PP 110: Krystina Dubrule, CEO and Founder of Du North Designs
Krystina shares the story of her transition from full-time social worker to a business owner with a large, international team!
Connect with Krystina
KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. I am so happy you are here with us today, and I’m even more happy that Krystina Dubrule from DuNorthDesign’s is here with us today. Thank you so much Krystina for joining us.
KRYSTINA: You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me.
KIM: Oh you are very welcome. Krystina, could you share a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey with us and also what you do today?
KRYSTINA: I certainly. I never thought to embark on an entrepreneurial journey so to speak. I came from a social work background and I was on maternity leave with my third child, when two weeks before I was to go back, I got a notice they were shutting down all the offices that I worked in, in the courthouses and so it was kind of a turning point for me. A lot of jobs and social worker really high commitment, which in hindsight is kind of ironic now that I run this business but I didn’t want to go back to a high commitment job so, I thought I really like fashion there’s not a lot of options for fashion for where we live. I’m going to start sewing my own clothes and so I started sewing my own clothes but quickly figured out that with three small children it was a total and epic disaster. Didn’t work, so then I kinda went back to the drawing board and went: “OK, I’m like, I’m just going to purchase my own clothes and sell them, course some parties for my friends and sell these clothing.” So that was about three years ago and things just started snowballed from there so, I started getting requests to travel to 300 – 400 kilometers to go to people’s houses and I thought: “I can’t do that, but maybe I can find someone that can.” And then I started bringing on what we call our “darlings” so, basically independent distributors of the company.
And it’s just, yeah, it’s just sort of snowballed from there so we’re up to 3,000 distributors across North America now, so that’s kind of how all started, it almost started by accident. I didn’t set out to start a business.
KIM: I find that – that is a common theme with a lot of people. I had no intention of starting this business. When I started it almost five years ago, it was just to be a little bit of supplementary income. Do you want to go back though to what you’re saying about the high commitment?
KRYSTINA: Social work is a very high commitment job. And so most jobs require you to have a lot of on call and those sort of things. It’s just not something I wanted to commit to. So, I thought well I’m going to do this and start my own little business, which ended up being 10 times more of a commitment than any so short job would have been so.
KIM: So you call your distributors or your team “darlings” but I hear you call sounds like a little darling in the background.
KRYSTINA: Yeah, I have a few darlings. Yes, I have three of them.
KIM: Who’s the one that we’re talking right now?
KRYSTINA: This is Allegra. She’s in my three year old. Yeah, the other two are in school today. So awesome.
KIM: Hi Allegra. When you’re listening later on, you are now on a podcast. I know my three year old would love that, just to hear her name coming through the speaker.
KRYSTINA: Hi, I’ll Be sure to have her on my lap when we’re listening.
KIM: Is your husband involved in the business full time as well or is he still working?
KRYSTINA: No, he’s still working. He’s always maintained full-time employment. We did try at one point to have him a little bit more involved, but it was really difficult just because he worked to try and get him set up for meetings even if they were on the phone was really difficult. And I really commend couples that can work together every day, because it became difficult for us to be able to and we still butt heads a little bit and that’s ok. It’s ok to disagree but it’s certainly – I don’t think it was driving a wedge, but it wasn’t healthy for our relationship.
KIM: It’s so important to understand that. And actually, my husband even though the last name is on my businesses, he is not involved except for chief emotional support officer.
KRYSTINA: Yeah, I like it. I love it.
KIM: I have one last question for you and then I’d love for you to share where listeners can find out more about you and your business online.
KIM: What are you most excited about in the upcoming year ahead both for your business and also for your family?
KRYSTINA: For the business for doing a huge transition from being a single level company to a multi-level, so that’s pretty exciting. And also we’re looking at potentially moving into a bigger warehouse, in another location, actually I’m setting up a warehouse in the United States as well as Canada. So those are really exciting business things that are going on for us. There’s a couple of things that are really exciting in there, two sort of opposite things. One, is you know we’re kind of at a place in our life where we’re tossing around the idea of maybe having another baby. But at the same time or other children are old enough now that we’re starting to be able to do really great things and plan really great trips. We’ve been spending every weekend skiing, even our three-year-old skis independently down the ski hill now, and so we are planning on doing a big trip to the Rocky Mountains, and so, just the idea of being able to have fun. Our kids are always fun, but it’s a lot more fun when you can do things with them and not the sort of hovering and having just to be able to do enjoyable things. So that’s kind of exciting as well. They’re getting old enough to do this type of things.
KIM: Oh absolutely. And I cannot let it go without saying: “If we do decide to try. Just remember that there’s always the possibility of multiples.”
KRYSTINA: Oh, I can think I could do multiples for number one, for number four – that would be tough. I commend you.
KIM: Going back to the question that – I had for you before about what you would say to somebody who says that they can’t. My favorite response is: “If I can do it as a mom five, then why can’t you do it with one, two, three, four, 10 or none” Right?
KIM: Just do it.
KRYSTINA: If you’re passionate about it, you’ll find time, you’ll make it work.
KIM: Absolutely. Krystina, it has been so lovely chatting with you. Where can listeners find out more and I’m sure there are definitely listeners who are going to want to find out how they can become one of your “darlings” and help grow the business even more than it already has.
KIM: Listeners, you can find all the show note online at TheKimSutton.com/PP110 for Episode 110. Krystina, I just want to thank you again. This has been an absolute pleasure and you’ve just inspired me by hearing how you have grown in the last four years. I’m not in commerce, but I can’t even wait to see you for the next four years take my business so thank you.
KRYSTINA: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.