Hey Rescue Kit Family!
Jess here. Recently Risa and I had the pleasure of putting work aside and taking a minute to ask each other a few questions. Just when you think you know everything about someone....we still had a few surprises in there! Here is my interview with Risa. Hopefully you get some new insight into the mastermind behind our amazing company! Stay tuned for part two, when Risa interviews me. Enjoy!
Risa Kostis, CEO and Co-Founder of The Rescue Kit Company
JESS: Tell me a little about your background. How did you get here?
RISA: Where do I begin!? I started in the beauty industry as a hairstylist and makeup artist doing hair and makeup for weddings in Boston, then San Francisco, which eventually turned into a full blown fashion career. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity in a small fashion company that produced handbags and shoes, and traveled the world while learning all the ins and outs of the fashion industry. After that I worked in NYC as a fashion publicist for small women's clothing line. From there I made the move to Phoenix to finish my degree and put everything I had learned into practice dabbling in wedding planning, style consulting, closet clean-outs, blogging, and public relations. I eventually launched my first company, RISTYLE Consulting, which paved the way for the creation of The Rescue Kit Company.
JESS: So from what I'm hearing, you are actually running two full time businesses! How do you balance your time?
RISA: It's true! Balance is certainly a work in progress for me, if I'm being completely honest! As a natural-born 'yes' person, I've really had to create strong boundaries and prioritize in new ways. I'm a list-maker, so I have multiple lists always working at once, and for me it's all about keeping my sights set on the 'right now' and setting realistic goals for myself. Work is my true passion, so I'm my happiest when I'm achieving work goals, but I always make time for a hike, a yoga class, and time with my family and my dog, Wellie. I'm not the poster-child for great balance, but I'm as happy as I've ever been -- which feels like a win in my book!
JESS: Tell me about The Rescue Kit Company's debut product, The Bride Kit. Who do you see using this?
RISA: This is so exciting! It's quite literally my entire brain in a box...a true culmination of everything I've learned over the years, and my way of making getting dressed easy, stress-free, and completely accessible. The Bride Kit felt like a natural first product to launch, as I got my start working with brides and there's just something really special about a wedding day. Months, sometimes years, are spent to prepare for the wedding day, and since I've made a career out of making people look and feel great -- this product feels incredibly special to me and on brand for brides. Right now, our inaugural kit was designed to be the perfect gift or purchase for brides, but eventually there will be a kit designed for everyday use and every occasion imaginable. Our hope is to be in the closets, office drawers, suitcases and hands of everybody who takes pride in their appearance and wants peace of mind each and every time they get dressed.
JESS: The Bride Kit is such a unique product. I wish I had it when I got married! I think every bride has a wedding day disaster story. How do you recommend your customers use it?
RISA: It's unique, yet user-friendly - which was our goal when creating it. I recommend customers really get to know each product when they open the box. Test things out before actual disasters occur, always follow along with what we're doing and talking about as a brand so they know all the best and latest ways to use things, and always fill one of our drawstring travel bags with items they think they'll need on-the-fly. The kit was designed with full-size items and usable tools so there would be no stress or guessing while under pressure to quickly solve a problem. No confusion, just carefully curated fail-safe items that make sense and actually work! If brides have a go-to person for the big day, like a maid of honor or a coordinator, it can be really helpful to put them in charge of the kit so the bride is truly stress free.
JESS: What is the most rewarding part of working for yourself? What is your biggest challenge?
RISA: Being a business owner has been the greatest adventure of my life. In a weird way, the struggle and hustle has always been an incredible driving force for me, and it has forced me to dig really deep not only in the business world, but in my personal life. I love that I'm always my own biggest champion, but on the flip side I'm also my own worst critic. I've always been pretty self-motivated, but entrepreneurism always comes with it challenges and can be incredibly defeating at times. The greatest gift I've gotten with The Rescue Kit Company, is undoubtedly the gift of a business partner, my sister [Sister squealing....]. I always say, 'You're only as good as the team around you', and having someone by my side to share the small victories with and carry the load of the struggles with, makes it so much more encouraging.
JESS: I couldn't agree more! So it sounds like you don't have a ton of free time.....but when you do, how do you like to chill?
RISA: Chill?! What's that?? JK...when I have down time, you can find me at the dog park with my sweet labradoodle, at a yoga sculpt or hip hop dance class, or on the golf course. I recently told someone that asked me if I was having any fun in my life..."Work is my true passion, and if I can find joy from something I love everyday and get paid for it, I'd say I'm having the most fun I've ever had".
JESS: What is your favorite product in The Bride Kit?
RISA: A product I've sworn by since I became a stylist -- TopStick. I've found so many interesting uses for double stick tape, and I firmly believe it's a must-have in everyone's wardrobing arsenal. I also love our amazing lint roller, in partnership with Flint. It's beautiful, functional, and by far our most coveted item in the kit by consumers.
JESS: So, what comes next? Other than world domination, of course.
RISA: Well...if we're giving it all up here, I'll share that we're thrilled to debut the Closet Kit next! There's so much we have up our sleeve, but this feels like a natural next step and we can't WAIT for you to see what we have in store!