Crisp Journal

Meet The Founders: Julia and Kim

Meet The Founders: Julia and Kim

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, we thought we would interview two of our favourite mothers, Crisp Home + Wear founders Julia Paul and Kim Palmer. Julia is Mum to 15 year old Matt, and Kim to Zoe, 17, Matt, 15 and Ana, 12. 

Julia and Matt

Julia with son Matt. 

Kim with Matt, Ana and dog Bella

Kim with Matt, Ana and family dog Bella

Julia and Kim met through their sons (yes both Matts!) and later became business partners as well as friends. The result is Crisp Home + Wear as you know it today, a much-loved local business run by two Mums with two unique skill sets. Here the ladies share some of how they get it all done as well as some of their tips for starting a business. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

K: My sense of responsibility to:

 1) Set a positive example to my children by being kind, working hard and keep moving forward even if things are tough. 

2) To the business, Julia and our staff to continue to learn and develop Crisp Home + Wear to ensure we continue to fulfil a need, be relevant and successful.


J: I get out of bed because I've got things to do.  I like being busy and that motivates me to get up and start my day.  


What's your morning routine  ?

 K: It is certainly not glamorous and I don't really have any morning rituals that I start the day with, just a typical mum-type morning.  

I'm always first out of bed in the morning.  On weekday mornings the alarm is set for 6.15am.  Shower, Dress, unload Dishwasher and hang out washing , get breakfast for two of my three teens before they have to catch a 7.45am morning school bus.  Usually have my own breakfast once the house is empty at 8 and can sit and enjoy it in peace.

 J: My son catches the bus to school at 7.45am so we are usually awake by 7am. I'm up first in our family and start getting breakfast ready.  Breakfast for me is granola, plain yoghurt and whatever fruit is in season.   After Matt's gone to school it's a quick shower and dress for the day then it's into work either from my home office or at the stores.

What motivated you to create your own business?

K: I felt it was time for me to return to the workforce after 12 years of being a stay at home mum.  I had lost a lot of confidence, I had left a B2B product management role and marketing had changed a lot over that 12 years with the internet and social media. I felt my skills were outdated, I did not know how to fill in a 12 year gap on my CV, not believing that all the community involvement through committees and school PTA's over 12 years accounted for much. 

There was a little gift shop in St Heliers that I used to shop at and it had closed. I'm not a good consumer. I dislike shopping generally and I really dislike a large mall environment so I identified a local need and the opportunity to reopen something local but was not confident enough to do it on my own.  Julia had Crisp Home online and I had been a customer of Crisp Home so approached Julia to find out where she was at with her online business, what the future of her online business might look like and whether she had considered opening a bricks & mortar store.  We entered discussions, formed a partnership and the rest is history.

 J: I  am an accountant by training but wanted to do something more creative, that fitted around my lifestyle with a young family.  I began with Crisp Home online selling our own brand of NZ made linen.  Kim approached me with the concept to open a store in St Heliers. With Kim's background in marketing and mine in accounting I thought we could work well together. Neither of us had any experience in bricks and mortar retail so it was an exciting challenge.

What are your top three tips for women who want to start their own business ?


  • Believe in yourself. Be confident. Back yourself in what you are doing.
  • Ask for help. There is a load of resources available - network and share ideas.
  • Have a solid business plan, be prepared to work hard and face challenges.


  • Make sure you are doing something you love. It takes a lot of hard work to create a successful business. You need to be able to enjoy what you are doing every day.
  • Spend some time researching your idea - talk to people. Most people will be very open to helping you. 
  • Don't expect to have everything go according to plan. Be prepared to make changes along the way.


What is your greatest desire for Mothers Day ?

 K: For my children to be kind to one another and that there be no harsh words exchanged between them. Just for 24 hours to give me the strength to carry one for another week.

J: To be honest because we have spent the last 6 weeks together as a family I would love to be catching up with my friends for a wine.  But that's not going to happen this year so breakfast in bed would be a lovely treat.


Team Crisp x

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