Kelah McKee, also known as Thepolishedlady, is an Indianapolis based content creator, activist and entrepreneur. Starting her YouTube channel just two years ago, Kelah has used her social media presence to project positive messages and highlight the accomplishments of the African American community.
Inspired by digital creator Gabrielle Rader and brand builder Tiffany Latoi, Kelah strives towards making her YouTube platform a place where viewers can find content with substance and impact. PATTERN had the opportunity to learn more about her brand and it’s meaning.
Khaila King: Who is Thepolishedlady and what does she stand for?
Kelah Mckee: Thepolishedlady is the person who is not taking “no” for an answer. She believes in projecting positivity and making sure other people can see their light. My channel is focused on spreading awareness on Black achievement and creating opportunities that most believe are impossible for themselves. That’s who I am and what I am about.
KK: What is the meaning behind your brand name?
KM: Thepolishedlady transpired originally from my first business initiative, Polishedbricks. It was an online platform that showcased the achievements and productivity of African American communities. I wanted it to be a positive news outlet highlighting Black excellence from all over. For me, “polished” means established and “bricks” references solid foundation. When I began Polishedbricks I had opportunities to speak on different on panels and things of that nature. I felt like I was the first lady of my business. Then I mashed it all together and that transformed into Thepolishedlady.
KK: What inspired you to start your YouTube channel two years ago?
KM: Two years ago I wanted to host an event for Radio One and my general manager at Radio One asked me about my followers. He said, “why would we choose you over our international recording artists or the personality on our radio station?” The only answer I could give him was, “I’m me, I’ve tried and I’ve been with the company for two years.” He proceeded to ask “well who follows you, who’s your audience?”. After that meeting, I was driven to start my YouTube channel. It was time to really get focused and serious.
KK: How did you use different platforms to reach over 700 YouTube subscribers?
KM: It definitely takes time. Most of my YouTube audience came from my Instagram. That’s how I promote my channel. My audience is 58 percent women and they are in the age group of 25 to 38. With that being said, our generation wants everything to be right there in front of us and asking someone to click a video every week might not be feasible for their schedule. One thing that I’ve learned is that I’m gaining the trust of my clients and my audience, which results in word of mouth. I’m not really having to advertise as much, but I’ve also taken it upon myself to create a segment on my instagram platform called Press Mondays. Press Mondays is basically when I reach out to a platform such as PATTERN to share my story and it translates into my marketing plan. That way their audience can see what I’m doing and my audience can see it. Then my clients can see that I’m not just recognized by my followers but there are other people that are a part of my network as well.
KK: Have you noticed a pattern in what content gets the most traction?
KM: Absolutely. I believe that YouTube viewers want to be entertained. I watched a video of someone I subscribed to and she was just chewing. The video had thousands of views. No shade to her, I liked the video and showed my support, but I was just stunned by the fact that she was just chewing throughout the entire video and everyone seemed to be amused by it. I can’t really say why people were entertained by that, but I’ve found that a lot of things that people are entertained by, does not have the same effect on me. I don’t like prank videos. I don’t do that with my boyfriend. I think what’s separating me from a lot of other YouTubers is that I’m focused on positivity and progression. I’m not pranking anyone or talking about the food I ate. I want my content to have actual substance and an influence bigger than myself.
KK: What are your short term goals for Thepolishedlady and where do you see your brand in the next 5 to 10 years?
KM: In the near future I hope to host more. I first started YouTube to turn a no into a yes. I was showing my boss I had an audience. Now, I want to host more, especially live interviews with YouTube. For long term, I still want to pursue my original business initiative, Polishedbricks. I want it to be like Oprah’s network or CNN, but focusing more on African American progression. Within that platform, I want to do more motivational speaking, even internationally, because I know there are other communities that have stories to share.
KK: Being a mother and a social media personality with a daytime job must be pretty hectic. How do you balance your personal life, your career and chasing your dreams?
KM: It’s always difficult. My boyfriend is a performing rap artist and our son is almost 2. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I knew that I didn’t want to stop being who I was. I wanted to continue to spreading light, sharing advice and positive messages. I’ve got my 1 year old running rampant and he’s not in daycare, so there’s a lot of home training. Being able to coordinate our schedules can be challenging, especially with my boyfriend being a performer and me being a content creator. We are really in tune with our planners, we have great communication and at the end of the day, we’re making sure our purposes are bigger than ourselves.
KK: What are the biggest challenges of brand building?
KM: Knowing the right time to release content. Even though you might feel it is, it’s not always the right time. That’s one part. Then there’s content creation. People want to see quality content, they want good visuals. To pull all these things together can be really hard. You have to learn how to edit and how to get good audio. There’s a lot more that goes into it.
KK: Is there any advice you would give to an aspiring content creator, unsure if what they want to achieve is possible?
KM: Go for it. You can’t let anything deter you from what you want to do. In reality, people will respect you more for chasing your dreams.