geared towards an audience that already sees how important these elements are and allocates money towards bodywork and coaching. People have responded very well to their own wellness since I started. I feel I've been one of the very few fitness coaches preaching postural healing and joint health on social media, so it's been fulfilling to hear people say they started to care more about their body's pain and posture since I shared about my work. My goals are to continue private coaching, building out a membership portal for clients to enroll in monthly that includes pain management, workouts, recipes and mindset training. I'll start to push that out when I feel it's the best time to go that route! For now, I'm keeping my roster light with a few committed virtual + meal-prep clients.
My experience in social media content has helped my business a ton as well. I see now that audiences love storytelling and keeping up with a business/person that feels more like a lifestyle - showing parts of their daily life, new things they're up to, being human or relatable, talking about failures and keeping people guessing what's next are a few keys to growing a solid connection with audience. I also learned to post when I want to versus posting when I have to—I don't know why, but the content always performs better when you listen to your gut on when to post!
What is next for you and what positive note can you leave us with?
Ah relevant to my life right now! Listen to that inner gut feeling telling you to do or try something. Even if it feels scary, complicated to do or out of reach, or may be hard for others in your life to understand. I truly believe life is more simple than we act like it is. Focus on the bigger picture and worry less if you sway in a different direction sometimes—this always perfects the product. Journal more and track your moods, you'll learn a lot in your repetition. The more experience, the more life you can talk about with others. Absorb what you do, take care of your body, smile more from the inside out and let yourself let loose! And always choose courage over comfort!
My next move will be... a move back to the east coast! I've built a really awesome life in LA, but I'm ready to create something new. Giving myself a year to try it out, spend more time in New York, potentially find a new job in project or account management and expand my wellness to NYC! During this time, I'll recharge my battery with family and friends and hopefully find my dream apartment with a view of the skyline. I'm psyched!!!
Learn more about Kelly and her work on her website.