the cabi blog

cabi q&a: director of financial planning & analysis karise murayama

December 27, 2018

Behind every detail here at cabi, there is an important Home Office team member. This week on Meet the Team, we’re thrilled to introduce you to one of the most detail-oriented women we know—Karise Murayama. Karise is the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, which means she handles all the numbers. She says she just fell into this business and it was a perfect fit. But while we loved talking shop(ping), we also wanted to ask her a few questions that go beyond her role at cabi. When she’s not hacking away at a spreadsheet, you can find her running or watching sumo wrestling on TV. Did you know that’s a thing? Her guilty pleasure: The Bachelor...pretty sure a lot of us can relate. As a new mom, she’s in extreme baby-mode and loving every minute of it, even the late nights.

Juniper: Hi, cabi fans. We’re back again with another cabi Q&A, and today we’re talking with Karise. Karise is our Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, which sounds very exciting. So, Karise, tell us a little bit about what that means. Well, first of all, tell us how long you’ve been here at cabi.
Karise: I’ve been here almost five years, and I do everything related to numbers, so the budgets, the forecast for the company, and a little bit of inventory planning. Anything to do with numbers probably crosses my desk.

Juniper: Nice. We all need a friend like Karise that knows numbers. Have you always been interested in numbers?
Karise: Not really, but I’ve always been interested in business. So when I moved from Hawaii a long time ago, I went to school here and I majored in finance and accounting. And, I guess it’s always been kind of my thing. I mostly fell into it because I ruled out. I didn’t really like science too much, I don’t really like writing, and kind of fell into business. It has always sort of agreed with me, and I’ve been doing it for a long time.

Juniper: Awesome. Well, we’re so thankful to have Karise here at cabi. We’re going to ask you a few questions to get to know the woman behind the spreadsheets. Let’s start with a fun one. What is your favorite cabi Fall 2018 piece?
Karise: Well, it’s my favorite piece every season, and it’s the M’Leggings. I’m a new mom, so it’s the most comfortable thing. I can wear it dressed up or dressed down, and I have it in every color. The team knows it’s my go-to piece. I wear it at least once a week

Juniper: I think we can all relate to that. So yes, Karise is a new mom. Tell us about your baby.
Karise: She just turned seven months, and she’s a doll. She’s so sweet. I’m having so much fun. I didn’t know I was going to love being a mom because I waited quite a while to do it. Took a while for my husband and I to decide, but when we finally did, it’s just been amazing, a blessing. And every day, I wake up and, even the hard times, like last night when she woke up about five times, I still really enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.

Juniper: We have to enjoy all those moments, even at 3:00 a.m.
Karise: I know. It goes very quickly. Seven months went by so fast, I can’t even believe it.

Juniper: Coffee or tea?
Karise: Both. I have a cup of tea in the morning first, then I get into the office and I have some coffee. But now that I’m nursing, I just have a little taste of it.

Juniper: Good mama. What is your go-to ice cream flavor?
Karise: Just plain vanilla.

Juniper: Any toppings?
Karise: Nope, I just like plain vanilla, but a really good one like French vanilla something or other, little beans in it.

Juniper: And the calcium is good for nursing, so you really have to have some ice cream every day.
Karise: It’s a must.

Juniper: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Karise: Gosh. I would want to time travel because she’s only seven months old, my baby, but I’m already saying, “I miss the newborn phase.” I wish I could go back to when she would just lie there on my chest and we’d just have these quiet moments. I’m already missing it, so I’m sure I’m going to feel like that as she grows up. Just to be able to go back and maybe just live one day in the life, not the whole thing over again, but just one day. I’d love to do that.

Juniper: Yeah, just not the middle of the night.
Karise: No, no, no. Just the good times when she’s smiling, loving being with mommy.

Juniper: You have to bring her into the office. We all need some baby time. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Karise: None. I’m a terrible singer. I try to avoid it. But I have to admit that now that I have my baby, I’m getting really good at singing Baby Shark and Wheels on the Bus, little baby songs. So maybe I’ll be more confident now after practicing every day with her.

Juniper: Just wait, karaoke’s next. From lullabies to karaoke. What movie makes you laugh or cry every time you watch it?
Karise: You know, it’s funny, I don’t really cry a lot watching movies. I cry when I watch sporting events. Things that happen, like the Olympics, and they have the story about how the athlete overcame adversity, and then he wins the gold medal. That makes me cry. So, I can’t really think of a movie where I’ve cried and cried because I feel like I can separate the fiction from reality.
But, laugh. Gosh, I don’t watch a lot of movies now because I have very limited time, but I watched the comedy special on Netflix, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, and that made me laugh a lot. It’s funny. Made me cry a little too because it was a little too close to home.

Juniper: Because she’s a mom?
Karise: She’s a mom, and it’s about her experience as a mom.

Juniper: What is your must-have beauty product?
Karise: It’s coconut oil. I slather it on everything. I use it as lotion, put it on my lips, for my baby, everything.

Juniper: Do you use it for cooking, too?
Karise: Yes. Inside and out. Trader Joe’s coconut oil.

Juniper: You heard it here first—for everything. What do you do to relieve stress?
Karise: I love running. I’m very slow, but I love getting out there and going for runs. And I don’t get to do it as much now, so when I do go, I really savor the time just being out in the fresh air and moving around. I love it. I have a baby jogger stroller that I try to take out. It’s really hard to push and run at the same time, but it’s a good way to relieve stress and just get in the groove of life.

Juniper: What are you reading right now?
Karise: A lot of baby books. Not so much reading, but I listen to a lot of podcasts now. On the drive to and from work, or while I’m pumping, or whatever—I’m listening to podcasts. I’ve been really enjoying The Longest Shortest Time. It’s about parenting, little, funny, heartwarming stories about parenting, and that’s kind of been what I’ve been doing. I learn so many things like “blank is what you do.” Whenever I don’t know what to do about taking care of the baby, I look for a podcast about it. It’s amazing. But I would love to get back into reading…hopefully when she’s a little bit older and I have a little more time.

Juniper: Do you have a favorite joke?
Karise: What did the dog say to the tree?

Juniper: What?
Karise: Bark.

Juniper: That’s a good mom joke. You’ll be full of them soon. What was your first job?
Karise: My first job was working in a pet store. I love dogs. I love, love, love dogs. Always have. And I thought it would be the perfect job, so I was really, really excited. It was the mall pet store. I started day one, and I thought I was going to be there playing with dogs all day long and that, in my mind, was going to be what was happening. But in reality, I was cleaning poop all day long and dealing with customers that wanted to buy fish or something. But it was a good experience, and Irealized that I only like dogs—I don’t like all animals.

Juniper: Who would you say is your style icon?
Karise: It’s nobody famous. It’s my grandmother. We lived in a really small town growing up, so she didn’t have access to a lot of stylish things, but she always figured out how to make things work. When I started working at cabi, she was really excited. She was in her late 80s, and she would call me and say, “What’s the color of the season?” and she would always be super interested. She wanted to look at the Look Book and ask me about the styles. And I’d get her a few pieces, and she’d figure out how to accessorize them with what she had and work it into her wardrobe. I just thought it was amazing that, even at her age, she still loved fashion. I think it kept her young. And she would tell me, “Navy is like black, you can wear it with anything, and it looks more stylish. You should consider it. You wear too much black…wear navy.” She always had little tips, and I thought that was so special about her.

She was sick with cancer for 17 years, but up until the end, a week before she passed actually, we went to CVS because we had to pick up her medicine, and she wanted to go to the makeup section to look for a lip liner; she was looking for just the right color. She’s always been like that. I hope I’m still like that when I’m in my late 80s. I grew up in Hawaii, and my grandmother and I lived together until I was about 14 or 15 years old. We’re super close; I learned so much from her about life and everything.

Juniper: Love that. Maybe this is the same answer, but if you could have dinner with anybody, who would it be?
Karise: Probably the same answer. Probably my grandmother. I did her eulogy at her funeral, and when I did it, I realized that there was so much I knew about her because we were so close, but there was a lot that I didn’t know about her, so I always wished I could go back and ask her more about how it was when she first met my grandfather or how she felt as a new mom. All those little things that you don’t think to ask at the time. I would love to go back and do that, for sure.

Juniper: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Karise: I would love to go to Switzerland. Because I grew up in Hawaii, I love traveling to places that are cold. No tropical holidays for me. But actually, I passed through—I went to Italy for vacation, and I flew home through Zürich. I did the train ride through the Alps, and I’ve always wanted to go back and do hiking or some kind of outdoor activity there. Never had a chance to do it yet, but it’s for sure the next place I want to go.

Juniper: Name one thing you can’t live without.
Karise: I hate to say it, but it’s probably my iPhone because I use it to take pictures and all the things the iPhone does.

Juniper: And maybe coconut oil.
Karise: Yeah, yeah. Those two things.

Juniper: Have there been any books that have been inspirational to you or any books that you would recommend for women entrepreneurs?
Karise: There was one that I read a couple of years ago. It was called Grit, and it’s about the power of passion and perseverance. It says that you don’t have to be the smartest person, but with the right amount of passion, if you keep on chugging along, you can do amazing things. It’s something that I want to believe in, so definitely that book.

Juniper: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Karise: This one was from my grandfather. When I was, I would probably say probably was about 13 years old, sitting there with him, I asked him what kind of advice he had for me, what the most important thing was. I thought he was going to say ‘work hard’ or something like that, but he actually said a Japanese word—he’s Japanese American. He said it’s kansha, which translates to gratitude or appreciation. I didn’t think it was that profound at the time, but I always remembered it. And now, when I look back, it was really profound, and it’s something that I try to start and end my day with. And I feel like when I’m able to do that, the day feels much better, like I can get through anything. So I would say that’s the best advice, for sure.

Juniper: How would your friends describe you?
Karise: Probably as independent. And I’m also very good at noticing things, especially making sure nobody has an empty glass.

Juniper: What’s a quote that inspires you?
Karise: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I love that quote. I’ve always liked it. I feel like there’s a little bit of action behind it, like you need to do something to get what you want out of life or to make things happen, and I always like quotes that have to do with something that you can do to make something better versus just a theoretical sort of thing.

Juniper: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Karise: I would probably say start having kids a touch earlier. I thought I only wanted one, and now, well, it’d be really nice if she had a sibling. I’m already in my 40s, so it’s getting a little bit late, and I would love to have had more time to just spend with one. I did really enjoy my 20s and 30s to my fullest, but I probably should’ve started a touch earlier.

Juniper: What’s a cherished memory you have?
Karise: Well, there’s a recent one. We found out that my other grandmother had pancreatic cancer about a month ago. And it’s been really busy and hectic, but I was able to go back to Hawaii and take my baby, Kai, with me to meet her great grandmother. My mother was there, so there were four generations of women that were there, so just living in that moment and being able to experience it, and realizing it could be the last time that that will happen. And she’s my last remaining grandparent, so it was a really nice experience. My grandmother felt complete having met her great granddaughter. It was really, really special.

Juniper: What would you say is the greatest experience you’ve ever had?
Karise: The greatest experience. I’m such in baby mode right now. The greatest experience was having my daughter. I think just bringing life into the world and every single day watching how she grows. There’s a little bit of me, a little bit of my husband in her, and many family members in her. It’s been amazing.

Juniper: What was your favorite family vacation?
Karise: My husband and I were together for 15 years before we had our baby, and so we did a lot of traveling together. But thinking back, probably the best one was a simple one. Last year on Memorial Day, we went on a road trip. We took our dogs—I have an 18-year-old Corgi mix and an 8-year-old Dachshund—and we went up to Carmel and Napa. And it was just a simple road trip, but looking back, it was the last time that we were just together pre-baby. It was probably where she was conceived, so it was a meaningful trip. We had a great time and enjoyed some sips of wine, and saw the beautiful coast, and spent some time with the dogs. It was really nice.

Juniper: And came home with a baby.
Karise: Counting back, I think it was around that time.

Juniper: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
Karise: I love watching reality TV. It’s my guilty pleasure. I’ve been watching this Lifetime show, Married at First Sight. I like watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

Juniper: Oh, so good.
Karise: And then my favorite sport to watch on TV is sumo wrestling.

Juniper: I didn’t know that was on TV.
Karise: You can watch it on NHK Japanese TV, or you can watch it on their app. My grandma loves watching it, so I started getting into it. We text each other. My 89-year-old grandma knows how to iMessage, so we’re always talking about, “Did you see this match or that match?”

Juniper: That is very interesting. I’ll have to look that up. If your life was a movie, what would the title be?
Karise: Gosh, that’s kind of a hard one. I’m not super creative. I’d say, not The 40-Year-Old Virgin but The 40-Year-Old Mom.

Juniper: Thank you for spending some time with us today, Karise. It’s been so fun getting to know you. I guess we’ll let you get back to your spreadsheets.

From beauty tips to vacation ideas, there’s so much we learn from talking to our team members. Have a question we forgot to ask? Write it in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to get them answered for you during our next Q&A. Tune in next time and until then, we’ll be slathering coconut oil on everything and according to Karise, you should, too!