Jennifer Adams of TruKid: “Create the company that works for you”

Focus: I hear this a lot and also say it a lot. Making one product or service successful is more sustainable than being distracted by several new products (or companies) at once. I struggle with this nearly everyday because I am creative and am always thinking about what to do next. I have to remind […]

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Focus: I hear this a lot and also say it a lot. Making one product or service successful is more sustainable than being distracted by several new products (or companies) at once. I struggle with this nearly everyday because I am creative and am always thinking about what to do next. I have to remind myself that spreading resources and time too thin is just a bad process — and the fastest way to fail.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Adams.

Jennifer has more than 25 years of experience in product development and design, sourcing and manufacturing in Asia and the U.S. Beginning her career in the toy industry, she directed product development and design, sourcing and created private label products and concepts that were sold to nearly every retailer in the nation.

Jennifer launched Velocity Source Group in 2001, to meet the needs of domestic companies seeking professional, experienced guidance in product development, design, sourcing and manufacturing both in the United States and in Asia. In early 2017, she wound down that business to focus all of her energy on TruKid.

From what started as a frustration, TruKid was born and quickly became a household name with a sizable following among parents facing similar skin challenges.

She decided that kids needed a brand that was safe, gentle and natural. Using natural ingredients and essential oils to make scents that kids love and a product design that belongs in kids’ bathrooms, she created a truly healthy, kid-friendly product range. TruKid is now the expert in Kids steroid-free Eczema Care and has the largest offering of National Eczema Association Approved products for kids and babies.

TruKid brings clean, comfy fun back to bath time, that’s the promise Jennifer makes.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?

In 2008, I was frustrated with the lack of good options while caring for my children’s skin, especially the frequent eczema flare ups. After years of trial and error, a lot of wasted time and money, I decided to create the skincare products I needed for my family. The products that are 100 percent steroid free, plant-based, simply made and highly effective, even on problematic or sensitive skin.

What led you to this particular career path?

I noticed a gap in the marketplace — there were very little products for kids, but a lot for babies. It seemed like a good idea to grow with customers’ families as they grow. This would create a repeat business for nearly 10 years (per family) vs. 18–24 months for babies.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

When we began, we were extremely innovative in that we created a natural product offering — which was unheard of. This was when natural products were new and just coming onto the market. There was not much available, and consumers were mostly unaware there was a choice to have healthy, natural products. Then we began to offer products that were natural and steroid free — focusing on the eczema struggles of parents everywhere. Steroids can offer relief, but the downside of steroids is an often misunderstood reality of skin steroid addiction. Once you stop using the steroid, the rash may come back redder and more aggressive than before, therefore forcing more steroid use on already angry skin. We offered a product that was steroid-free that served our customers’ needs, gently and safely.

Our exciting new disruption is our Bubble Podz — our eco-friendly no mess, no waste, single-serve solution that fills your child’s bath with a tubful of natural, safe and chemical-free bubble bath. It makes bath time simple, clean and fun for all sensitive skin types.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?

It was not so much as funny as not understanding the customer. When my kids were little before bed, I would wash their feet with a washcloth and massage them with lotion. I created a foot cream for kids that was meant for parents and kids to have a moment of comfort and care. Who does not like their feet rubbed right? It totally flopped. Either we did not market it correctly or no-one wanted to rub their kids’ feet. HA!

Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was an early lesson in learning to really understand the customer’s needs. Just because I had the need was not necessarily what my customers wanted. I am still a little salty about it because I loved this product. ☺

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors?

I have been a member of the Entrepreneur Organization (EO) for about 15 years. It is a worldwide group of CEOs/Founders that allows for deep and transparent sharing of ideas, struggles, resources, etc. I am grateful that I can call up a local chapter member or any member from around the world and have a candid discussion about any problem I might be having. Currently, I belong to a group of nine CEOs (that are from the EO world) in which we virtually meet every Friday morning (5:30 a.m. PST); and have been for more than eight years. They are my personal mentors — board of directors.

Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

They make an impact really every week. One of our members recently was in a partnership challenge and as a collective group we helped them find a positive solution. If I was not able to reach out to other CEO’s, I would definitely make more mistakes.

I also have a coach, Jonathan Domsky of Untangled Coaching. We began working together earlier this year and working with a coach is something I totally recommend. It provides more insights into habits and goal achievement. For example: one week we discussed things that were inadvertently impacting my goals and he took me through a tool that highlighted some behaviors that might be getting in my way. Honest perspective is hard to find.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I love the idea of disrupting, but it sounds like an aggressive word, when oftentimes the disruption is actually really helpful and makes people’s lives easier (like our Bubble Podz).

Right now, being able to Zoom with customers and vendors vs. travel (because of the pandemic) is not only making my life easier, but a whole lot more efficient. I also think Zoom is pretty disruptive in that meeting face to face is fast and easy. However, the downside is not physically visiting a factory and walking the factory floor, meeting the developers on site. I have gotten all of my learning from visiting factory’s, learning new technologies around making products along with meeting the teams in person. Although it is not Zoom’s fault I am not getting on planes right now.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Focus: I hear this a lot and also say it a lot. Making one product or service successful is more sustainable than being distracted by several new products (or companies) at once. I struggle with this nearly everyday because I am creative and am always thinking about what to do next. I have to remind myself that spreading resources and time too thin is just a bad process — and the fastest way to fail.

Sometimes “me too” is ok: I had a toy company years ago and I created beautifully painted butterfly wings. I kept being asked to create Angel Wings and I said — someone else already does that. My customers said I would rather buy it all from you vs. two vendors. I decided to just do it and the Angel Wings became my #2 seller.

Create the company that works for you: I felt I needed to grow my business in a certain way — focus on selling to smaller wholesalers then scale into Mass Market retailers; as it seemed others were doing. I realized that after a while that I had made my business really complicated and did not like the complexity I created. 2.5 years ago, I pivoted to a model that made it easier to manage and scale while fitting my personality and skill set better. Not only am I growing a better business but I like how simple it is.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

HA! I am never done — my mind is always whirling. Ask my kids when I make them go trend shopping and ask them questions about what might be missing from a given category I am looking at, or are there things in their lives that could be much better. More importantly, I am working toward a no-plastic packaging consumer goods company. We are on our way to that with our Bubble Podz and its compostable packaging, but my goal is to be plastic free with innovative packaging by 2023 (or sooner).

Additionally, I am getting ready to shake things up in the Pet Category. I have designed a product range that will make washing your pet so much easier and better for the dogs (plastic free, of course). I am very excited about this launch in Q1 of 2021.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I really don’t like to think in terms of male vs. female, but over the years I see that men seem to have an easier time getting funding that assists in their disruption. I think that is changing now, but I believe women are ready to lead disruption. Especially now with so many leaving the workforce to care for kids or family during the pandemic. I believe that women will be solving problems that will result in amazing new companies.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

Story Branding, by Donald Miller. Getting our messaging right has been a challenge and this book has truly made an impact on telling our story. Being clear so our customers better understand how we can help them, has changed our business.

Can you share a story with us?

Getting the story right. In the beginning our origin story resonated at the time, but we also had another story along the way that was equally important to tell but did not tell it. I felt I could not change the original narrative (not sure why I got stuck on the original story). Getting comfortable telling a different story that better represents our path and for our customers has been really critical.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

One of my passions is helping young entrepreneurs get off the ground. I help mentor kids at my kids’ high school. I am available to the entrepreneur club to advise and brainstorm — work through business ideas, etc. The youth is our future and if I can help the next generation think big and about the future, who knows what they will think of. You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

Wayne Gretsky. The first sentence is the one I repeat the most. I am not so much a hockey fan as much as I am a fan of this quote. Look forward and be fearless. Failure grows new muscles.

Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have not made moves due to fear- have missed opportunities or not taken advantage of them because of being afraid to take the risk.

How can our readers follow you online?

@Trukidskin or

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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