Story by Heather Feeler | Jun 26, 2017
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

The owner of Labelle Cabinetry & Lighting shines at work and at home.

Kristin Schroeder lights up a room.

As the owner of LaBelle Cabinetry & Lighting, a business she opened in 2007, Schroeder is used to working in a store surrounded by hundreds of lights hanging from the walls and ceiling. The whole place is lit up for customers to see the sparkle and shine up close, but Schroeder’s high energy and infectious spirit add just as much to the store.

“Interior design is what I’ve always done, but I really love the lighting and cabinets,” she says. “Our store specializes in walking customers through the entire process to make sure all the pieces fit together. People can come in to buy one light or lots of lights. We tend to go toward really unique pieces.”

Schroeder’s talent for design led her to start the business, but her strong work ethic and tenacity to succeed has kept it thriving. As she opened, 10 years ago, the building economy was dropping to an all-time low. Schroeder kept pushing, despite the stress and worry, to keep her dream alive. She learned how to do it all as a business owner — measuring plans, pricing and ordering supplies, paying bills. To this day, Schroeder and her one employee, Emilee, personally unload every trailer of cabinets and lighting that comes to the store.

“We unload every semi-truck trailer and stack them ourselves,” she says, laughing. “There is nothing the two of us can’t do. I can lift more than most of the truck drivers.”

Even in her personal life, Schroeder is no stranger to hard work. She and her husband, Jason, work a 500-acre family farm in Babbtown, close to Meta, where they raise hundreds of registered black Hereford cattle. Her 22-year-old daughter, Austin, and 19-year-old son, Cole, both still help on the farm. It’s a nonstop job, demanding early mornings, late nights, and every weekend, but it’s a place that has allowed her family to grow closer by sharing the hard work and responsibilities of farming.

“I have so much energy!” she says. “The more fresh air you get and the more you do, the more energy you have. I remember when there was a blizzard on my 40th birthday and we worked outside all day because there is so much work to get done on the farm. You work hard so you can also play hard.”

Schroeder and her husband do find time to relax between farm work and owning their own separate businesses. On the weekends, they ride motorcycles with a huge group of friends and road trip to places around Missouri. Schroeder has come to treasure this quality time on the open road.

“We call it wind therapy,” she says. “It’s just getting out with friends with no drama and enjoying the company. It’s nothing but laughter and good times.”

Through her business and her personal life, Schroeder has come to appreciate the small things and take gratitude in all things. She often documents daily life on the farm in the pictures she posts on Facebook — the mule munching on wildflowers, the arrival of new baby calves, or the beautiful sunset along the Osage River. She’s learned that fear and failure have no place in life or in business. You must learn to “follow your arrow,” she says.

“You may shoot your arrow and it goes a different direction, but follow it. You never know where it will take you,” Schroeder says. “I work so hard for what I want, but sometimes I need to realize that if I don’t get it, I can change directions. You have to re-adjust and keep following your arrow.”