“There are two ways of spreading light. To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith W.
When a Coffee Enthusiast and Mimosa Expert meet! Kris Christian is a woman of many hats ; being the CEO and founder of MADE-magazine, Fame Enterprises, and her most recent venture Chicago French Press. With-holding a expertise in marketing, event planning, and publishing, Kris has managed to create a weekend long career-changing experience called The MADE Maven Leadership Summit. It will be held in Chicago April 28-29th. We got the chance to sip & chat with this multi-faceted made maven about her day to day relations and the mission behind the summit!
Q: What gets Kris out of bed in the morning?
A: I think I've always been driven towards success with having an ambitious attitude, but thats not always enough. I believe my passion in entrepreneurship comes from working with women. All of my staff are female except Todd, my business partner but most of the staff are young, millennial women. They drive me to get up to do what I love every day. In the past, I've worked on Wall Street in finance and it just didn't allow me to really tap into my God given talent. To have the ability to wake up in the morning, help others, and be passionate with vigor and ambition is the ultimate recipe to my happiness. And thats why I get up!
Q: You are a CEO, Producer, Publisher, & Event Planner. What is a regular day to day like for you?
A: Regular is not in my day. Every day is very different. One day, I could literally just be head down in my computer and not breathing for air just to get things done. Another day can be a photo shoot with one of my favorite influencers. Another one could be a on site visit to a client for a walk-through. To have the ability to do different things is exciting! Everyday is a brand new day and different. The common thread around my days are the creation of ideas, whether its personal or for a client. I listen to what they want and I make it happen and that can be done in many creative ways from web-design to graphic design. I get my hands dirty a little bit too and with that, I am able to produce these different visions on behalf of other people as well as myself.
Q: Being from Memphis, and working in New York to relocating to Chicago, do you see a difference in the business scene in the 3 regions?
A: Well I haven't done business in Memphis yet and that's something I'm definitely interested in because I grew up there. I'm actually pretty interested because I read some research that Memphis is one of the top cities for entrepreneurial growth and is thriving.
As for New York, I think that its has a different vibe and feel. New York is definitely gritty! Everybody's hustling, waking up at the crack of dawn and just getting it! It was that energy that I loved most about New York. When you're there its like, you gotta make something happen every day & if you're not, what are you doing?
I think Chicago is more my speed because being from Memphis and being a southern girl, I do like taking my time and connecting with people in person. I like saying hello when I open the door for someone. I see those southern hospitality traits here in Chicago as well. I think from a business perspective, Chicago is a great landscape for women of color specifically. A lot of the greats have come from Chicago. Chicago is such a great stomping ground for opportunity. Along with the fact its the number three city in the country! Overall, I love that Chicago provides a balance that one can have a family, live in the city, and still have the metropolitan feel. I think the three regions are all very different but still bring unique values to the table.
Q: What fashion trend are you currently in love with?
A: I love so many!! I would say I love the bright, monochromatic look. Although I've always been a black and white girl, I also like to play a lot with bright colors. My style is very classic and traditional. In the Spring, I often grab colorful bright pieces. I'm also in love with this pattern trend right now as well especially the Afrocentric patterns. They're so exciting!
Q: What is the inspiration behind your most recent venture, Chicago French Press?
A: Yes! My baby! That is the one I care about SO much. I mean I care about all of my businesses but I hold this one near and dear to my heart because my background being in business and having so many things to do, I always fueled my day with coffee. I would drink two and three cups a day just to be invigorated and have enough energy to do everything. I noticed when I was in banking, I would be in the coffee room pouring a lot of sugar and cream into my cup just to make it taste good. Finally, I was like if I continue to do this, I'm going to have diabetes LOL! So, I started racking my brain about how to make a cup of coffee tastier without using sweeteners but in a more natural way. One day, I decided to crush fruits, nuts, and chocolate together, even though it has sugar, cocoa is a better alternative. I wanted to take these things and blend it with the actual bean to create a ground that was more flavorful. I found a local roaster that could facilitate this on a larger scale than just in my kitchen, so that kind of birthed this idea of Chicago French Press. My coffee method of choice was the French press because I just love aromatics and the unique taste of using it. I really wanted to put the cause element into coffee because I want to directly impact under-served communities. This year, I am focusing more on spreading the word about CFP and also from a African-American perspective, to show us in coffee.
Q: Describe your perfect cup of coffee.
A: Of course I'll be using the French press to create my perfect cup. I would choose between our blueberry blade and our peach nectar with a very classic pour, 2 scoops of raw sugar and a little pour of coconut cream. Very simple! The coffee from CFP speaks for itself from the flavor so I don't have to do too much to it.
Q: You're an ace of all trades. Out of all the roles you play, is there 1 you are more passionate about?
A: I wouldn't say there's one I'm more passionate about, but I think the one that I love doing the most in day to day is definitely MADE. It allows me not only to express myself creatively, but to have the opportunity to open up a outlet for design, video and ad campaigns. It also allows me to share stories of not only celebrities but everyday people and I think its important to empower people in their stories. The idea was birthed by the idea of putting yourself on & to have the ability to put other people on you may have never heard about. MADE has also allowed me to become fulfilled with the action of doing for others. I think spreading someone's story is one of the best things that you can do! Giving that exposure to share real resources and real confidence, something outside of gossip and celebrity life that most magazines often write about & we have now expanded beyond the magazine with events. I think the MADE platform has allowed me to be this multi-faceted person that I am today.
Q: What is your mission behind creating the Made Maven Summit?
A: My mission behind the summit is to not only celebrate & inspire women but to cultivate them into the leaders they've been called to be. I think there are some extremely smart, ambitious and successfully driven women in the world yet often times on our journey to success, we dont always have the access that we need to certain networks & the important tools that are really required to reach a certain level. You see women of color doing amazing things but then see numbers behind it & we're the most underpaid group out of the entire country. How are we the most educated, but we're the most underpaid? Something's not right! I think my campaign with the Made Maven Leadership Summit is so important for us because if we don't do for ourselves, who else is gonna do it? someone that doesn't look like us? someone that doesn't know our struggle? I wanted to bring together a room of women that I personally had come across that has insight or educated and mentored me. I felt this was a good time to give other women exposure to not only my network but people that can potentially create opportunities for them & across professional sectors. I hope people step away from the Summit feeling like their career has changed and this is the beginning shift that needed to occur to get to the next level.
Q: What was the process of choosing the industry leaders for the Made Maven Summit?
A: These are women who are not specifically in one industry. I wanted to make sure there were mentors in the Summit that we see coming across millennials of color or young women that could be of interest to them. Like I mentioned before, I have worked with the industry leaders directly or have been mentored by or grew up with them. All of the women chosen are so great in their own right and I wanted to make sure that it was not just Chicago centric but incorporated with women from all over the country. There are women coming from LA, New York , DC, Detroit, etc. My goal was to create a multi-faceted line up that peeked the interest of every industry that may have been interested in the summit.
Q: What are 3 adjectives to describe a Made Maven?
A: 3 adjectives. Hmmm? Being Ambitious, have straight forward thinking, and is not afraid to invest in self. I know that may not be 3 adjectives haha! but those are the 3 traits I think of a made maven being.
@KrisDChristian | @MadeMavens | @MadeMagazineUS | @ChicagoFrenchPress
www.mademaven.com | www.made-magazine.com | www.chicagofrenchpress.com