Meet Kristin Hunziker Co-Founder of Ju-Ju-Be in San Clemente, California
Kristin with her husband and children
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
My name is Kristin Hunziker and I was destined to design diaper bags. When Iwas a kid my mom never had to tell me to clean up….I was born organized. After a few years of being a kid, I went to Iowa State and graduated from the Apparel Merchandise, Production & Design program. The pull of baby products started early and my first job out of school was Technical Design Coordinator for Infant-Toddler Wear at ShopKo Stores. From there I went to Lands End to work in quality and product development for the Kids Team. While at Lands I worked not only on kids stuff but luggage and accessories too. With the west coast beckoning, I packed my bags (very neatly) and went to Oakley to work as a footwear developer. After a having a lot of fun at Oakley and then ASICS, it was time to concentrate on the really fun stuff, having kids!! Now a mommy of two, Rylan (age 4) and Natalie (2), I make my diaper organization needs a reality!!
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place?
The creativity, the ability to indulge my fashion senses (and sense of humor), time with my family (flexible hours), interaction with my “fans” on our interactive “Pink Room Blog” and the ability to give back to the communities that I so dearly love.
Tell us about the organizations your company supports and why?
We support Susan G Komen for Breast Cancer research with every bag that we sell we donate. We also support local children’s organizations here in Southern California and a variety of womens’ charities.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
Starting my own company was a huge risk. I knew going in the obstacles and barriers to entry. It was a risk, but an educated one. I was passionate about my products and had an amazing business partner (Joe Croft from Oakley) and just took the leap of faith and it has paid off!
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
I would say it all started with my Iowa roots (I grew up in a small town in Iowa) and the common sense/practical approach that seems to dominate there. I applied my fashion training to this foundation and it all seemed to flow naturally from there. A major role model was my grandma who always had a smile on her face no matter what she was facing that day (she had leukemia for over 20 years and I constantly watched her fight that battle)
How is the current economic situation affecting your company/organization?
We have tried to work with/rather than against it. We are designing with the economy in mind. While we would never sacrifice quality or design, we are trying to create the best bags at the best value. We have also recently introduced a new accessory line at a lower price point. Our products are made to last and are practical (machine-washable, stain-resistant, water-proof) and have always been a long-term investment and good value. As the economy started to affect sales, we were very proactive in making sure that our products were priced well and marketed correctly. We are fairing very well even in this climate.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
I REALLY want to learn to skateboard…seriously…a long board is fine…but I would love to ride a long board over to my neighbors….but I’m scared that I will crack my tailbone or something 😉
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right here! I am loving life and loving all things Ju-Ju-Be!
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I am a big outdoors gal. I love being with nature, hiking, spending time at the beach and in the
water. We camp too & snowboard…I love being with friends and family… Being at the lake where hubby grew up with family, watching the kids play in the tree house and learn about the lake…fishing, boating, playing games etc.
…I’m a huge friend of cat naps…as I tell my son-they help us “get more patience” 😉
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Live a positive, optimistic life (in both work and “real life”) and good things will happen. There is truth to the value of paying it forward. It has worked for us over and over again!
Which, if any social networking sites do you belong to?
Ju-ju-be pink room: http://www.ju-ju-be.com/PinkRoom/
For more information, visit: her website at www.ju-ju-be.com