CEO discusses role of passion in business

Krystal Ortiz, News Editor

The Hynes Institute of Entrepreneurship & Innovation hosted an eTalk “The Business of Passion” in Spellman Hall on Oct. 22.

Etalks are designed for students looking to jump into the entrepreneurial field or apply it to their own fields. The particular theme of this eTalk was the importance of passion in one’s journey of entrepreneurship.

The speaker was Jessica Parker, the founder of Kusshi, a brand dedicated to developing travel-based accessories for women. One of her main goals for the company is to focus on products that capture the essence of functionality and beauty.

Parker’s first career was developing the operations and interiors of hotels, working with three hotels in Vermont. She later moved to Germany after her husband received a work opportunity and developed her brand in the foreign country.

Parker has lived in four different countries in three different continents. She attributes the new way she views the world to her travels.

“Moving has really changed my life,” Parker explained. “It has changed the way that I experienced the world really, it has changed the way I treat people, it’s changed how I run my business and how I live my life.”

By living in so many countries, Parker has been exposed to a variety of cultures.

“I have seen and experienced everything from extreme poverty, I’ve prayed with monks, I have drank tea in little villages that are made of clay on top of mountains,” Parker said. “I have seen and experienced so many things and experienced so many different cultures.”

Parker’s native language is English, which acted as an obstacle while developing her company. Her saving grace was networking, she stressed.

“Living in another country, where you don’t speak German, that is not very easy,” Parker said. “I don’t really know anybody, I found a tailor to help me design this bag and then I had a bag. So great, I have a bag, who cares. Now I have to make it for people. Like I knew nothing about manufacturing. So, I networked and I found people from my husband’s college, my college, I went to meet-up events and figured out to manufacture a bag.”

She also explained the importance of passion while developing a business.

“There is no reason to start a company if you are not passionate about it,” Parker said. Because if you’re not passionate, your customers will know, your employees will know. At the beginning, you have no money, none. You start your company on a hope and a prayer, and you have to convince every single person whether it’s your employees, whether its investors, whether it’s customers, that you have the best product or service out there. You need to convince them. If you are not passionate about it, then you will not find people to work for you.”

Enjay Brown, senior and intern at the Hynes Institute, believes that eTalks are important for students because it enriches the experience for the students.

“It’s important for them to hear from these eTalks because they can see first-hand what they are learning and how it can be applied to sort of like when you take a chemistry class and then you go and you do a chemistry lab, and you apply what you learned in chemistry class to the lab, this is them seeing what they are learning in class and watching it being applied to an actual person in the business,” Brown said. “They also provide insights to what it’s like working in the real world and having to run a business.”