Uncommon James CEO Kristin Cavallari Reveals the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Her Journey Into Entrepreneurship

UPDATED: June 3, 2024
PUBLISHED: June 4, 2024
Kristin Cavallari Uncommon James

Achieving harmony within one’s personal and professional life can often seem like an elusive goal. However, Kristin Cavallari, best known for her role on reality television, is a shining example of how one can successfully navigate the complexities of being a well-rounded entrepreneur, mom and business owner. Today, she is the founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand Uncommon James and host of the popular podcast Let’s Be Honest with Kristin Cavallari.

And, if I’m being honest—there’s nothing she can’t do.

Cavallari’s journey into entrepreneurship began long before Uncommon James. Rising to fame through reality TV, she transitioned from being in the spotlight to building her own brand empire. While many may assume that her celebrity status paved an easy path to success, Cavallari’s entrepreneurial journey has been marked by resilience, determination and a commitment to staying true to herself.

From reality TV to CEO of Uncommon James

One of the key lessons Cavallari emphasizes is the importance of embracing all facets of life, including motherhood, while pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Despite the demands of running a business, she prioritizes quality time with her children and strives to be a hands-on mom. By striking a balance between her professional and personal roles, Cavallari demonstrates that success is not measured solely by business achievements, but also by the relationships nurtured and the memories created with loved ones.

As the CEO of Uncommon James, she has infused her brand with elements of her own lifestyle, creating a line of jewelry, skin care, apparel and home goods that reflect her chic yet accessible aesthetic. Her ability to connect with consumers on a personal level has been instrumental in the brand’s success, as she leverages her authenticity and relatability to resonate with her audience.

Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, Cavallari is also an advocate for self-care and mental well-being. She openly shares her journey of prioritizing her health and emphasizes the importance of carving out time for self-care amid the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship and motherhood. By prioritizing her own well-being, Cavallari sets an example for others, demonstrating that self-care is not selfish, but essential for long-term success and fulfillment.

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Q&A with Kristin Cavallari

SUCCESS: How do you balance being a mom and a business owner?

Kristin Cavallari: Being a mom has always been and will always be the priority. I have strict boundaries about work spilling over into family life, meaning I don’t let it happen unless it absolutely must. Luckily, it’s been a lot easier than it was a few years ago because of my incredible team at Uncommon James. During the pandemic, I hired my C-suite team and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made to alleviate a large part of my workload. Now, I’m just doing the creative things I love—designing, developing skin care products, planning the big campaign shoots, etc. That’s what I love (and why I started the company) and I can essentially do all those things from wherever.

S: The success of your lifestyle business Uncommon James has grown tremendously. How did you get started?

KC: I launched Uncommon James out of a room in my house in April 2017. It was successful right out of the gate, which I credit to my social media following, and then when I featured the company on my reality show, Very Cavallari, it catapulted us overnight to the next level. It was stressful to keep up with for a couple of years, but now we’re in a great place and I’m thankful that we’ve gotten over the startup hump.

S: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

KC: I really wanted something to do as essentially a stay-at-home mom. I also had a shoe line at the time and learned a lot of what to do and what not to do, so I had this fire in me to show people that I knew what I was doing when it came to branding.

S: Are you still in the entertainment industry and what are your thoughts on switching careers and/or doing both?

KC: I would consider my podcast Let’s Be Honest with Kristin Cavallari as entertainment, but I’m not actively seeking an entertainment career anymore. I’ve curated my career to fit my schedule, live in Nashville and be my own boss with everything I do. That’s been a dream. I’m very happy not being in entertainment for the most part anymore. I would say most of my life is very normal.

S: When it comes to pushing the boundaries in business and focusing on family, what grounds you?

KC: Definitely my kids, but also living out in the country and living a very normal life. Good friends and my mom. Meditating and cleaning my chicken coop. Haha! No, but seriously. It can be overwhelming at times. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have stressful moments, but again, I’m extremely lucky because I can essentially make my own hours and I’m my own boss. I think about the moms who have nine-to-fives and how stressful that would be.

S: What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?

KC: I used to feel nothing was ever good enough—I guess I’m mostly talking about numbers. I’ve always wanted to keep growing and scaling at a rapid pace, but I’ve let all of that go (and, coincidentally, we just had the best year in the history of the company). So, I think there’s a lot of beauty in doing the best you can and then letting it all go.

S: Describe a typical day for you.

KC: Wake up at 6 a.m. to make breakfast and get lunches packed for the kids and then off to school at 7:30 a.m. I come home, work out and then shower. Every day is different (which I love). I’m either taping a podcast, editing a podcast, working on Uncommon James, or heading to the grocery store, etc. I pick the kids up at 3 p.m., make dinner and then we usually have sports. Showers, wind down and then bedtime by 9:15 p.m.

S: What makes you happy and how do you define well-being in your life?

KC: My kids being happy. I can only be as happy as my most unhappy kid. I think any parent would understand that. But beyond that, being at the beach makes me happy. Cooking really yummy meals makes me happy, laughing with friends, a good glass of wine and really good pasta. A good workout, consistently meditating, getting eggs out of my chicken coop and picking fruit and veggies from my greenhouse, and giving people jars of honey from my beehives all make me really happy. And for me, well-being means taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. They all go hand in hand.

S: What is your purpose in regard to work-life, entrepreneurship and philanthropy?

KC: I want to give women (and men) the confidence to take on the day. If that means feeling good because your skin has improved from using our skin care or that putting on our jewelry makes you feel sexy, then we’ve won.

S: What advice would you give an emerging entrepreneur?

KC: Trust your gut. Don’t let a few “no’s” discourage you. Every market is oversaturated, so keep your eye on the prize and don’t get in your own head.

S: What would you tell those who want to follow in your footsteps when it comes to overcoming obstacles and setbacks?

KC: Look at everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. Never be the victim.

S: With all that you have going on at home and work, what’s next for you?

KC: We’re about to launch something new at Uncommon James and I couldn’t be more excited! This new product is the final step to give you that extra confidence boost, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.

S: What does success mean to you?

KC: Being happy. 

This article originally appeared in the July/Aug 2024 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by Dennis Leupold/Courtesy of Kristin Cavallari

Kerrie Lee Brown is an international journalist, author and women's health advocate. Over the years, she has written for more than 150 publications worldwide and held numerous executive and senior editorial roles across Canada and the U.S. She has interviewed a plethora of Hollywood celebrities and some of the most inspiring thought leaders around the globe. Today, Kerrie Lee is the editor-in-chief of SUCCESS Enterprises' impressive magazine portfolio and an advocate for authentic storytelling as the founder of RedLilyLife.com.