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Meet Jenni Kayne, talented designer, founder of blog Rip + Tan, a gorgeously curated and creative blog that begs you to jump right into Jenni’s world and never leave. This mama to two is a staple on the West Coast fashion and design scene, and a savvy business women who has built a beautiful and purposeful brand. We couldn’t be more excited to share her story with you all.

You started designing at a really young age. You opened two stores, were married and had two kids when you turned 28. Did you always have clear vision for what you wanted to do? What do you attribute to this to?

It actually wasn’t all planned out, but I knew I wanted to be a designer pretty early on.  My mom took me to a Chanel show in the 80s when I was 6 or 8, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to be a designer. Linda Evangelista was modeling, and it was pretty life changing because I was so in awe of the whole thing. I was kind of a rebellious child and had to force myself to get things together when I was 18. After that, I was ready to work, so I went to work for other people for a year, and then I went to art school briefly. By the time I was 19, I’d made contacts in Italy with these pattern makers and so many other people in the industry so I just threw myself into it. I was really driven and started my business at 19. When I was 21, I met my husband. He was older, so his friends were all getting married. We were in love, so it just happened that I was married at 23. By the time I was 26 I was pregnant, and loved being a so much mom that I had Ripley at 28. I have 3 stores now, and we’re opening three more in 2016. In the early summer, Newport Beach and Palo Alto; in the fall, we’re opening in Marin County. New York is next. I have this vision of spreading out through the West Coast because this is such a Californian brand and then spreading to the East Coast. Because it is a small company, it’s easier to manage from here in California.

What would you do if you weren’t a fashion designer?

I would be an interior designer because it’s a huge passion of mine. I love designing spaces, whether it’s my stores, my home, or for my friend’s homes.  I actually have thought about picking it up in addition to what I’m doing now, but I’m always striving for balance between work and life and decided that maybe it wouldn’t be the best timing. There were times when amazing opportunities came up for me to design, and they did made me think about what my life would be like if I picked it up, but I decided it’s for the best not to because my life just wouldn’t be the same.

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What’s the best business advice you ever received?

Build an amazing team that supports you!

How do you feel your business acumen developed?

It has developed over time by making mistakes and learning from them. Also because of my dad. He is such an amazing businessman and is also my partner. After having children, it was really difficult to find the balance of being a good mom and being a business owner. I have learned that it’s so important to build an amazing team and have business partners rather than employees. From my team I’ve learned that by letting go a little bit you are able to achieve that balance.

What would say has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced while building your brand?

Honestly I would say that it would be having children and still being able to run a business. Fashion is so fickle, and as hard as it is, you really have to put in your 110%. I don’t want to be the mom who is so busy and doesn’t pick up her kids from school, so I wanted to find the right balance and person to help me run my business to avoid that situation. After many people, I finally found an amazing right hand to help me run my business, and it’s been great.

Any quick fashion or beauty tips for busy moms on the go that need to look pulled together and get out the door fast?

I live in a uniform to take the thought out of getting ready in the morning. It’s so important to dress functionally when you have kids! For me, I know that I can always put on high-waisted jeans, D’Orsay  flats, and a collared shirt or a cashmere sweater, and I’m good to go. In terms of beauty, I really think that less is more. I don’t wear much makeup, but I do wear a tinted moisturizer, and when I feel like I need a little bit more I wear a colored lip. It’s all about finding what works for your body and lifestyle.

 

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What’s been your biggest pinch me career moment?

The first time I met Anna Wintour was so intimidating and exciting. I was a young designer. It was awesome.

If you could only wear one outfit from your collection this winter what would it be?

I’ve been living in our Cashmere Turtleneck and a pair of Acne jeans, which we sell at the store. We also did a collaboration with Crescent  Down Works (they make some of my favorite outerwear), which resulted in a supremely soft goose down, flannel lined vest. And to top it off, I would wear a pair of my black leather Chelsea boots.

Do you think your designs changed at all when you became a mom? How has being a mom affected your personal style?

Comfort and functionality are definitely key. Fashion is so important, and you have to love what you wear and be inspired by new looks, but I don’t believe in trends. I believe in wearing functional, beautiful, and classic items. There is always something new, but I do try to keep it consistent. I don’t want to make disposable clothes because that’s not what I want to have in my closet.

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We really feel that surrounding yourself with other creative women can be invigorating and life changing. How has community been important in your life?

Community is so important in my life because we inspire and help each other out. I already had this network of friends that are designers, but I have met so many great and creative women through my blog Rip&Tan. I now know a whole world of amazing women in other fields from flowers to crafts to table tops to linens. I think I have cultivated an amazing group of friends that I love to collaborate with because we’re always inspiring each other, and I feel like we all lift each other up.

On your blog Rip & Tan you showcase a lot of gorgeous entertaining, is this a passion for you?  

I think the clothes that you wear and the furniture in your house and the plates on your table are all equally important. I believe in living well and finding beautiful details wherever you can. As I’ve gotten older, I feel like there has been a resurgence of women getting into the kitchen and being homemakers again. After 8 years, I feel like our house has become the center of all of our friends gatherings, and through that, I’ve really gotten into entertaining.

You’ve collaborated with some great brands, Earth Tu Face was already an obsession of mine, and I’m excited to check out some other others that are new to me on your blog! What’s been your favorite so far? What do you think makes for a successful collaboration?

All of them have been amazing and all have been in different areas. I loved the Earth Tu Face lotion that we collaborated on, and I have been using it everyday. My favorite collaboration so far would have to be for Pottery Barn Kids. I worked on it at the end of January and it launched in June; I got to design 50 pieces for them! It was really, really fun decorating, working with my children, and partnering with such an amazing company that can make anything happen. In general, the key to my collaborations is passion for the brand. I like to partner with an expert in their field and do it in an amazing and inspired way . I also did a collab with The Laundress that was a lavender musk laundry detergent. It’s so fun because different collaborations introduce different experiences.

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How do you find balance and your center? I read a little about your love of meditation. Katya and I are always listening to positive affirmation and looking for new ways to reconnect. How has that practice benefited you and how did you find the right meditation?

I would say I haven’t yet, but I try. Finding balance is key in order to be happy, but you can be successful and unhappy or happy and unsuccessful. It’s important to have both by finding the right team to help. With my business, my team is what helped me find balance. Find time for yourself — whether it’s meditating or doing yoga. For me, right now, it’s horseback riding, and I’m happier if I have an hour to myself. Then I can give more. I’ve gotten really into horse back riding again because it’s meditative to be out in nature. I horseback ride 4 to 5 times a week.

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What do you have on the horizon?

One of my idols is Martha Stewart since I love crafting, cooking, and decorating.

I was super excited to do a feature with two of my friends, Annie Campbell and Amy Blessing. We all went to Tahoe last Christmas to my lake house and had this amazing weekend with our kids. The feature just came out in the December issue. We are planning on throwing a party with Martha to celebrate all of her amazing achievements and inspiration over the years, and I’m just so excited to be in her world.

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To learn more about Jenni Kayne and her work, check our her heymama profile here, and follow her on Instagram!

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