We had the good fortune of connecting with Jolene Kraus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jolene, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from a small farming community in Iowa. And yes, I grew up on a farm. I was the youngest child, therefore the creative one. I was raised by parents who let me have my creative side, but whom also set boundaries. Since my parents had their own business, I watched them work hard every day (weekends included) to provide for the family. As kids we also worked for the family business with no pay. That made me a hard-working person in general and also someone who wanted to have my own business. I was able to combine my love for all things creative with being an entrepreneur.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is my education, training and previous jobs. I went to school for interior design, which most people don’t know. As much as I am an advocate for being self taught, I think it is equally important for people to have an education in their craft. I’ve worked for well-known architecture firms and designers. I’ve learned to think about design as a whole but also to pay attention to the details. It definitely wasn’t easy to get here. I moved across country, throughout the entire state of California and worked under many mentors. I learned when to throw in the towel and when to push through hard situations, mostly by trusting my gut. Ben always asks me ‘what does your gut say?’ I’ve learned to be open and communicate regularly. Don’t assume someone can read your mind. I would love the world to know that design is truly my passion. When I’m not designing or working, I still do design related things in my spare time. I’m most excited about the new product categories we are designing!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh this is a hard one for me, especially with Covid, I’ve come to love lounging in the house. But if I had to choose, it would be the beach. Driving along the coast, finding a little spot to hang and a place to eat that I’ve never been. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know that I have a go to restaurant in LA. In fact we talk about that often. We like to try new places and drive and explore.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
For me, every experience has been beneficial in getting me where I am today. Ben, my husband, is by far the most encouraging and supportive person in my life. He tends to give me a different perspective in most situations, so it’s amazing to have him by my side. I also learn from my peers and those in positions above me (sometimes that means what not to do). I think it’s important to learn from every situation as that is how we grow and evolve. I honestly did not take that advice to heart until somewhat recently. When there is a tough situation (let’s be honest, 2020 has provided a lot of those for us), it may take me a day or two, but I take a step back and evaluate the situation to do better the next time.
Image credits by Benjamin Kraus except the family photo, that was Lauren Bauer