Being a working woman has its difficulties, but looking good and doing it in heels can make it that much harder. Thanks to the brilliant minds of twin sisters Kristina and Jamie Lee, creators of the shoe company JaK Couture, women now have a solution to provide relief for those achy feet.
Back in 2011, Kristina was working as a reporter for a local television station, and Jamie was working in the corporate world. Both worked hard while wearing fabulous yet painful heels.
To ease the pain, the girls created a high-end, elegant, classy, unique, foldable leather sandal that fits into a fashionable bag to keep on hand at all times and to take out whenever you are ready to give your sole a break. In 2012, Kristina quit her full- time gig to focus on JaK Couture. Together, the girls revamped and recreated shoe after shoe until finally this January they officially launched their online shoe business at JaKCouture.com. The girls are also very committed to giving back to the community and have partnered with StandUp For Kids, an organization dedicated to ending youth homelessness.
Q: Why do you girls make such a great team? Which different talents do you bring to the table?
Kristina: It helps that we are twins. We can finish each other’s sentences and the special connection we have translates well into being business partners. We can also be brutally honest with each other (without taking it personally), yet we respect and value each other. Those things ensure that we are making the best decisions for the company as a partnership.
Jamie: I would add that we are both creative with similar but different tastes. Kristina is the yin to my yang; therefore we complement one another well. I studied economics and excelled at numbers.
Kristina: I fall asleep when dealing with numbers.
Jamie: I also have a strong understanding of the business aspects of JaK Couture. Kristina studied broadcast journalism and understands the marketing and sales aspects of JaK Couture. She can be left in a room and by the time we leave will know everyone’s background. Two creative minds, two separate strengths, and one common goal of achieving success truly makes for a great team.
Q: The accessories you can’t leave home without?
Jamie: Earrings, necklace, wedding ring, sunglasses, and my Louis Vuitton bag. If a cell phone is considered an accessory, I would definitely need that as well.
Kristina: And of course a pair of JaKs.
Q: Describe your perfect day in San Diego?
Jamie: That is the beauty of San Diego - just about every day is a perfect day. But I would have to say sitting poolside at one of the many posh hotels in San Diego, enjoying good friends with a nice bottle of wine.
Kristina: Seeing a few pairs of JaKs poolside would make it that much more special.
Q: Who are some of your favorite designers and why?
A: Kristina: I like BCBG. BCBG makes quality clothing and shoes that are trendy and versatile. And you can’t leave home without your Louis.
Jamie: I definitely like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. My everyday Louis Vuitton bag also serves as my daughter’s diaper bag. We want JaK Couture to be a brand that is also both classy yet functional.
Q: When it comes to business, what makes both of you tick?
Kristina: We grew up in a home where both our parents worked very hard - our father as a director of engineering in the wine industry and our mother an elementary school principal -- while raising four kids. Seeing them balance their work/life responsibilities for the ultimate benefit of their children has always been an inspiration for us. We are both mothers and entrepreneurs, and it isn’t always easy to live a balanced life when starting a company. Fortunately, my incredible husband/best friend, Christian Fogliani, has been our No. 1 fan. He has supported and mentored us since day one. I feel extremely blessed that he’s allowed us to pursue this amazing opportunity. Jamie and I know our efforts will benefit our families and the many families touched by StandUp For Kids. That’s what makes us tick.
Jamie: I would definitely agree with Kristina on that. Kristina’s as well as my husband/best friend, Mikael Qazi, have played important roles in getting our business off the ground. We feel extremely blessed to have such amazing men stand behind us. I’d like to also add, as children, Kristina and I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. That has always made us tick; and to add that we are driven by a desire to show other women that they can do anything they set their heart, mind and soul to. We like to use the phrase, “Live the Impossible” because there are so many of us that don’t know our true potential. With a positive outlook, hard work and perseverance, we truly believe one can do anything they set their mind to.
Q: If you could only bring three things to a deserted island what would they be?
Kristina: I would bring my family, our dog (whose name happens to be JaK), and matches (I just hope my sister brings marshmallows).
Jamie: I will assume food and water are already on the island. I would bring my family, a toothbrush and a pair of JaKs. I know it sounds crazy to bring my shoes but a woman always needs her shoes.
Amber Mesker is an entertainment and lifestyle reporter for DiscoverSD. She loves providing readers updates on Hollywood gossip, San Diego fashion and cool weekend events. You can follow Amber and laugh at her fun, crazy life at @ambermesker