Business Woman Kris Jenner
Business Woman Kris Jenner

Kris Jenner on What It's Really Like Working with Family

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Kris Jenner needs no introduction—her tremendous impact on modern culture speaks for itself. “Reality star” is only a blip on her resume—she’s a shrewd businesswoman who’s turned her family name into a billion-dollar empire and has taken the concept of “momager” to another level. Naturally, the Kardashian matriarch is a constant inspiration to our Good American team and anyone with entrepreneurial dreams—and she has plenty of wisdom to share in that arena. In her Q&A, she drops knowledge on navigating the professional world as a female, how to successfully brand a business, and what you need to know about working with family.

Photo courtesy of @KRISJENNER

Photo courtesy of @KRISJENNER

Where does your work ethic come from, and how did you make sure to instill that drive in your daughters?

From my mother and grandmother. They raised me to be independent, strong-minded and hard working. My kids all have an incredible work ethic and I’m very proud of them. When Kim was young she actually set up her own eBay store to start selling her old clothes. She’s always had a very entrepreneurial spirit and sensibility. And all of my girls started working at a young age.

When you have an idea for a business venture or creative project, how do you go about making it happen? What does that process look like?

Usually I think about what projects would be best suited to which one of my kids, or my kids will come to me with an idea and we’ll figure out how to make those ideas a reality. There’s no magic formula that can be applied across all business or creative projects; everything has to fit naturally, feel authentic, and flow. The beauty of being a family business and having a small team is that we can be completely in control creatively, and can react and respond to things in the blink of an eye, being completely flexible. Flexibility is definitely key and it’s hard work.

What perspectives, talents, or leadership qualities are unique to each of your girls and how they approach their projects?

Kim is incredibly definitive. She knows exactly what she wants. She’s a perfectionist across everything she does, from her makeup, to her businesses, to her home. I admire that about her. Nothing is ever done half way. Kylie is also very specific in what she likes, but she’s young and so her likes and dislikes, or her creative vision, can naturally develop and change. I think that’s what makes her so relatable, and what makes her cosmetics line so successful, in that it’s a direct reflection of who she is and what she’s into at that moment. Khloe is very compassionate and loving. She is led by her heart and has strong opinions and values. This leads her in her personal life as well as in her businesses. Her Good American brand has such a powerful message and I’m so proud of her. Kourtney is a mom first and foremost and everything she does is with her kids in mind. I respect her so much for that. Kendall has the sweetest soul and cares so much about other people. She’s also incredibly focused and passionate about her job and doesn’t let anyone take her away from her personal beliefs and aspirations. She’s always been laser focused on her career.

What’s “mom” in the boardroom look like, versus “mom” at home look like? Do you keep those roles separate?

I think it used to be a lot easier. It is definitely hard to separate mom and momager at times, with everything we have going on, but the girls know that I’m always mom first.

Photo courtesy of @KRISJENNER

Photo courtesy of @KRISJENNER

What advice would you give someone looking to go into business with his or her family members?

Make sure you are both on the same page: family first. There will be times when you want to kill each other. There will be times when you don’t agree on certain business decisions, and it can be incredibly stressful on a relationship. No matter what, you have to both commit to the notion that family comes first, and sometimes that may mean comprising, or letting go of something one of you was particularly set on, in order to protect the family bond.

What do you think is the key to a successful brand?

Authenticity and passion. And a real, honest belief in what you are doing. When I get really excited I know I’m on the right path.

With so much already on your plate, have you ever made the decision to say no to a project when you’re spread too thin? How do you make sure you don’t get burnt out?

All the time! You can’t take on every single project that comes your way, and you shouldn’t. We explore every opportunity, of course, but then decide, based on whether we are passionate about something, and what sort of time and energy needs to be invested, whether it’s something to pursue.

What is your approach when something doesn’t go according to plan?

Think about out why it didn’t work and decide whether it’s something worth trying again. There might be 100 different reasons why something didn’t work, but you need to brush yourself off and try again. Don’t be disheartened. Sometimes things will fail not because they aren’t great ideas, and not because you didn’t work hard enough, but because it just wasn’t the right time. Timing is everything.

Have there been instances when you or your team dropped the ball? What advice can you give to moving forward from and rising above these mistakes when they happen in a professional setting?

My team and I work under a lot of pressure, in an extremely fast-paced environment. When you have as many kids as I do, who each have their own businesses, there’s a lot going on at any given moment. I have a very small, but very efficient team, and for the most part, the ball is very rarely dropped. But no one is perfect, and there will be times when things will slip through the cracks. There’s a big difference between dropping the ball because you weren’t paying attention to something, and dropping the ball because something else absolutely had to be prioritized, and something less important fell through. My advice would be: don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and just work as hard as you can. Everyone makes mistakes, but make sure you learn from them. It’s always important to reflect on mistakes so you can see why they occurred, whether they could have been avoided, and how you can change things for the future. Delegating is key.

What is the future of the ‘Kris Jenner’ brand? Anything you haven’t tackled yet?

Of course, but that would be telling ;)

For more from Kris Jenner, follow her on Instagram.