The Thrive Questionnaire With Jenni Kayne

The designer, author, and entrepreneur opens up about balancing her projects as a working mom, and knowing when it’s time to take a break.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Jenni Kayne is an American designer, entrepreneur, and mother of three whose business spans the worlds of fashion, home design, and entertaining. Jenni Kayne has seven retail stores, an e-commerce site, a lifestyle blog called Rip & Tan, and is the author of lifestyle book Pacific Natural. Inspired by organic textures, thoughtful simplicity, and natural landscapes, Jenni Kayne has become an all-encompassing lifestyle brand that inspires women to live well every day.

In her Thrive Questionnaire, she opens up about balancing her projects as a working mom, and knowing when it’s time to take a break.

TG: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

JK: If my kids don’t wake me up, I try to mediate and run my energy before my loving husband brings me a cup of yerba mate tea in bed. I am not a morning person, so having a few moments to myself to mediate and snuggle with my dogs makes such a difference in starting my day off.  

TG:  What gives you energy?

JK: Matcha and exercise. Once I drop my kids at school I run and grab a large iced matcha every morning, it’s a little bit of an addiction. I love the energy and focus it gives me. If I have time before work I exercise — I love pilates and gyrotonics, or horseback riding.  Exercising gives me tons of energy and endorphins. 

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

JK: Living well is paramount. To me, that’s all about slowing down and living in the moment. One of the ways I do that is by coming together with friends and family and entertaining. I just came out with my first book, Pacific Natural, which is all about coming together, living seasonally, enjoying a meal and a beautiful table. 

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

JK:  Too many to name! I love Brené Brown and all of her books. I find myself reading them over and over again.  

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

JK: I am on my phone more than I should be, because as a working mom it allows me the freedom of not being in my office all day. I have a love-hate relationship with it because it allows me that freedom, but sometimes I feel like I’m a slave to it. One thing I do which helps, but drives my husband crazy, is I turn it on vibrate so it’s not constantly making noise and distracting me. I started doing that when I had my first son Tanner 11 years ago. It allows me to decide when to look at it so it’s not too distracting throughout the day. I also try my best to turn it over during meetings, meals, time with friends, and when I’m with my kids so I am not staring at it. I really try to be a good example to my children by limiting screen time but sometimes that’s harder said than done. When I sleep, I turn it off or put in on airplane mode.  

TG:  How do you deal with email?

JK: I try to set aside a little time each day to answer emails and if I can’t do it the same day, I flag them and go back later that week.  When I’m on vacation I try to flag everything important and take my time getting back to everyone so I can stay in the moment and not feel like I have to get back to everyone immediately. I feel like our phones have given everyone a sense of urgency about getting back to emails and texts immediately and it’s not necessary. If I did that I would spend the majority of my day on my phone or computer.  

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

JK: I am a Virgo and I love organizing and cleaning out things so I find myself doing that a lot. I also like taking that time to go in my infrared sauna for a quickie and meditate while I’m in there.  

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

JK: It ebbs and flows. The last time I felt burned out was when my book launched. I was traveling and promoting it with lots of press, meetings, and events while still trying to be there as a mom. When I have a lot going on at work and at home with the kids I can completely burn myself and my adrenals out. I try to find balance in those times and take care of myself mentally and physically to avoid that. Sleep, acupuncture, mediation, supplements, and horseback riding really help me slow down and stay in balance.  

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

JK: I fail all the time. I think the biggest professional failure I have had in the last few years was opening a separate kids and home store in Montecito adjacent to my clothing store. At the time I was only making clothing, but always had aspirations of having a lifestyle business, with home and children being part of that. I was so passionate about the store, designing and curating it, and people loved it, but at the time I didn’t have the infrastructure to support it. It was like having a completely new business in addition to what I was already doing and it was draining me and my team. I started having acid reflux from the stress and within a few years I realized it was not sustainable for me at that time and closed the store. I had to accept the failure and really address the ego that went along with not succeeding before I actually committed to closing the store. Once I was at peace with that, I knew it was the right move and I put out in the universe that when the time was right Jenni Kayne would be a lifestyle business that stood for living well, which I am proud to say it is today. 

TG:  Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

JK: “Nature is slow and yet everything gets accomplished.” I really believe in living in rhythm with nature because it grounds me. I sometimes have so much to do and feel rushed and overwhelmed, and this reminds me to slow down and take a deep breath. Everything will get done!

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