This week, while we were in Costa Rica, my fiancé Kenny celebrated his six-year anniversary since starting Kenny Flowers. If you’re new around here and don’t know what that has to do with Jetset Christina, it has everything to do with it.
Six years ago, Kenny left his corporate consulting job at IBM to do what so many of us could only dream about – move across the world, and chase his dreams on a mission to create a lifelong brand known for bringing a smile to everyone’s face.
As one of his best friends watching from the sidelines, you couldn’t help but beam with excitement for him. Kenny was moving to BALI to MAKE HAWAIIAN SHIRTS!!!! I mean, how cool is that? Kenny and I were just friends at the time, and I was his biggest fan. I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen about my crazy best friend Kenny who just moved to Bali and was living the dream. Seriously, you should have seen me at parties in San Francisco if I saw a guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt (which was rare back then!!! In 2015, they were kind of looked at as ‘ironic’, a blast from the past — they weren’t totally cool yet). And I would beam with excitement to tell him about Kenny Flowers – I started spreading the word so well in SF that Kenny had business cards made for me to hand out, LOL. I still have them.
Anyway, the magic of watching Kenny’s journey as his friend during those years was that there was a part of everyone who knew Kenny that felt as if WE were living the dream right there alongside him, watching him take chances that we were too scared to take, and watching his dreams unfold in a uniquely Kenny Flowers way that anyone else would be unable to replicate, even if they tried. (And oh boy, have people tried).
All of his friends called him Kenny Flowers, and, for the last six years, Kenny Haisfield’s life and this dream-life of ‘Kenny Flowers’ – a persona we all feel the second we throw on a KF- have become synonymous with each other.
But ask Kenny Haisfield, and Kenny Flowers has never been about him at all. Kenny Flowers is the ‘vacation mode’ side of all of us. The side of us that never says no to an opportunity, that celebrates life’s many wins and never gets stalled by the losses. The side of us that always goes out for that extra round of drinks, rallies friends into that awesome group trip, or books that one way flight to Bali to start their dream business. KF is about the side of us that sees possibility, excitement, and optimism, a permanent green light on life while others feel a stop sign.
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Channeling that side of ourselves is pure magic. When you wear Kenny Flowers, you feel like you just instantly transported into Kenny’s life with him, ordering a piña colada next to him in Bali at a swim up bar, unafraid to take chances, ready to green-light your own life.
I asked Kenny what his dream is for the next six years of KF and all he said was he hoped that his experiences could inspire others to life life better, to think outside of the box (or the 9-5 cubicle) that society creates for us. He is the least self-interested man I’ve ever met. Sure, he knows he has lived an absolute dream these last six years, but all he cares about is helping others do the same. Whether it’s by pursuing their own dreams, or simply having a better day with a better shirt on.
He did that for me with Jetset Christina, and then later with Watercolors Swim. He saw opportunity with my little travel blog (that I was doing as a pure hobby while I worked a corporate job in San Francisco), that I would have never believed in myself. But he kept pushing me to give it a full shot, and eventually, if you don’t know the full story, I gave in, quit my job against alllll logic, and moved to Bali, where Kenny was living, and started running my travel blog full-time…. the rest is history.
I followed in his footsteps, because he showed me more was possible. It was like Kenny had the key to a better life, and just by being around him, you started to see the path to your own.
Kenny won’t take any credit for the success of Jetset Christina, and I would never take any credit for the success of Kenny Flowers, because we both founded our businesses before we ever dated each other. But, even just as friends, we were each other’s biggest cheerleaders the whole way. I was the very first female customer of Kenny Flowers, and he was my little travel blog’s biggest fan. As soon as we started dating in 2016, we both leveled up those businesses in a big way, because we pushed each other, challenged each other to do more, and supported each other in building the foundations. Without Kenny, there’s no way Jetset Christina would be where it is today. And Kenny would say the same thing about Kenny Flowers and me. The success of both over the years has everything to do with each other.
When I wanted to expand my brand into designing a swimwear line, I decided to do it under the Kenny Flowers umbrella, using the factory he had already been using for men’s swimwear, so that I could simplify logistics and production of the suits, while also making sure we could expand into his-and-hers matching swimwear, cover ups and much more. I could never have been able to focus on the things I love about making swimwear – designing, marketing, and the bigger vision for the brand – if I were bogged down with the operations side of things. Now I’m able to run my swimwear brand and my blog simultaneously, while also helping Kenny Flowers expand into women’s, which has been a dream come true.
People talk about lifestyle brands a lot these days. But KF isn’t a lifestyle brand by choice or because it sounds good to a room full of marketers. Kenny Flowers is a lifestyle brand because it was born of the lifestyle of an ambitious young kid living in New York City, throwing on a tropical shirt every chance he got. The lifestyle of Kenny, and KF, have evolved over the years, as his tastes went from partying in hostels to hanging out with me in Jetset resorts. But the heart, soul and goal of KF has never changed. And that’s to radiate positivity wherever you are, whatever you’re up to. Look good, feel good, do good.
I’m so proud of Kenny and am soooo beyond excited for where @KennyFlowers_ and @watercolorsswim are headed these next six years and beyond – and can’t thank you guys enough for being part of the journey. This is just the beginning.
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