Beth Levy is the definition of badass. She’s a badass breast cancer fighter and survivor. She’s a badass advocate for women’s health. She’s a badass mom and wife. And she’s a badass female entrepreneur with a spirited and innovative approach to fashion.
While Beth’s breast cancer diagnosis in June 2018 was undoubtedly scary, terrifying and life-changing, it also allowed Beth to dig deep and discover what meant the most to her – her family and following her dreams. From this trying and scary battle with breast cancer came a silver living – the birth of Bolt Addiction.
Bolt Addiction not only pays homage to Beth’s familial retail roots, but it also symbolizes Beth’s fight to pursue her passions and authentically showcase what fashion means to her. Bolt Addiction is a way for people just like Beth to feel confident, strong, and stylish without the high price tag. A way for people to feel like a million bucks without spending a million bucks.
Find out more about the incredible Beth Levy and Bolt Addiction in our interview below!
KN: Beth, great to have you a part of the series! How about you share a bit about your story and how you got to be where you are today with your company, Bolt Addiction.
Beth Levy: Like many working moms, my life has always been go, go, go. Running to pick up my kids, running to my next work meeting, packing my carry-on for a quick business trip. In mid-2018, I had landed what I considered my dream job. I had been working my whole life for this big job and this big title. I had given myself a grace period of a week in between jobs to recover, spend a bit of time with my kids, and check off a few appointments hanging over my head, including my very first mammogram.
What happened next was a whirlwind. I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer, and while my diagnosis was undoubtedly scary, terrifying and life-changing, it also allowed me to dig deeper and discover what meant the most to me — my health, my daily routine, and following my dreams. From this trying and scary battle with breast cancer came a silver lining – the birth of my other baby, Bolt Addiction!
KN: It’s incredible that you turned your experience with cancer on its head to help you reevaluate what was truly important with your life. And bravo to you for so fiercely fighting cancer! Can you explain why you started Bolt Addiction?
BL: I started Bolt Addiction because there is a gap in the market that we’re hoping to fill. Women of all ages want to look and feel confident – they also want help, guidance, and style inspiration. Bolt Addiction provides all of this and more. It’s really about creating an experience that leaves our customers feeling inspired, excited, and beautiful from the inside out.
KN: Love it! What would you credit your success to?
BL: I would have to credit my success to my parents. Growing up, my parents were entwined in the retail world in Chicago, and I helped my dad work street festivals and sell t-shirts. At the time, I was a young girl who was frustrated with being dragged around every weekend. But, it truly prepared me for the real world and allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge in the fashion, wholesale, and sales world. It ultimately allowed me the opportunity to launch Bolt Addiction.
KN: Sounds like it was meant to be! What has been the most rewarding part of starting your business?
BL: It’s hard to pinpoint, but I’d have to say that the support from my local community has truly been inspiring. I live in Deerfield – a northwest suburb of Chicago – and the launch of Bolt Addiction was greeted by authentic and genuine support from those in and around my community. It’s amazing to see people rally around you and help you grow. I am forever grateful to those who pushed me and helped me achieve my dreams.
KN: Community is critical and I’m so happy to hear yours has come together to support you. Through all of this, what would you say has been the most challenging of your business? How have you pushed through it?
BL: I think the most challenging part of starting Bolt Addiction was the unknown. I left a secure and safe industry and a job that helped to steadily provide for my family. But, with big risk comes big reward, and I couldn’t be happier to be where I am today. Running your own company isn’t always easy – it takes determination, hard work, commitment, and sacrifice – but I am up for the challenge.
KN: Yeah, you are! That’s amazing. What keeps you motivated?
BL: Hands down, my family. My husband and two daughters motivated me through all of my treatments and kept me going, even during the darkest of times. It’s no different today. They have helped me celebrate being in remission, they’ve encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and they’ve motivated me to keep going even when the going gets tough. Running my own business (and a household) is no easy feat, but my family has been there for me every step of the way. I couldn’t do it without them.
KN: That’s so great. Family support is everything. How do you balance being a mom, owning your business and tending to your well-being?
BL: If I’m being honest, I don’t always do it well. Given the current climate in the country and the global pandemic, I’m trying to run my own business while simultaneously doing e-learning and keeping my daughters entertained at home. Add in a husband working from home, a dog that wants constant attention, and trying to get three meals on the table every single day — it’s not a walk in the park and I’m sure every single mom can relate.
I’m just really trying to cut myself some slack and realize that even though women ARE superheroes, it’s okay if we can’t give everything all the time. We’re all just doing the best we can, and that’s enough for me.
Regarding my well-being, my health journey has taught me that we need to always take care of our bodies. I put off way too many appointments while I was working in the corporate world — I was too busy, too tired, and too overwhelmed to think about my own health. But, my battle with cancer taught me that if I don’t take care of myself, I certainly can’t take care of anyone else.
KN: So true. We have to put ourselves first and I’m sure so many women can relate to trying to do it all! I’d love to know now who inspires you and why?
BL: My two daughters, Drew and Sloan, inspire me every single day. They watched me battle cancer and lose my hair, yet they remained pillars of strength for me at my weakest times. My daughters are resilient, beautiful and a reminder to me daily that I have so much to live for.
KN: Aww, they are so lucky to have you as their mom. So, Lipstick & Ink is all about encouraging women to make their mark on their lives, the lives of others, and on the world. What does “making your mark” mean to you?
BL: To me, making your mark means living in and celebrating the “here and now.” I have always struggled with this, but it’s something I’m working on every day. I’m trying to embrace the present rather than focus on the past or trying to meticulously map out my future. Bolt Addiction has been a lifelong dream of mine, but I was terrified to leave my corporate job and everything I had ever known to pursue something that wasn’t a guarantee. My cancer diagnosis taught me that nothing in life is a guarantee, so I channeled my fears and vulnerability and put them into pursuing my passion.
KN: I haven’t heard it interpreted like that before, but I think your response is so powerful. Thank you for sharing that. Before we close this out, if you had one general piece of advice for women, what would it be?
BL: Women play so many roles throughout their lives. For me, it’s been a mom, wife, daughter, entrepreneur, friend, and survivor. Each role has given me a gift that has helped to mold me into who I am today. As women, we have so many amazing gifts. So, my advice is to take those gifts and run with them — do whatever you want, become whoever we want, and celebrate it all along the way.
Gahhh, that’s amazing and I couldn’t agree more! To learn more about Beth and Bolt Addiction, you can connect via the channels below!
- Contact: Beth@boltaddiction.com
- Instagram: @boltaddiction and @beth_boltlevy
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.