We’ve long been admirers of all things Jenni Kayne. She is the epitome of effortlessly chic and her brand evokes exactly that, too. Her mantra is all about pairing down, investing in timeless quality pieces for the wardrobe and the home, seasonal and meaningful entertaining, and above all else: living well. With seven brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., her new book Pacific Natural, the #JKLakeHouse and so much more — there’s no stopping Jenni.
We’ll be wrapped up in our favorite Cocoon Sweater and making Fall and Winter recipes from Pacific Natural for the rest of the year. So, what are you waiting for? Scroll on down to read our interview with Jenni and get the recipe for one of our favorites from the book.
You’ve built an empire that is loved by so many. Start from the beginning and tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.
I started my business at the age of 19 as a traditional fashion/wholesale brand. As I grew up and started my own family (I have three kids now), my interests expanded into the lifestyle and home space. I really believe that every detail is important, from the sweater you’re wearing to the spoon you’re eating with. My business has naturally evolved over the years as I’ve grown as a person and expanded into lifestyle categories like home, tabletop, apothecary, accessories and even pet.
Your brand has expanded to cover so much — from fashion to entertaining to Rip and Tan to your new book ‘Pacific Natural.’ How did you get to this point?
I always dreamed of having a lifestyle brand but it took years for me to have the bandwidth and team to delve into all the various categories. Jenni Kayne is all about living well and living beautifully, and that expands to so much more than just what you’re wearing. When I had the opportunity to publish my first book, it was hard for me to narrow down the concept because I’m passionate about so many different things. In the end, we chose to focus on entertaining with the hopes of inspiring others to slow down, live seasonally, and come together with those they love.
What have been some of the biggest roadblocks you’ve faced prior to getting to this point in your career?
Having children and a career is definitely a balancing act. Figuring out the right team at work to support me and scale my business was my largest road black. About 5 years ago I found Julia Hunter, who is my CEO and partner. She is truly incredible and has changed my business.
What’s something you’re most proud of achieving professionally?
I’m proud of so much. I would say a highlight for me was Martha Stewart writing the foreward for Pacific Natural and cohosting a dinner in NYC when the book launched. She is such an inspiration and I cherish our relationship and her support.
What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received, either professionally or personally?
Nature is slow and yet everything gets accomplished. I am always doing so many things at once that sometimes I need a reminder to breathe, be in the moment, and slow down. This quote always helps me.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their entrepreneurial journey?
Starting your own business takes passion and determination. I think you have to have those two things as a starting point to be successful and the rest will follow.
What are your thoughts on work-life balance? Is it achievable?
I think it takes a strong team at work and at home, whether that is family or a great nanny. Even with that, balance is hard but something I am always working to achieve. I try to stay in the moment when I’m with my kids and focus on putting the phone down so I can enjoy and connect with them. I do the same at work so I am as productive as possible and focused.
Your new book ‘Pacific Natural’ is a must-have. What inspired the book?
I really believe in slowing down and living seasonally, and I wanted a book that embodied that through entertaining. Pacific Natural is meant to be a guide to effortless entertaining and hopefully inspires others to set a beautiful table, cook using seasonal ingredients, and come together to share a meal with those you love. Entertaining is a great way to slow down and be in the moment. A key takeaway is that it doesn’t need to be stressful or perfect — once you have simple go-tos and a toolkit, it should be fun and easy!
You are the hostesses of all hostesses. What are your top five tips for someone hosting a gathering at their home?
What’s your favorite room at home and why?
The kitchen. I love to cook with my kids and it really is the center of our home.
What’s your go-to home decor item that you think every home should have?
That’s a tough one. I would say our ceramic diffusers. They are beautiful and smell delicious. I have one in every bathroom and scattered around the house.
What’s next for Jenni Kayne?
This holiday we’re launching kids and men’s capsule collections, making our best-selling fisherman sweater for the whole family. We have a lot of projects in the works but something in hospitality is definitely in our future!
2 cups kale, chopped & stemmed
2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 cups frisée, chopped
1/2 cup putted Gaeta olives, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup provolone, cubed
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shredded
1 avocado, cubed
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Calabrian chiles
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper
To assemble the salad: Place chopped ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until combined. To make the dressing: Mix mustard, honey, vinegar and chile in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad ingredients. Toss to coat.