Pop Up Boone creator launches virtual wellness program for women

Maggie Watts, Reporter

The creator of Pop Up Boone is starting a new chapter in her business ventures and giving women a new way to connect. 

After nearly two years of directing artisan pop-up shows, Megan Kelley did not plan to step down from the business last year. Pop Up Boone gave local artists a place to display and sell their craft. But when COVID-19 shut down in-person events, Kelley decided she was not interested in selling products online. 

“I thought about what that would do to the brand, and whether or not the brand would thrive under that type of model. I did not want to do it,” Kelley said.

The Texas native also moved from Boone back to her home state in March of 2020. Kelley said the Pop Up community wouldn’t be the same if she tried to continue the shop virtually. 

“I just knew I wasn’t meant to live a life in Boone forever. Since I don’t live in Boone anymore, it felt like the community would be a bit fragmented,” Kelley said.

After stepping away from Pop Up Boone, Kelley began to rethink her business plans. She has always been interested in helping people become the best versions of themselves, and her previous work as a business coach allowed her to help people facilitate change in their lives. 

Deciding to pursue her passion, Kelley started various wellness courses and read a surplus of self-help books to aid her business plan. Through these experiences, Kelley realized “what people truly need is a place to be heard and be vulnerable.” 

“There’s not a lot of spaces where people will pause and not have an agenda of what they’re going to say back to you and just completely drop everything just to hear what you have to say and what’s going on in your life,” Kelley said. 

In January, Kelley launched Link Up, a virtual life-coaching program for women. Link Up focuses on providing women with community, accountability and time management tools. 

Courtesy of Megan Kelley

 Link Up gives participants a cohort of women to grow with, weekly meetings led by Kelley, journaling prompts, activation worksheets, reading assignments and videos that are designed to better lifestyles. These tools help members log their daily habits and work toward bettering their mindsets. 

 Kelley uses the word “activation” to address weekly goals set by participants. Members will keep each other accountable for these goals through weekly online meetings with groups of five women overseen by Kelley. Leading up to the meetings, members journal and complete activation worksheets about their weekly goals. They bring their journal prompts and worksheets to the meetings, where they reflect on their activations and set goals for the coming week.

“I make people say ‘this is what I said I was going to do, and this is what I did instead,’ and it’s not a place for shame at all; it’s just an opportunity to just be real with yourself and be real with everyone else,” Kelley said.

Kelley says Link Up makes the growth process rewarding, not just the final product. She does this by encouraging participants to celebrate their weekly micro-accomplishments. A micro-accomplishment can be something as simple as waking up early once a week. 

“We often forget to acknowledge the small progress along the way,” Kelley said. “Having your vision set on the end result can typically just result in extreme frustration and disappointment.” 

Through creating the program Kelley learned the importance of celebrating micro-accomplishments first-hand. Reflecting on her own journey, Kelley said: 

“If I was focused on my initial goal, which was to very, very quickly help people reach this highest self-state of being, I would be very, very, very disappointed right now. But instead, I’m celebrating every single week.”

Margot Handley, a Link Up member, found comfort in the community when she moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia and didn’t know people in the city yet. She enjoyed not only talking with other Link Up women but also learning from them. 

“I love chatting with everyone. And just the ability to connect with other very creative, very motivated, very interesting people. The community aspect has been so rewarding,” Handley said.

Courtesy of Megan Kelley

Kelley designed the Link Up community to give women a place to let their guard down and grow with one another. Katherine Sumner, a recent Link Up participant, said she met “the most amazing women” through Link Up.

“I think everyone needs a group of friends to be able to come to and just feel completely safe to be yourself. You feel so connected to them,” Sumner said. “My meetings are on Sundays, and it’s the ultimate start to my week. As soon as I get into that chat with everyone, the energy is so loving and kind and a really safe space to just come as you are.”

Becca Nenow participated in Link Up to gain better organizational skills and fulfillment in her life. She loved its approach to self-improvement. 

“Link Up will take that project you want to get better at and make your whole life better, in addition to that one project. The skills that you learn through Link Up and just the ways of thinking, are applicable to everything you do throughout the day,” Nenow said.

Kelley believes this program is unique in the long-term lifestyle changes and accountability it’s designed to give participants. The accountability partnered with Kelley’s teaching and curriculum aims to give members genuine lifestyle transformations.

 Participants may choose to apply to Link Up for reasons such as time management, health, well-being and business improvement. Through the program, members will take inventory of their careers, interpersonal relationships, relationships with themselves, their physical environments, health and wellness. 

 The program costs $129 per month. One cycle lasts three months, and members can choose to continue the program at the end of their cycle.