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cabi q&a: kris kim, designer

May 30, 2019

Do you ever wonder who is behind every cut, print, and style of all your beloved cabi pieces? Who thought of adding that asymmetrical zipper or a billow sleeve on that blouse? Today we’re pleased to introduce you to the one of the incredible women behind each and every one of those details, Kris Kim! Kris is an integral team member of our Design Team. She works to ensure that every design is exquisite, unique, and worthy of being in your closet.

Kris hails from Wahiawa, Hawaii, a small town on the island of Oahu and is the mother of an adorable little girl, who we’re sure will have a killer sense of style one day! Her favorite part about working at cabi is getting to work with all the wonderful and inspiring people who make up this team. Kris says it’s a privilege to come to work every morning and doesn’t take it for granted. It’s rare and precious to love your job as much as she does, and it shows in her work! Have a read below to get to know Kris on a more personal level, and check out our exclusive video featuring the legend herself.

Juniper: Hi cabi fans. We’re back with another cabi Q&A. Today, we’re talking with Kris from our Design Team. Kris, tell us a little bit about what you do here at cabi.
Kris: I’m a designer, and I’ve been here for almost eight years. I have the privilege of working with Kat, Becky, and Char, and our amazing team of pattern makers, and sewers, and cutters. We get to develop all the amazing styles for the season.

Juniper: Awesome. We love those styles, don’t we? You’ve been here about eight years, and you’ve been a designer for long before that. But have you always been a designer?
Kris: No. Actually, I’ve been a designer for about 14 years, but prior to that I worked in museums. I made a career change and followed my true passion of design.

Juniper: Awesome. What did you do in museums?
Kris: I was a curator, actually. I have a degree in Art History. Obviously, there’s a tie-in with beautiful things, but, yeah. Now I want to be on the more creative side of it.

Juniper: Interesting. That’s why I love these Q&As.You actually grew up in Hawaii, right?
Kris: Yes, I did. I was born and raised there. I lived there until I was 17 and then was off to college here in California, but my family is still there. It’s a great place that I still call home.

cabi Clothing | Spring 2019 cabi team Kris-Kim

Juniper: Awesome. Kris also has a beautiful daughter.
Kris: Yes, Maddy who’s 10 years old and is just such a joy—she really is.

Juniper: We would love to ask you just some fun and silly questions to kind of get to know you a little bit better. Can we dive right into that? First of all, what is your favorite piece from the Spring 2019 Collection?
Kris: The Dream Dress. I’m a dress girl. I love a beautiful dress, and this one is, in fact, a dream.

Juniper: Are you wearing it over jeans today?
Kris: I am wearing it over my True Boyfriends and with amazing shoes. It’s so easy to get dressed that way.

Juniper: Kris is sort of known for her shoes. I know these were a fan favorite when she wore them at Scoop. All right. Coffee or tea?
Kris: Coffee.

Juniper: Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
Kris: Mint chocolate chip.

Juniper: Ooh, good classic. What is your go-to karaoke song?
Kris:  “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

Juniper: If you could have a superpower, what would that be?
Kris: Transporting myself in an instant to any place and any time.

Juniper: If you could transport yourself anywhere, where would you go?
Kris: Usually home when there’s a lot of traffic and just get home instantly.

Juniper: Beauty of L.A. living. What movie makes you laugh or cry every time you watch it
Kris: Definitely Groundhog Day.

Juniper: Oh, that’s a good one—oldie but a goodie. What do you do to relieve stress?
Kris: I garden, actually. I love to garden. We’re redoing our whole front yard. So, there’s a lot of gardening to be done.

Juniper: Does your daughter like to garden with you?
Kris: No.

Juniper: What is your must-have beauty product?
Kris: Lipstick. I like bright lipstick. I know nude lipstick is really in, and Becky loves her nude lipstick, but I always tease her that it looks like a brown paper bag or something.

Juniper: Do you have a favorite brand of lipstick or just any lipstick goes?
Kris: No, pretty much any lipstick. I can go out shopping for a whole day and not buy a single thing except a new lipstick.

Juniper: You can never have enough. Do you have a favorite joke? I know you have a 10-year-old daughter. I’m sure you’ve heard some good jokes. Do you have any favorites?
Kris: Why does the man not trust the tiger?

Juniper: I don’t know.
Kris: Because he thought he was a lion.

Juniper: Yes, my eight-year-old would love that. He would approve. Good one. What was the last book you read?
Kris: I recently finished reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean. It’s mostly about the fire that happened at Los Angeles Central Library, but it’s really about the history of not just that library, but libraries in general. It also has true crime because it talks about the search for the arsonist. It’s a fascinating book.

Juniper: What book should entrepreneurs read?
Kris: They should read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Juniper: We should all read that. Who would you say is your style icon, or what decade do you gravitate towards?
Kris: I guess I always loved the ’60s. I just think for my own personal style, I love the silhouettes from that era.

Juniper: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would that be?
Kris: Well, I’ve always been a great big fan of Anthony Bourdain and all of his books. I watched all of his TV shows. Though he’s no longer here, he’s the person that I would have loved to have dinner with.

Juniper: He’s a chef. Right?
Kris: Yes.

Juniper: Okay. Did he inspire your cooking?
Kris: He was so adventurous, which inspired me with food in particular, but also just being open.

Juniper: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Kris: I would love to go to India. I studied Indian art a little bit in college—just to be able to see all of these amazing places where there’s Buddhas carved out of mountains and things. Things that you wouldn’t ever get to see unless you traveled there…that would be a dream.

Juniper: Of the places you have traveled, where has been your favorite, or what has been a favorite vacation?
Kris: Well, it wasn’t exactly a vacation, but when I was working in art history, I actually had a chance to go to Salzburg for a conference. The place we stayed was actually the home that inspired The Sound of Music. I kid you not, it was that lake and that whole façade of that building that’s still there, and I actually got to stay there. That was pretty amazing.

Juniper: So fun. That’s awesome. Do you have any special skills?
Kris: Ever since my daughter was born, I’ve made her a custom Halloween costume every single year. This last year was the Mona Lisa, which was quite the highlight of the neighborhood.

Juniper: These are amazing Halloween costumes. They would put Pinterest to shame, they’re so good.

Juniper: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Kris: The best advice, I would say, is “You don’t have to get 100%, but you have to give 100%.” That’s from my daughter, Maddy, who is 10.

Juniper: She is wise beyond her years. How do you think your friends would describe you?
Kris: I think they would say I’m serious, but funny.

Juniper: I would agree with that. What’s a quote that inspires you?
Kris: I believe Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” I try to think about that all the time.

Juniper: What advice would you give your younger self?
Kris: I think I would have told myself to just be a little bit more adventurous and to not let fear guide my decisions.

Juniper: Is that advice you try to instill into your daughter now?
Kris: Yes, definitely. Something I’ve been working on, for sure, but yeah. If I’d thought about that more when I was a young adult, I think it would have been great.

Juniper: What’s a cherished memory that you have?
Kris: I would say, of course, cherished memory is when I had my daughter.

Juniper: Because we never forget childbirth.
Kris: Unforgettable in many ways.

Juniper: Do you have any favorite family vacations that you’ve taken with your daughter or with your husband maybe?
Kris: We took a road trip when she was about seven. We drove all the way up the coast of California. We stopped along the way and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in San Francisco. Yeah, it was just a lot of fun.

Juniper: Okay. What did you love the most about working at cabi over the years?
Kris: The friendships I’ve made. I think that I feel so lucky to have made so many great friends here, and people not just that I like to come to work with, but that I know I can rely on outside of work as well. That’s just amazing.

Juniper: Well, thank you, Kris, for spending so much time with us today. I know I learned some fun things about you, and I know our fans and our Stylists love seeing you whenever they can. Thank you.

Learning about Kris’s life experience makes us understand why she’s so eye-poppingly creative. She’s the one to thank for your favorite go-to, be it the Disco Dress or the Nantucket Cami—you name it, she designed it. Got a question you’re itching to have answered by one of our team members? Ask it in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to include it in our next interview!