Throughout March, we’ve spotlighted women leaders, innovators, and pioneers across industries as part of our Wunder Women series. This week we continue in the same vein with the incredible Juliana ‘Juju’ Kissick, Founder and CEO of Good Juju Ink.
Juliana spent the majority of her life as a professional dancer, choreographer, and actress in Los Angeles but, in 2014, decided it was her life’s calling to spread good Juju and positivity through the age-old tradition of illustrating greeting cards. Luckily for her, Juliana has been able to draw up a storm since she was a Crayola-wielding toddler. Even though she is classically trained in Fine Art, Juju taught herself graphic design by studying digital illustration on Pinterest every night for 6 hours for two years straight. Good Juju Ink is now stocked with over 200 retailers across the USA.
What is one thing that gets you up in the morning/ keeps you going every day?
I know that this will sound incredibly trite, but I mean this so sincerely: I genuinely love creating beautiful things, with incredible detail, in a way that hasn’t been done before. I love that I get to do this every day, as each day gives me another opportunity to actualize what I conceive in my brain. And every day, I get the opportunity to try again and try again differently.
Who is one woman who has inspired you and influenced your career?
The author Cheryl Strayed has significantly impacted my life as a creative professional. In many ways, I see myself as a storyteller, and even though my primary creative hat is not a writer, like Cheryl, I still see what I do as telling stories, even if it is mainly through a visual medium. Chery Strayed is a storyteller who is unapologetically herself. She’s evolved so many different iterations of herself and her storytelling to meet the moment. She doesn’t judge the dark pieces of her past but allows them into her storytelling without apologizing for them. She’s honest, and she tells the f*ing truth, even when it doesn’t paint her in the best of light. There’s nothing manufactured about her, and she has no veneer in a time when so many people are so cautious about how they present themselves to the world. Her strength comes from the exact opposite of presenting perfection. I’m so inspired by that.
Where do you think the stationery industry is in terms of diversity?
While the stationery industry has a ways to go when it comes to racial and religious diversity, we are an industry that has broken down a variety of barriers. The industry is filled with incredible, women-owned businesses, and there has long been a history of LGBTQ+ representation and support. I also believe that a vast majority of those in the industry are not afraid to acknowledge diversity shortfalls and are excited and eager to enact positive change.
What women-led brands/organizations in any industry would you like people to know more about?
I’d love to give a shoutout to Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, a modern artist based in Gainesville, Georgia. One of the many things I love, in addition to her wholly intoxicating 3D pop art (go check out her famous lips that come in all shades and sizes), is that she did not begin this career until the age of 40. Although she got her BFA in studio arts, she spent her twenties and thirties as a devoted homeschooling mother to her children. In just five years as a professional artist, she has become hugely successful. Her work is exhibited and sold in some of the most elite galleries in the world, and she’s managed to penetrate the top echelons of both the fine art world and interior design community. So often, our society idolizes young achievers. I’m drawn to those that know that their worth isn’t tied to their age or stage of life, and there is always time to become.