Sunday, 2 October 2016

Interview with Kiss Freely creator, Jennifer Kurko

Kiss Freely is an exciting cosmetics range, designed for and by a family with food allergies.  Free from the top 8 food allergens, but also free from some other common allergens (sesame, shea butter, coconut, avocado, and mango). Kiss Freely is now launching in Australia.



  
How did you come up with the idea for Kiss Freely? Was there a catalyst or inspiration?

I kissed my daughter on the cheek one night after her bath and she broke out in hives.  At the time I had no idea what caused the hives.  It was a really devastating moment to realize that I could not kiss her without thinking about it first.  Once I realized the hives were from my lip balm, I also realized we had a ton of cosmetics and bath and body products that were not safe for her.  I looked for products that were safe but they were very hard to find.  The labels were impossible to read without consulting Google constantly! It was so frustrating that it made creating my own products seem like the easier choice!
  
Kiss Freely is such a fabulous name for your allergy friendly product range, how did this come about? 

The name Kiss Freely came from my daughter. I was wearing our homemade lip balm and I went to kiss her.  She got very excited and said "we can kiss freely!"  We used that phrase in our house for a while before we started the company and it just seemed like a natural choice. 

What are some of the issues you came across personally, as a food allergy mum, with the regular mainstream ranges of cosmetic and beauty products on the market?

I really couldn't find a line that was free from my daughters' allergens.  I would find one product would work but not another.  I also prefer natural ingredients.  Almond oil and coconut are pretty popular ingredients in natural cosmetics so a lot of options were ruled out. 


How have you found the response from the food allergy community, to your first launch in the U.S.?
It has really been amazing.  The community is so supportive and has spread the word more then I could have imagined or hoped for.  The food allergy community is my community so to be embraced by them is humbling and helps keep me motivated to make Kiss Freely available to more people.  I am so excited to be able to have our products sold through you and to introduce Kiss Freely to Australia.

What were the aims of the creation of Kiss Freely? I know for me, as a food allergy mum, I think saving time is a really great benefit, and as sometimes reading cosmetics labels can be so boggling.

All of the above!  I still go to multiple food stores to get safe food for my children.  I wanted Kiss Freely to make life just a little easier for food allergy families. We also donate a portion of our profits to organizations that promote food allergy awareness and research.


Are your products also vegan and cruelty free? What about gluten?

Our products are vegan, cruelty free and gluten free.  We are big fans of FREE!

Jennifer, I know many families are very grateful for the creation of Kiss Freely, and what I find so amazing is that Kiss Freely is a completely unique product range like no other: dedicated to food allergy and coeliac communties! 

You and your family are an inspiration, but who inspires you?

This is a great question. This may be cliché but my daughters inspire me.  They are the reason for this endeavor.  The way the deal with and manage their allergies inspires me. They have an amazing ability to advocate for themselves and others even at such a young age.  They are so much more aware of others and have become incredibly empathetic. They handle a lot of tough situations with so much grace.


Thanks Jennifer!



Learn more about Jennifer and Kiss Freely