An Exclusive Interview With Serial Entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of TruKid Jennifer Adams Bunkers
Q: How did you come up with the inspiration for TruKid?
JAB: There was a time where one of my kids used my wrinkle cream but after she mentioned it stung her face, I quickly realized that perhaps my skincare was not suitable for her, although it was a quality product. Therefore, I began to do my research on what was available for kids and started to educate myself on natural and healthy products designed specifically for kids. This is where the idea came from as I wanted to create a company that would not only help kids, but a company that I could include my kids in.
Q: As a serial entrepreneur, how is your parenting style different from other parents and how did it inspire your children to collectively start 10 businesses?
JAB: The most pronounced is my willingness to teach independence at an early age. I gave them the tools to do things themselves or at least believe that they can, so they try. I talked to them about money and how they can earn it, save it, invest it, etc. and contribute to the household. As they began to learn this responsibility, they naturally found themselves choosing to be more independent. They even began to pay for their part of vacations. ☺
Q: How do you balance your passions with raising a family?
JAB: I don’t separate work and family as for me they are connected. I toggle back and forth between them. I include my kids in what I am thinking or working on next. Then in the next breath, I’m coaching volleyball. This style makes me happy.
Q: What are your top tips for other parents who want to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams?
JAB: Just begin. No one and nothing is perfect so it’s important to take a leap of faith. Be willing to talk about your ideas with everyone rather than be shy. I also love the idea of a side hustle, so I encourage you to try whatever new thing you want to try, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day. Also, lots can be done at night when your kids go to bed. This is when I do a lot of my thinking, researching, and work. Sometimes the dishes don’t get done and I am okay with that, as it’s all about balance.
Q: What advice do you have for running a successful business during times of economic turmoil, such as during COVID-19?
JAB: COVID-19 has been such a challenge on so many levels, but it has helped me create some new habits such as:
Streamline anything you can, create SOP (standard operating procedures) for all repeatable tasks to free up your time for stuff that matters. This way you’re not stuck with busy work.
Try to work regular hours (whatever time of day that is for you) because the work never seems to end in this pandemic. It is so easy to grab your laptop and continue to work when you’re constantly at home.
Look for ways to simplify things. I noticed I had some complicated customers or processes that were not adding value or repeatable sales in a meaningful way. This alone has been a reason we have grown - by putting more focus and effort towards consumers who value the brand and invest in the products while attracting new, similar customers.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
JAB: Surround yourself with a peer group in which you can share deeply. I belong to various entrepreneur groups that I can count on to help me with any business-related challenge. The network and benefits are beyond invaluable.
Q: Can you share with us, one woman who inspires you and why?
JAB: Sara Blakely. She grew a billion-dollar company by refusing to take no for an answer, especially when she began.
Q: What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
JAB: Put yourself out there, they say luck favors the bold. What that means is to make your own luck by being proactive and visible. If people don’t know who you are, they cannot promote you. Keep learning; not only for yourself but to be a greater asset to where you work.
Q: Were there moments in your career that were pivotal to getting where you are today?
JAB: Yes -- I was once tasked with going to China for a company I previously worked for to help open up manufacturing. I had never been to Asia, nor to a factory and because I was in charge of product development, this involved me learning about how manufacturing worked. When I visited the first factory, I quickly realized that making products was for me. It was so easy for me to understand the processes - my brain just lit up. Since this moment, I’ve never looked back.
Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?
JAB: She believed she could, so she did.
Five Things About Jennifer Adams Bunkers
1. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Thomas Edison, Warren Buffet, (and every women of the 19th century that invented anything, against all odds of the era (chauvinism, sexism, and education, etc.))
2. Favorite City?
3. If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
4. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
Hawaii - it’s a warm climate, has friendly people, beautiful beaches, and sunsets. All things that I love!
5. What's your favorite family tradition?
Writing Christmas letters to each other.