Shakin’ Shit Up in 2017: Meet 15 People in Lou Who Inspired Kale & Flax

As the new year approaches, we sat down over vegan poptarts from Morel’s and put together a list of some the people and stories that inspired us this year. But not in a boring kinda’ way, in a, “oh, shit, that’s really cool” kinda’ way. We initially were going to include Rick Pitino, but ultimately decide the shit he was shakin’, well, was of the wrong kind. This isn’t based on data or reader’s polls — just us keeping it real with the stories we’re aware of. We’d love to help more folks get their stories out next year. Continue

Hey Amazon, Don’t Consider Expanding to Louisville. Just Do It Already.

First off, let’s state the obvious — majority of the country is seared-Salmon level salty after reading that the New York Times‘ basically handed over the Amazon HQ trophy to Denver. We call that an opinion piece (and you know where opinions can be placed). We all know medical marijuana cures athlete’s foot and glaucoma, but I don’t think that’s the kind of help Amazon is looking for.

Sure, if Amazon was opening up HQ-002 tomorrow morning after it catches up on Sunday’s Walking Dead episode, then some of the other picks might make sense. But this is about carving out space for a bigger, brighter future with a city where young professionals are not already being priced out of two-bedroom apartments (yes, Denver, Austin, Portland, Seattle, and Nashville, we’re looking at you).

But, instead of getting sad and catching a Lyft to a Waffle house and eating our problems away — we just opened up Spotify, turned on our Celine Dion playlist, and began writing out what makes our city pretty great.

So, Amazon exec’s, here’s what’s best for you. Well, at least, for the next 50,000 of ‘you’s’ who have to move somewhere new and want the best out of life.

The answer is simple — pack up your fancy Echo’s and your artisan fidget spinners, and make things happen here in Louisville.

1. We have over one million people.
…and based on the city’s love for Bourbon and Tacos, it doesn’t look like population growth is going to be slowing down anytime soon. We’re no Napoleon’s, longing for unbathed love in all the wrong places, but Louisville is for lovers.

You don’t need a city report full of awkward stock photos to know that people are moving here, just go outside and trip on all of the new construction. Tie that with GLI’s efforts to connect people outside Louisville with high-growth jobs, and the fact we’re one of the coolest cities to get away sans beach — and, boom.

2. We have a growing labor pool, so bring swimming gear.
Labor, you say? No, not the kind implied above, my friend. This is hard workin’, code slangin’, spreadsheet adjustin’ Midwestern hustle. We’ve got a hunger for jobs that are the right fit from Millennials to Baby Boomers — our quality of life is so rock solid here, people choose to stay underemployed over moving elsewhere. There’s an Amazon intrapreneur at a coffee shop right now writing product descriptions for the local muffin shop’s rickshaw delivery ecommerce. They should be working for you, Besos.

From University of Louisville, to Bellarmine, Spalding, JCTC, IUPUI, and IUS, there’s a plethora of college grads and startup-grinders ready to fuel up the tanks — as well as, our Obama-approved code bootcamp Code Louisville that’s both free and opening itself up towards college credit.

Not to mention, 97.2% of our friends who have visited Louisville declared they would consider moving here as they faltered into a food coma post peanut butter brittle ice cream. How’s that for cool, Alexa?

3. High quality of life, but not the high Coloradans are used to.
We’re talking urban living at a cost so right, you can afford Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, and Mayweather’s next boxing match with a Rugby player.

But seriously, our friends from Dubai to San Fran ask us all the time, “how the hell do you eat No Filter Instagram meals, like, every single night?” Maybe it’s because we don’t pay twice the rent for half the space, two-thirds of the year, Mr. Math.

4. Every city has artists, but not every city is a canvas.
That’s right, we’re a city on a mission to paint the halls Vaporwave (whatever color comes to mind). From street murals to modern ballet, and Shakespeare in the Park to aspiring Kanye’s on every corner, we’ve got the arts and music scene. There’s a 1% chance you can fall in love with the lead singer of your favorite ska band, and that’s just not something Detroit can offer Amazon employees. Radical!

If that doesn’t wet your mullet, Louisville is one of only nine U.S. cities with all the five major arts. That’s not including air guitar, which our city also has some international trophies we’ve brought home.

5. Transportation — ain’t no thang but a chicken wang.
That’s right, you can get around on a chicken wing. But we’d prefer you take one of all-electric clean-powered public transit lines, I mean, come on, we only have one of the biggest fleets in the nation. But don’t let disgruntled locals tell it, they’ll say our public transportation falls short — let’s make one thing clear, if that’s true compared to similar cities, that’s solely because of demand.

The truth is, there’s minimal traffic in Louisville no matter where you live, and “everything in the city is less than 10-15 minutes away.” Including the chicken wings. That leaves some people who have been saving up for Teslas building makeshift garages in the ‘burbs. More power to them (cause it’s electric).

Although, as suburbanites continue to flock downtown to new housing and office development opportunities in the urban core, our public transportation will only get richer. With freshly painted bike lanes and bike sharing subscriptions popping up around the city, we can only assume Louisville is headed in the right direction — or rather, you’re headed in our direction.

Lastly, our International Airport has continually improved in the last few years since Master P. started visiting, and more on more flights seem to be adding on. We’d imagine as soon as your team starts to dig out the basement of the new HQ, flights to Nowhere, PA will all of a sudden be on the list.

One more truth about Louisville’s spot on the map — we’re less than a day’s drive to nearly two-thirds of the population. One road trip per weekend is viable for those who can’t stomach airplane peanuts.

6. We said it before, we’ll say it again — bourbon barrels, baby.
Apparently it’s a big deal, and the fact that we have more Bourbon barrels than people let’s you know where our priorities lie. Match that with the fact we’re a Top Ten food city on most lists and there’s enough drinking and eating to go around until you place a Whole Foods on every block and scan our irises for payment.

7. Our city is prime to punch above our weight.
Insert Muhammed Ali reference. Ok, now to business.

UPS, Humana, Yum! Brands, Kindred Healthcare, PharMerica, Texas Roadhouse, Papa John’s, Churchill Downs, Jack Daniels, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Finlandia, and CafePress will all tell you — well, it’s not polite to speak for others, so we’re not sure what they would tell you. But they’re here to stay, and they kick ass at big business. You can do big business from here relly-good, too, tbh.

So mesh that with the fact we’ve got a plethora of creative talent and sharp digital agencies, a mean, lean financial sector, and a super awesome cost of living, and you’re on your way to greener pastures. We call it, bluegrass, bucko.

8. We’re a top ten city for first-time home buyers.
…and that’s not because we only provide tiny homes. In fact, we’ve got some McMansions that just need a little love, and would be one public transit bus away from your HQ if you play your cards’ right.

Also, we’re home to the nation’s largest Victorian preservation district, and house the second largest collection of cast iron facades outside of New York’s SoHo district. So, basically, we’re good at everything New York is good at, minus the halal food carts.
So, if we McScramble up some quick math, we can see that Amazon can continue to treat and pay folks well, employees can finally save up more thanks to our super awesome cost of living, and they can buy something cool closeby instead of blowing their mula on expensive rent in California. We’re no equine scientists, but this city makes hay.

9. We have not been cursed by Lil B. the BasedGod — unlike Lonzo Ball.
If you don’t understand, we can’t really fill you in — just know, you should take full advantage of our city’s escape from his wrath.

10. Google. Fiber.
We know, we know — you’re Amazon. We’re sure, that if the press release isn’t already 97% typed out, that you’re probably rolling out your own version of The Internet here soon. But we can’t help but say, for now, “let your future employees be great on the internet!” in a Google Fiber city, until you do so.

11. We’ve got a hell of a food scene.
We’ll let you Google that one on your own. Or, you can meet us at Please & Thank You for a cup o’butter we call a ‘cookie’ to get started on the trail. But one thing we haven’t been great about saying, is that we’re home to one of the best local coffee scenes in the U.S. with not much to debate.

Photo of Matt Argo, provided by our awesome friends at Access Ventures — an impact investment firm.

In closing…

If anyone thinks that we’re going to bend over backwards for Amazon, well, you’d most likely be right. Truth is, we’d bend over backwards for a lot of companies. No, it’s not because we’re desperate or starving for someone to ride into town on a white robot and save anything or anyone.

It’s because, no matter how urban our architecture or how modern our taste buds may be, we’ve got southern hospitality at our root. That root is planted deep, and 50,000 future employees deserve kindness and a helping hand when they’re not busy taking selfies or catching up on Reddit from their Lyft ride.

We’re a city full of people — mostly good, who give our all to the arts, non-profits, and our youth because we care a lot about the world around us — they don’t call us “compassionate city” for no reason. You know why people stay here longer than they expected? Across the board, it’s because they feel welcomed, and that here in Louisville, they’re able to continue to make an impact.

And we at Kale & Flax are living proof — we were told over and over again by investors and industry friends to open up our social impact company in Chicago or Cincinnati. “There’s more opportunity there,” they said. Well, more opportunity is not always the best, or right, opportunity.

But all three types of opportunity are nestled right here in our sacred city. All you have to do is come see for yourself.

Kale & Flax Tours the MOMA NYC

The K&F team took a recent trip to New York City to explore the arts, design and cultural scene, as well as, connect with client partners. Here’s some cool thing-a-mobs we uncovered along the way.

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Hiring: Senior Web Dev & Back-End Engineer

We’re Hiring!

Senior Web Developer for agency side, and a Back-End Engineer to help us launch an awesome client web app.

We’re a human-centered design company that focuses on UI / UX, and we’re looking to add two thoughtful dev’s to our growing Louisville team. If you’re into this sort of thing, hit us up with a cool message about yourself and your experiences, as well as, some links to your work if available.

K&F Senior Web Developer
• HTML5/CSS3/Sass/JavaScript/PHP
• The ability to create custom wp themes from scratch
• Bonus points for ES6, Git, Docker experience

Back-End Engineer
• HTML5 / Sass / JS / React / Flux / Redux / PHP / Familiarity with Laravel
• Sufficient experience with server setup to deploy and scale applications, using Docker and AWS
• Code testing / CI/CD

Our studio is all about the little things making a big impact. If simplifying design, crafting code, breaking down information, and thinking really, really hard is your thing – well, you just might be into joining our growing development team located in Nulu.

Come as you are – we look for people who can relax, think things through, and articulate the ideas behind their work.

Scroll to the bottom of our Careers page to check out our sweet benefits.

James Lindsey + Speed Art Museum = Dance Party

It’s Saturday night and you’re looking for something different, fun, and fresh to do. Where do you go? Well, if you love live, local music [try saying that 3x fast], come check out James Lindsey’s release of his new EP at Speed Art Museum’s 90th Anniversary Community Celebration. Kale & Flax and friends will be there and we’d love to shake our money makers with you. Continue

TechAble Camp: Kids With Disabilities Can Design the Future

In November, the Kale & Flax team spent the weekend down in Texas [where everything really is bigger] co-launching our first TechAble Camp, a project that is near and dear to our hearts. We helped launch this mission with Dr. Shareef to help empower children with neuromuscular disabilities. TechAble is a one day camp with workshops focusing on design and programming.


Nulu Winter Coat Drive 2016

We all know what it’s like to trek through the city in the freezing cold, but imagine having no real coat and riding an hour long bus ride to school each day.

We want to ensure as many kids as earthly-possible in the West End of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky have the opportunity to stay warm, healthy, and safe over the winter.


We’re Hiring Developers. Like, Right Now.

We’re Hiring AF! Senior & Junior Developers spots available immediately.

We’re a digital product agency that focuses on UI / UX and the human experience, and we’re looking to add two thoughtful dev’s to our growing Louisville team. If you’re into this sort of thing, hit us up with a cool message about yourself and your experiences, as well as, some links to your work if available.

Our studio is all about the little things making a big impact. If simplifying design, crafting code, breaking down information, and thinking really, really hard is your thing – well, you just might be into joining our growing development team located in Nulu.

Come as you are – we look for people who can relax, think things through, and articulate the ideas behind their work.

Scroll to the bottom of our Careers page to check out our sweet benefits.

Vogt Awards 2016

One of the amazing things about working in experiential design is the incredible people we get to partner with. Ashley Lamb-Sinclair came to Kale & Flax with a simple idea, which quickly turned into a long-lasting partnership that we hope will make a big impact in education. Since August, we have been knees deep in the details of branding, designing and developing Curio — an app for teachers to discover, curate, and collaborate on new ideas and strategies for the classroom.


The non-agency agency.

Last year, I fell out of love with advertising as it stands today. The truth is, brand strategies and good design only go so far if you don’t first understand the real problems that your clients are facing.

The internet is only beginning to reveal how far it can take us. The web should be immersive, data should be visualized, and brands should be experienced. More importantly, real problems should be solved.