Photography Credit: James Limitless
…because black millennial women who balance the personal and professional need the spotlight, too.
In life, our main assignment should be to use our influence to impact. Today’s millennial woman is multidimensional and chooses to define herself by her acts of service in the community, by whom she raises in addition to the lives that are impacted by her influence. She is woman, she is Kris Christian. To be honest, this story is personal for me. Kris gave me my first shot at event production, journalism and so much more when I was a budding professional emerging on the scene in Chicago. We have journeyed from pitch meetings in NYC to curating panels at SoHo House in West Hollywood. I write this piece with pride, adoration, and love to the one who rocked with me from the very beginning, the BOSS the world has grown to love through her coffee brand, Chicago French Press. There are IT Girls and then there is THAT Girl and Kris is THAT GIRL.
Kris, how does your influence impact the world?
I hope that seeing my journey inspires someone to go for theirs. It’s our birthright to have access to all that we deserve – love, joy, success. It’s the belief to bet on yourself and the courage to keep going despite the odds Success can be realized from any background, gender, race – it doesn’t look one way. It could come from a pivot or out of the clear blue sky. Success is when you decide on what you want and go for it. I hope this message lives through my life long after I’m here.
You are the QUEEN of quiet moves. How has that aided in your success?
That’s hilarious! I guess I’ve never thought of it as making quiet moves. I’m a visual creative at heart and my fulfillment naturally lies in the “doing” and seeing ideas come to fruition. My creative process is layered and pretty complex – most of the time, it requires me to intensely plan and execute behind the scenes when no one is watching. Keeping the promises I’ve made to myself is what keeps me going. If I commit myself to a goal, I will make it happen and share it with the world when the timing is right. I think that type of determination and follow-through has aided me so much in my success.
Chicago French Press is amazing (first of all) but you not only have your own brand of coffee but in 2020 you opened two locations in Downtown Chicago – one in the popular South Loop shopping center, Roosevelt Collection, and another at the iconic Water Tower Place. As if that wasn’t major, you then announced in February your brand was sold in Target stores in the Chicagoland area. What does this mean to you as an entrepreneur and millennial?
These are really exciting times for Chicago French Press and it’s wonderful to see years of hard work finally be showcased for the public to enjoy across multiple channels and marketplaces – in person and online. My ultimate goal is to connect more coffee drinkers across the country to tastier coffee and charitable causes they can support. Being in such highly visible stores and locations, we’re able to reach new audiences, ultimately making a real impact and spreading more joy. That’s what it’s all about.
As a young entrepreneur, these are milestones that make me very proud but I have a strong desire to normalize these types of achievements. It’s not enough for me to be proud of my own accomplishments but finding a pathway for more Black and Brown entrepreneurs to see success is something that is important for me. Like Kamala Harris said, “I may be the first, but I won’t be the last.”
As a transformative voice in entrepreneurship, what advice would you give the multifaceted entrepreneur?
It’s okay to do multiple things just not at once. I’m multi-passionate and interested in many things. The world tells us that we have to choose one thing to do for the rest of our lives, get really good at that one thing and retire. I don’t believe that path is best for everyone but I do believe in the power of focus. Focusing on one thing at a time allows you to research, master, and grow an area to create a system that can ultimately run on its own. Too often, creatIve entrepreneurs do multiple things at once with the idea that they have to create many streams of income. It’s key to master one thing at a time and grow from there.
Switching lanes you are the mother to the most adorable baby boy, Derrick III. How has motherhood changed your life?
Motherhood has reinforced to me how powerful we all are as creators. I look at DIII and I am still in awe. Like, WOW I birthed him – what a miracle! We have the power to create life, beauty, and joy. This truth has brought so much meaning to my life and has encouraged me to maximize my life while I’m here not only through my contributions as a mother and wife but as a person with limitless potential. I’m so blessed to be a mother.
As a wife, mother, and full-time entrepreneur we often forsake balance. How does Kris create balance to push her self-care priorities to the forefront?
I believe finding equal balance as a wife, mother and full-time entrepreneur is an unattainable goal. After years of battling burnout, I had to make the radical decision to prioritize my own health and wellbeing above all — purely because I deserve to feel good and be healthy. We are not meant to work our lives away and our contributions don’t reflect our value. I had to spend a lot of time detaching my self-worth from how hard I worked.
Me deciding to pour into myself so that I could feel my best as my #1 priority created a domino effect in my life. When I felt my best I showed up as my best self – the best wife, the best mom, and the best CEO. Today, I make my weekly self-care routines non-negotiable. I carve out the time I need for the other duties I’m committed to. There are seasons where certain things take precedence over others for a stint, but carving out the time to focus on what’s important from day to day has made the idea of finding balance more achievable.
For me, it’s about being intentional about where I prioritize my time and integrating my roles as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur where I can.
Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…
Your hard work doesn’t reflect your self-worth. Let the joy that you find from your work and the impact you have on the world fuel your ambition. Forget what the world says you should be or where you should be at a certain age. You’re only in a competition against yourself!
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