We had the good fortune of connecting with Kassie Duke and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kassie, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
One piece of conventional advice that I don’t agree with is that you always have to be okay, and hide your emotions. That show up, and fake it till you make it attitude.

I think that this is incredibly unhealthy and can affect your health mentally and physically and make it hard to create personal boundaries. Acknowledging your emotions and attitude and taking the time off you need to take care of your self can be quite beneficial.

When you are forcing yourself to be “okay” this can create burnout and lack of motivation. This can lead to lack of appetite, lack of sleep, and even cause digestive issues and mess with your overall gut health.

Ive come across so many people who have insisted that the way to go is by bottling everything up and always acting okay, but when you take the time to take care of yourself, it truly does help you to become the best version of yourself. A better coworker, a better friend, a better employee, and a better spouse. Taking the time to acknowledge that you maybe aren’t in the best place you could be, and working through that with yourself or even another person can be life changing.

I hope everyone will learn to speak up for themselves and take the time they need to heal from whatever it may be. After all, we only have one life and its no fun to go through it feeling miserable about even aspect all the time.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make custom boxes and vases out of reused and recycled material. it was something i did in High School as a hobby with friends, but I realized I have a passion for arts like this and wanted to share my work with others. So why are my boxes and vases special?I wanted to do something special for the community of those who have suffered child loss. I offer free boxes to store memories in, or free vases as grave markers for those who have lost a little one. It may sound strange, but immediately after my loss I found myself looking for a box to store my daughters memories in. Its a hard thing to be searching in public for something like that when you are grieving, I want others to be able to receive what they need, something personal, that will help them with their struggles they are going through. My business is quite small as i just started it up this year, but i know in time that it will grow and be right where i want it to.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them first to The Perch in downtown Chandler! They have the best New Orleans style food and everyone should try their alligator bites. After lunch, We would go grab a coffee at Kind Bean off of Arizona Ave and make our way to the verde river to go for a swim! Some other sweet spots I would hit up is, Mesa Rose Garden for a nice walk and a few cute pics, Rapha Tea off of Chandler blvd that would be great, Mother Natures Farm to peruse the gift shop and say hi to the animals, and end off the long weekend with some chips and margaritas at nandos.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is a whole group of Women (and men) who deserve the biggest shoutout I can think of and that’s the bereaved parents group. Those who have lost their children in pregnancy, birth, or early years. They are all around us, and most people don’t know it. They get little recognition, and have to live their lives the same as others with a pain in their heart always. Most companies don’t give an appropriate amount of time off for individuals to grieve, and the bereaved parents will immediately return after the funeral with a broken smile on their face ready to work.

I know many individuals who have lost their children, myself included, and they are some of the bravest, strongest, and most inspiring people you will ever meet. They give me hope for the future, and inspire me to keep going even when I want to stop. The most warming and welcoming group of people you will ever meet, but also the most heartbroken group. They are all unbelievably strong and I’m so proud of everyone who is part of the bereaved parent group and continues to get up and go each day. I see them, I hear them, and I hope others will see and acknowledge them too.

Instagram: kassiescorner, for my business Kassie__duke for my blog

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.